West London songwriter and producer Ava Zarate is out to prove that she contains multitudes. Having emerged a couple of years ago as a heart-on-sleeve singer songwriter, she’s spent the last year of lockdown immersing herself in learning more about music and production, turning herself into a diverse and multi-talented artist. Earlier this year she released the five-track EP What I Think Of You, which showed her ventures into downtempo electronic pop, and she continues to expand her palette with her latest offering, the R&B bop “Tainted Eyes”. On the new single, she reveals:

“Tainted Eyes is a song about someone unattainable. It’s a song about desire. A person who knows they are desired and loves to be desired. A person so beautiful, your eyes are tainted – both positively and negatively.”

Appropriately for a song that finds our singer so hung up, “Tainted Eyes” is a sultry piece, with spare drums and simple guitar plucks cultivating a steamy atmosphere. Ava matches the mood with breathy admissions of attraction, watching the object of her desire from the other side of the room; “everybody wants you here / a room full of eyes.” She tries to play it cool, but the facade doesn’t last long, as her sexual attraction drips out in each carefully chosen word; “you’ve been making it harder and harder for me / you know it’s true, you know exactly what you do.” Guest vocalist Violet Jones oozes into the track, somehow upping the taut sexual tension with his ripe vocals. Whether he in fact plays the role of the person that Ava admires or someone else with their own secret attractions, we like to imagine these two slowly circling each other from afar, gradually feeling the magnetic pull of the other’s “Tainted Eyes”, until they finally connect, physically and emotionally.

Listen to “Tainted Eyes” on streaming platforms or below.

“Tainted Eyes” is out via DOLO. Find Ava Zarate on Instagram, and Violet Jones on Twitter and Instagram.