Succumbing To Tiny Habits

todayAugust 18, 2023 38 2

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By Michael Ybarra

Music Journalist

It turns out there is such a thing as a “healthy habit.” In fact, the folk-pop band Tiny Habits is one such example. After opening for Gracie Abrams on her Good Riddance Tour, the group released their debut EP Tiny Things and began their first solo journey on their very own Tiny Tour. While success has followed them everywhere they have gone, Maya Rae, Cinya Khan and Judah Mayowa continue posting TikToks, showcasing their knack for revamping songs with dissonant yet lush harmonies, just like they did before they found themselves in the ranks of Lizzy McAlpine, who invited them to join her NPR Tiny Desk Concert, Laufey and even JP Saxe.

There is almost always a titular moment in a band’s career which pinpoints their sudden shift from an undiscovered ensemble member to occupying center stage. Tiny Habits, although always spectacular, has their acapella TikTok cover of Landslide, originally by Fleetwood Mac, to thank for bringing them into focus. Almost as an homage to their humble beginnings, they take their own swing at the song in Tiny Things.

See them perform their cover live below!

But Tiny Habits is not just a one-trick pony, relying on their covers to keep them afloat. Each of their five originals proves how cohesive their voices meld and sometimes blend so perfectly together, it sounds as if only one person is singing. In the first chorus of “Delay,” Khan takes the lead melody, but it could take listeners many moments to realize Rae and Mayowa accompany her. Three heads, with their own timbres and intricacies, come together to utter one entrancing siren song.

Fate must have bound this trio together to gift their magical harmonies to the world. However, it would be unwise to think each member cannot hold their own, whether the song be introspective or playful.

Their tracks “One More” and “Tiny Things” respectively illustrate quite the opposite. Rae, Mayowa, and Khan are allowed to flex their vocal chops while their fellow members are more than happy to pass the mic, and these solo moments create a solid foundation for the tutti sections to resonate down to the bone.

Witness their live acoustic version of “One More” for yourself.

The most impressive, and my favorite, track on Tiny Things comes at the album’s end. Titled “Some Things (I’ve Learned),” the song warms the listener with ear-tingling muted guitar while each member sings a verse containing a universal lesson. Since artists are expected to be humble, I will brag about their goosebump-inducing timbres.

Mayowa begins with a voice comparable to the mist shimmering above a waterfall, refracting the light into a mesmerizing rainbow, as he reflects on quiet and soft endings, showcasing the power of letting go in silence.

Khan picks up the baton after a chorus of “oohs” with her voice like cirrus clouds gliding across a crystal blue sky. She warns the listener not to hold on too tight to anything or anyone. After all, surrendering to your lack of control can bring a particularly delicious flavor of peace.

Rae takes the last verse of the EP with her ocean current of a voice, fluid, husky and unafraid to travel into the depths if need be. She tells herself, and the listener, to notice what can and cannot be fixed. Using energy to develop, rewire and construct yourself is much more rewarding than taking a spork to a cement wall, callous and unwilling to budge.

The finale of Tiny Things perfectly encapsulates what makes Tiny Habits so alluring. They know who they are and are not afraid of making mistakes. They are not afraid to cry, get back up and try again after falling in love a little too hard. They are, all at once, incredibly mature yet fully blossoming into youthfulness, structurally sound yet wide-eyed and waiting for all the pain, fear and joy life has waiting for them.

One member of Tiny Habits plays guitar while they all sit on the floor of an atmospheric room
The cover of Tiny Habits debut EP released via the label Harbour Artists & Music

Tiny Habits is the perfect band for the sensitive soul, especially those fumbling their way through life and still finding themselves surrounded by an abundance of happiness. Their career has just begun, but these Tiny Habits are destined to bring listeners back over and over and over.

Written by: Preethi Mangadu

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