When Leo Sawikin hits that gorgeous high note during the eric chorus for “Don’t Pass It By”, it seals the song’s status as an indisputable winner.
The song already won my favor. Sawikin’s sure songwriting hand orchestrates a skillful buildup to the song’s payoff moment, its chorus, and he takes his time maximizing the impact of that moment. There’s nothing about this single that’s rushed. Sawikin sounds to me like someone who started the recording process for this track knowing exactly what he wanted and achieved those goals. The confident steadiness steering this track is quite impressive.
The new single sounds like the work of an inspired and seasoned veteran musician. He’s evolved at an astonishing rate since his solo debut and songs such as “Don’t Pass It By” illustrate his continued growth as well as revealing new sides to his songwriting character. He’s expanding his range in ways that further solidify his place as one to watch, and is destined for wider mainstream success.
Producer Phil Ek provides essential support. His work strengthening the architecture of Sawikin’s “Don’t Pass It By” isn’t flashy, focuses on fundamentals, and shows across-the-board attentiveness to the song’s needs. Keen-eared listeners may hear a little added focus directed towards Sawikin’s singing, but this is natural given.
Sawikin’s singing isn’t a pyrotechnic display of the human voice’s potential but rather a deeply felt, attentive, and highly musical performance with one particularly notable high spot. That falsetto note during the song’s chorus puts a graceful touch on an already elegant performance because he doesn’t overplay the moment. The tastefulness is especially apparent when viewed in the full context of the song rather than as an isolated addition.
It is the sort of artistry that builds long discographies and eventual legacies. Leo Sawikin’s “Don’t Pass It By” certainly provides evidence that he’s in it for the long haul instead of pursuing fleeting pop glories and it’s that sort of attitude buttressing his talents that ensures he’ll have an appreciative audience at call so long as he continues to perform. Sawikin is a stone lifer, to his core, and even if he never recorded another note, he’d continue to play and write for his own needs.
It’s that sort of music that sustains the form. The pop monsters spawning hits that we forget a year later, dissolving in the detritus of our modern life, help pay, in a roundabout fashion, for music such as this to enjoy the light of day. Leo Sawikin isn’t interested in writing or performing songs that are disposable, and easily forgotten. “Don’t Pass It By” shows, without question, that he’s writing and singing songs grounded in universal human emotions and experiences. I can’t wait to hear more, and I think you’ll agree. It’s one of 2023’s most passionate singles without sinking into heavy-handed cliches.