Dominique Fils-Aimé Delivers a Soulful Call for Change in “While We Wait”

Next month, Montreal neo-soul singer-songwriter Dominique Fils-Aimé will release Three Little Words, the third and final installation of her album trilogy celebrating the history of African American music, following 2018’s Nameless and 2019’s Polaris Prize-nominated / JUNO Award-winning Stay Tuned!. Today, she shares “While We Wait,” a sweeping, soulful doo-wop-inspired charge to “be the change,” premiering below.

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The song opens on an optimistic—or naive—note: “I know you won’t let me down / I can tell by the vibe / That’s been round our house,” Fils-Aimé coos in the first verse, her voice soft and bright and hopeful. “I can tell you won’t let this go / By the spark in your eye / And the pep in your…”

The next verse follows the same structure:I got some real questions to ask you now / Do you think we might change the world / One move at a time,” Fils-Aimé sings, turning her attention more explicitly to politics. I got some real blessing to share around / Having you by my side / Makes it all worth…”

If the first half of the song is about waiting or hoping or wishing for the world to change, then the second half of the song is about taking a more proactive approach. Our narrator has had it. Fils-Aimé’s coy vocals transform into something soaring and sonorous. The instrumentation swells then recedes as Fils-Aimé delivers her prophetic final lines: “We could be the change / We can see the chains / We will be the change.”

Fils-Aimé tells American Songwriter, in a statement, that the song is about “the transition between two eras, filled with necessary growing pains—leaving carelessness behind in order to embrace the mission that belongs to us all. The duality between becoming agents of change versus the powerlessness we may feel. Keeping our eyes, hearts and minds opened, because once we know, we can’t unknow.”

Of Three Little Words, Fils-Aimé says the album’s about “letting our soul feel free, letting our guard down, letting the sun heal, letting the lemon tree grow, letting the pain go, letting the wind shake off the fruit, [and] letting ‘Love Take Over.’”

“While We Wait” is the second glimpse of Three Little Words after “Love Take Over,” which arrived back in October with a video directed by Marcella Grimaux. “Ain’t no stopping now cause we know what we gotta do,” Fils-Aimé sings in the lead single, a lush, jazz-inflected anthem of female empowerment. “No more stepping down cause we know what we gotta do.” “While We Wait” is built around a similar realization: the time for change is now. Welcome to the Queendom of Dominique Fils-Aimé. 

Three Little Words is out Feb. 12 via Ensoul Records. You can pre-order it here.

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