London-based singer-songwriter Bernardo returns with “Genius Level II,” her latest offering of dark and sophisticated alternative soul.
Sonia Bernardo had her sights set on becoming a Fado great after beginning to write songs at the age of 10 but indie music stole her heart and we are grateful to reap the benefits. Her first release since 2017, “Genius Level II” marks the beginning of a new chapter as she prepares to release her new EP, Panic Prayers.
Born to Portuguese parents and residing in London, Bernardo is heavily inspired by PJ Harvey and Talking Heads and previously drew interest from major producer Phil Manzanera from Roxy Music. Manzanera invited her to sing on the track “Sound of Blue’ and she joined him on tour, opening for Jools Holland in December 2018.
Co-produced by Dave Maclean (Django Django) and Sunglasses for Jaws, “Genius Level II” opens with a somber electric guitar melody before we become absorbed in Bernardo’s storytelling and strong, distinctive vocals. “Genius Level II” is a tale of relationship struggles and frustration following countless arguments.
“Now here we go again. Entertainment I’d recommend. In hope we still make it through, this is genius level II,” she sings. These lyrics perfectly illustrate Bernardo’s constant battle to keep her relationship alive in a first chorus delivered with attitude, laced with sarcasm. Despite the dark undertones of the instrumentation, the track has a real warmth and closes with a wonderful stripped back outro where she displays her intricate melodies, sweet tone and impressive vocal range. “Genius Level II” is very much in line with the alt-soul/jazz singer’s intention and desire to cultivate her experiences into a new fluid and sultry EP that oozes class. Listen below.