INTRODUCING: hemlocke springs with new single & video ‘stranger danger!’

hemlocke springs releases new single and video ‘stranger danger!’ a self-described “anti-capitalist anthem” and the third single from the 23-year-old North Carolina breakout act. The new single follows her explosive single ‘girlfriend‘, officially released late last year after its idiosyncratic bridge amassed millions of views on TikTok – now backed up by over 15 million Spotify streams and immediate critical praise from Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Pigeons & Planes, LA Times and more. With co-signs already in from Grimes, Toro y Moi and Steve Lacy (who just called her the most exciting artist of 2023), in a matter of months hemlocke springs has affirmed her place as one of alt-pop’s most progressive and prodigious new talents.

hemlocke springs is Isimeme Udu, otherwise known as Naomi – the first-generation American daughter of Nigerian parents, raised on the outskirts of Charlotte city in Concord, North Carolina. Uploading her debut track ‘gimme all ur luv’ in May 2022, fans on TikTok began to comment that the track was reminiscent of early Grimes, albeit re-imagined through an 80s synthpop lens.

The groundswell captured the attention of Grimes herself, who praised the track, and things accelerated further Bella Hadid used it to soundtrack one of her vlogs. Up until that point, music had always lingered in the background of Naomi’s life, but firmly as a hobby. Her focus had been on completing her final year of medical school studies at the Ivy League-ranked Dartmouth College, where she had an eye towards pursuing a PHD. It was a split decision on Halloween night, whilst dressed as Cher from Clueless, which shifted the course of her path by “165 degrees”. By uploading the bridge of second single ‘girlfriend,’ with a nonchalant, unchoreographed dance in her bedroom, the track was finally allowed to escape its digital purgatory – having been condemned several years earlier to a folder on Naomi’s laptop entitled ‘Bad Songs’. Hurtling into the TikTok zeitgeist and beyond, ‘girlfriend’ was immediately embraced for its beguiling, unabashed energy and the universality of its message – of trying to play it cool in the face of intense romantic yearning. 

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With no formal musical training, an artist moniker dreamt up by an online name generator, and a blanket-over-the-head approach to a home recording studio – it would be easy to dismiss hemlocke springs’ unintentional success as just another quirk of the algorithm. Yet to do so would be to overlook the heart of her resonance – which lies in her ability to embody the very kind of awkward relatability and eclectic authenticity that Gen Z are increasingly sharpened to recognise and back in their creators. hemlocke springs is no accident, but a homecoming for Naomi Udu – years of creation for creation’s sake finally realised and unleashed in full-spectrum youthful jubilance.