• Danny Wiser

NAURU: Trials Of Your Faith - Skylla

Updated: Jan 20

If you want to hear what defying the odds sounds like, then give these Christian R&B tracks a listen

Trials Of Your Faith by Skylla is an album. Trials Of Your Faith by Skylla is an R&B album. Trials Of Your Faith by Skylla is a quite good R&B album. Can you tell that I am stalling for time? Well, please don’t blame me, nor be angry at me for lying to you three times. How did I lie to you? Well, Trials Of Your Faith by Skylla is actually an EP. It is a 19 minute long EP, but I have to write about it because it is quite literally the only thing resembling an album that we could find from the world’s smallest island nation, Nauru.

“Whilst her PG-certificate songs are not my favourite kind of R&B records, they were certainly a surprise and thus more than I expected from a country that I had assumed that we would not be able to find an album from. ”

The truth is I did genuinely quite enjoy the Trials Of Your Faith, partially due to the sheer relief and amazement that I was listening to music from a nation with a population of just over 10,000, which is three times smaller than the nearest town that I grew up in. However, the other reason why I liked the album is because Skylla’s voice is really soulful, some of the tracks have got a good beat to them and it has actually left me with something to talk about, aside from the fact that she is from Nauru. Nevertheless, this final point will of course need to be addressed, even if it is done so minimally.

What sets Skylla apart from other female R&B stars such as Mariah Carey, Aaliyah and TLC, is that her lyrics are mostly religious. She merges wholesome Christian ideology with a genre whose lyrics are not typically full of positive and faith-laden affirmations. Whilst her PG-certificate songs are not my favourite kind of R&B records, they were certainly a surprise and thus more than I expected from a country that I had assumed that we would not be able to find an album from. The EP's final three tracks are of varying quality, but are the ones in which she blends R&B with a Christian message of loving-kindness.

Last Dear Diary begins as a pleasant albeit slow-paced song before then calling out to Jesus in a rather bizarre tone. This is followed by the title-track which is my favourite song on the album. It is the most gospel song on the album and is accompanied by a very catchy beat. The Nauruan singer hits some impressive notes in this track as she assures her audience that "God has plans for you, he loves you". This is then slightly tainted by the final song, a hodgepodge of genres that include soul, disco, '90s novelty rap, and gospel, in which Skylla’s optimism and love of Jesus stops being so uplifting. Perhaps this is the hell-bound cynic in me, but after this track I felt that it was her affirmations of her faith were staring to become somewhat cloying.

However, during the opening two tracks, Under Pressure (not to be confused with Queen and David Bowie’s '80s smash hit) and Reality, Skylla shows off her vocal range. These are the only tracks not to have any overt Christian undertones to them. In fact the first song is particularly enjoyable due to the Pacific twang that can be heard in the backing track with island rhythms that are distinct from calypso music that might be found in the Caribbean. Whilst Nauru does of course have its own proud culture and even its own language that differentiate it from other micronations located in the Pacific ocean, the likelihood of finding an album that would be released and distributed on an international streaming service like Spotify was unrealistic. Therefore, whilst it might have been more interesting to find traditional Nauruan music, the fact that Skylla managed to make a name for herself in Australia in itself is impressive, but having done so in a secular country like Australia whilst holding on to her religious message within her music deserves extra praise.