Posts Tagged ‘Indigo De Souza’

Indigo De Souza reflects on her sophomore album “Any Shape You Take” and the lessons we learn from trusting our intuition.

The North Carolina native spoke about her diverse range of inspirations and how working on her album “Any Shape You Take” made her realise the impact that different energies can have on our growth.

Happy had the chance to gain insight into the experiences that shaped De Souza’s latest album, including living off the land with friends, ending unhealthy relationships, and creating music that is emotionally varied in order to reflect human nature.

“When pain is real, you cannot run,” Indigo De Souza sings on the centerpiece of her blistering sophomore album “Any Shape You Take”. Building on the lo-fi promise of her 2018 debut I Love My Mom, everything about her second album is bigger, brasher, and more impactful. With the help of producer Brad Cook, De Souza made a clanging, clamorous LP that matches the energy of her incredible voice. The songs pulse like open wounds, though ones that are starting to scab over — “Any Shape You Take” has tracks about grief and the pain of self-discovery, but there is also a breezy ode to friendship (“Hold U”) and an almost-happy sounding breakup song (“Pretty Pictures”). De Souza manages to do it all on Any Shape You Take, moulding to fit each sound she takes on with a fearsome determination.

“Any Shape You Take”, I know you said it was sort of a hodgepodge of newer songs like Pretty Pictures and older songs written during the “I Love My Mom” era. The songs never really get old to me. I think maybe it would take a little longer or just maybe it takes a lot of touring and a lot of playing the songs over and over again to be completely tired of them. But right now, when I listen to the album and experience playing the songs, I feel connected to those iterations of myself still, and I just feel kind of tender-hearted towards them because I grew so much out of that period of my life. It’s just really special that I am where I am now, and I wouldn’t be where I am without having gone through all the things that I’ve been through.

So, I feel grateful for my experiences and for the songs I wrote about the experiences that helped me along the way. Yeah, and Pretty Pictures, is the newest one that’s actually very recent. It was kind of an add-on to that album and that one, you can kind of tell that the writing is a little different, but I love the way it complements the other songs.

Any Shape You Take” out on Saddle Creek

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North Carolina singer/songwriter Indigo De Souza has shared another preview of one of our most anticipated records this month. “Real Pain” is the third single from the rising star’s forthcoming “Any Shape You Take” (August 27th on Saddle Creek Records), following “Kill Me” and “Hold U,” .

“Real Pain” begins in a place of radical acceptance in the face of suffering: “When pain is real, you cannot run,” De Souza sings to open the song, the lyric as devastating as her vocals are delicate. A single electric guitar and a few scattered synth notes expand into enveloping percussion and reverberant distortion while De Souza insists, “I still feel you,” allowing us to wonder whether she’s addressing a person or her pain itself, then sweetly croons, “I don’t believe the way I’ve been / going.” From there, the song is all beautiful breakdown, a symphony of screams set to a pounding, deep drum. You won’t believe the way De Souza brings it all home until you hear it.

‘Real Pain’ is about facing grief and loss, and having compassion for yourself in that space. It’s about learning to be unafraid of experiencing a full spectrum of emotion, and welcoming the way it teaches you and changes you,” De Souza says of her new song in a statement. “For one of the sections in the song, I put out an invitation for people to anonymously send me voice memos of ‘screams, yells, and anything else.’ I layered the voices on top of one another to embody a kind of collective experience.

“I felt an incredible catharsis hearing their voices stacked with mine,” she continues. “While we live such separate lives, we are connected in the way that we all navigate immense amounts of pain and love and fear in our bodies every day. It can be hard to be a person! It’s okay to acknowledge that sometimes. It’s okay to feel things fully and to allow others space to do the same.”

from Any Shape You Take out August 27th on Saddle Creek Records.

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Almost all records are a snapshot, a musical ribbon bow that documents a very specific moment in time or simply ties-off everything up to that point. Indigo De Souza’s “I Love My Mom”, her debut LP initially released in 2018, was the latter; a collection of the best songs she’d written in the few years that preceded it, recorded quickly and breathlessly and thrown out into the world.

Consisting of ten songs, “I Love My Mom” feels both raw and unabashed. Indigo pulled a band together for the first time, and was quickly encouraged to commit her songs to tape. Recorded at her friend’s house, they played almost everything live in just a few days, and released the record naturally, with little fanfare. That the record quickly took on a life of its own, deeply resonating with those who heard it, is a testament to Indigo’s song writing which took inspiration from the unique worlds created by Arthur Russel, Sparklehorse, The Microphones, as well as contemporaries such as LVL UP and Happyness.

Two of the songs have racked up more than a million streams each on Spotify: “Take O Ur Pants” and “How I Get Myself Killed.” The former balances an often breezy lead vocal with gnarly undercurrents of guitar before the whole thing lets rip in its punchy chorus, while the latter, the album’s opening track, finds a different mood entirely, a slacker rock gem that repeats its chorus as a chest-beating mantra.

Elsewhere, “Good Heart” furthers the dichotomy which sits at the record’s core, each moment of quiet introspection soon met by a cacophonous burst of energy.

