Will McClean – Don’t Forget To Breathe (Album Review)

Will McClean

Wellington hip-hop artist Will McClean warns us Don’t Forget To Breathe releasing today an album that is, ’diving into the depths of vulnerability’.

McClean was just 5 years old when his dad, musician Michael “Titch” McClean passed away in 2005. The eight songs that comprise this album find Will confronting his trauma and offering hope to listeners who may also be struggling.

Will McCleanAnd, let’s face it, times being what they are, most of us are struggling.

“Time passes, I’m just trying to be myself’, intones Will on opening track, Heart Beat, as a pastoral flute sets the mood.

“I need a break from the clouds”, he pleads and fortunately he seems to have support from his mum, who he thanks for a stable home, even after his family went ‘to three from four’.

Co-produced with his friend Nikau Te Huki (aka Casual Healing) the music always feels inviting thanks to Will’s heartfelt lyrics and delivery and astute musical touches such as Sam Hunter’s jazzy sax and Jason Rapana’s fluid basslines.

This is an (extended) family affair as we hear Will’s nana, Maureen Aitkin recite a poem during Let Go, and Will’s mum, Sara McClean speaks up on closing track, A Lonely Moment/House On The Hill, about having to tell an 8 year old and a 5 year old that their dad has died.

Don’t Forget To Breathe is never cloying, never self-pitying. Instead, Will McClean and his musical family have created music that is at once intimate and universal.

“Thank you for tuning in” Will says on the upbeat Vibe

You’ll thank yourself after listening to Don’t Forget To Breathe.

For fans of Tom Scott’s Home Brew and The Streets

Marty Duda


Marty Duda
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