Sometimes a red thread in the work of an artist only takes shape in the aftermath of completing a record. Such has been the case for the debut LP Choosing by singer-songwriter Sophie Jamieson. Though never a central focal point when writing its eleven haunting pieces, water appears to form the symbolic core of the songs – from raging storms with pouring rain, an overflowing bathtub to the sheer still life presence of amassed liquid substance. But there’s more to that on this record. Coming a long way to deliver her first full-length, Jamieson on Choosing details her long and punishing struggle against the tide, documenting her journey from self-destructive addictions and desperation to more hopeful shores. This is the story of an intense battle for life, trying not to drown, delivered with the most powerful virtues of melody and melancholia.
Towards The Light
“The title of this album is so important”, the artist explains. “Without it, this might sound like another record about self-destruction and pain, but at heart, it’s about hope, and finding strength. It’s about finding the light at the end of the tunnel, and crawling towards it.” And indeed, Choosing is not just another sad indie folk-pop record, but comes with the strong message to not hole up in your pain but to fumble through the intricate web of sorrow and exhaustion. It is towards the end, that the song channels, with intense roar and vigor, what Sophie Jamieson describes as follows: “I want it to be a taste of what can be, a portal to freedom.”
“Cause every time you don’t let it break it / It takes twice the thread to mend anyway” (Runner)
Musically, Choosing comes in many shapes and although Jamieson mostly remains in her established folk-pop territory with nods to the likes of Daughter, Sharon Van Etten or even spreading Thom Yorke vibes here and there, though there is something remarkably unique about the way she plays all her registers. At times full of gloom and haunting despair, gliding into full-steam energy at the next moment, as if the darkness needed the light just to keep existing.
“The songs are bursting with something, and that energy just needs to be reshaped into love for the self. I can say this from a place of having learned now how to love and care for myself. The love that reverberates through this album is like the green shoots of something I have happily learned to nurture into my present day.”
Choosing is out now on Bella Union. Don’t miss it.
Every Monday, the NBHAP staff brings an exciting new artist to your attention along with a 30-track-strong Introducing Playlist over on Spotify. Feel invited to follow the playlist and give these talents a spin.
Apart from Sophie Jamieson, this week’s picks include brand new music from artists like Baerd, Searows, Cloth and more. Tune in here.