Indigo De Souza under exclusive license to Saddle Creek Records

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“Hold U” starts out so simply, with just a tinny drumbeat and some basic keyboard chords. Indigo De Souza takes it somewhere special from there, steering it directly toward the joyous sensation of love among friends. As De Souza expresses her affection and an impeccably noodly guitar takes control of the arrangement, a misty pop ballad on the Cyndi Lauper-Shura continuum blooms into warm, florid R&B and then a euphoric indie rock climax.

The vocal melodies are resplendent and intuitive, the lyrics tender and empathetic: “You are a good thing, I’ve noticed, I’ve seen it/ And I want the best things for you.” It feels like a bear hug, and by the time she’s cutting loose with those wordless howls near the end, a dance party like the one in the music video might have broken out wherever you’re listening.

from “Any Shape You Take” out August 27th on Saddle Creek Records

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“Everything has to be said.” This is the conviction guiding Indigo De Souza’s sophomore album, “Any Shape You Take”. This dynamic record successfully creates a container for the full spectrum—pushing through and against every emotion: “I wanted this album to give a feeling of shifting with and embracing change. These songs came from a turbulent time when I was coming to self-love through many existential crises and shifts in perspective.”

Faithful to its name, “Any Shape You Take” changes form to match the tenor of each story it tells. “The album title is a nod to the many shapes I take musically. I don’t feel that I fully embody any particular genre—all of the music just comes from the universe that is my ever-shifting brain/heart/world,” says Indigo. This sonic range isunified by Indigo’s strikingly confessional and effortless approach to song writing, a signature first introduced in her debut, self-released LP, I Love My Mom. Written in quick succession, Indigo sees these two records as companion pieces, both distinct but in communion with each other: “Many of the songs on these two records came from the same season in my life and a certain version of myself which I feel much further from now.”

Throughout Any Shape You Take, Indigo reflects on her relationships as she reckons with a deeper need to redefine how to fully inhabit spaces of love and connection. “It feels so important for me to see people through change. To accept people for the many shapes they take, whether those shapes fit into your life or not. This album is a reflection of that. I have undergone so much change in my life and I am so deeply grateful to the people who have seen me through it without judgment and without attachment to skins I’m shifting out of.”

Growing up in a conservative small town in the mountains of North Carolina, Indigo started playing guitar when she was nine years old. “Music was a natural occurrence in my life. My dad is a bossa nova guitarist and singer from Brazil and so I think I just had it in my blood from birth.” It wasn’t until moving to Asheville, NC that Indigo began to move into her current sound, developing a writing practice that feeds from the currents that surround her: “Sometimes it feels like I am soaking up the energies of people around me and making art from a space that is more a collective body than just my own.”

At the forefront of all De Souza’s projects is her magnetism—her unique quality of spirit that is both buoyant and wise. While her backing band has undergone shifts between releases, her sound has stayed tethered to her vision. Any Shape You Take is the first full-length album that Indigo produced herself. Teaming up with executive producer Brad Cook (Bon Iver, Waxahatchee, The War on Drugs) and engineers/producers Alex Farrar and Adam McDaniel, Indigo recorded the album at Betty’s, Sylvan Esso’s studio in Chapel Hill, NC and finished it with additional production and mixing at Drop of Sun Studios in Asheville. Moving past the limitations of a home studio, Indigo could finally embody the full reach of her sound: “It felt really exciting to lean into my pop tendencies more than I have in the past and to trust my intuition to take the songs where I felt they should go. I had the tools to do it and collaborators who were willing to go there with me.”

“I feel very much like a shape-shifter with my music, I’m always trying to embody a balance between the existential weight and the overflowing sense of love I feel in the world.” It is exactly this balance that Indigo strikes in her Saddle Creek debut, Any Shape You Take. A listening experience that gives back, as you shed and shape-shift along with her.

Released on Saddle Creek Records 27/08/21

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North Carolina singer/songwriter Indigo De Souza has announced a new album, “Any Shape You Take”, and its first single, “Kill Me” via a video for it. Any Shape You Take is due out August 27th via Saddle Creek. Jordan Alexander directed the “Kill Me” video, which, according to a press release, was “inspired by the cake sitting culture originated by multimedia artist, performer and cam girl, Lindsay Dye.”

De Souza had this to say about “Kill Me” in a press release: “I wrote ‘Kill Me’ sometime in 2018 when I was really tired and fucked up in a lot of ways. I was deeply consumed in a big crazy love and coming to terms with the reality of living with mental illness. I recorded myself stream-of-conscious singing it on the kitchen floor at night with my laptop cam. I found the video about a year later, and could barely recognize the person singing. It was such a strange feeling watching the video because I couldn’t remember writing the song, but little bits and pieces of it felt familiar to me. It felt like it had been a lot longer than a year.”

Alexander had this to say about the “Kill Me” video: “We wanted to make a film about performance and stage an event that would get the crew and actors going. Cake sitting is this wonderful art form, rampant with metaphors of creation and destruction, engaging in equal parts with desire and disgust. It lends itself to the song and Indigo came over to test it out and was way better at it than I am.”

Any Shape You Take is the follow-up to her 2018 debut, I Love My Mom, which was self-released and recently reissued by Saddle Creek. De Souza co-produced the new album with Brad Cook (Bon Iver, Waxahatchee).

Indigo De Souza – “Kill Me” from “Any Shape You Take” out August 27th on Saddle Creek Records.