Am I in it? is it now? Is it what comes after this life?
I’ve lived so many lives within this life.
I grew up singing and writing songs as early as I can remember. I was writing words before I knew words, making them up and singing them.
I started a band when I was 15 with my best friend, Orenda Fink. We named it Punchanella. Later we grew into a pop band and called ourselves Little Red Rocket. As we honed our craft, we also found our music to be cathartic and a way to cope with the death of someone close to us. Our music changed as it mirrored our lives and with the change we became Azure Ray. We came into ourselves as Azure Ray.
But as time equals growth and change, after many records and many, many years together I started my solo career. I loved the freedom I had to explore different genres within a single record. Every record I released since then has been a reflection of where life has taken me.
Fast forward to 2016.
A move back to California and a husband and two children later I’ve found myself looking at my favorite release of all of my work. I rummaged through my life, taking parts of my past lives and intertwining them with my current life. I’ve imagined my life beyond what is now. I’ve taken all that I’ve learned both musically and lyrically (with the help of my incredibly talented friends) and put it into this record. I kept asking myself, “If I die tomorrow, what would I want my last record to say?”
I teamed up with one of my favorite songwriters and producers, Nik Freitas, to co-produce this record. I love his music and what he brought to these songs. I called in help from many of my super-talented friends and family. I balanced my femininity with beautiful male backing vocals. “If Only” features Conor Oberst. “It Will Find Me” and “Pretty Scars” feature Joshua Radin. There are also appearances from Nik Freitas, Macey Taylor, Jake Bellows, Louis Schefano and the female exception, Morgan Nagler. One of my dearest friends and favorite poets, Brad Armstrong, was my lyric coach for this record. Writing a record and raising two kids has many challenges. I would find myself in ruts with the lyrics and Brad would help me with different approaches and steer my brain away from the obvious. I even co-wrote lyrics to “There’s Only Now” with one of my favorite lyricists and friends, Morgan Nagler. My connection to this record was also the impetus for self-releasing under the my own label, “Flower Moon Records.”
In The Next Life sums up my past, my present, and my future. I’m so fortunate to have this life to write about, these friends to write it with.
“As if you were on fire from within. The moon lives in the lining of your skin.” – Pablo Neruda