Brittany Howard has one phrase to explain her emotions about 2024 to date. “Suspicious,” she says flatly as we lock eyes in settlement over Zoom. “Extremely suspicious.”
It’s an perspective shared by many nonetheless adjusting to life post-2020 pandemic, which is when Howard first started engaged on her new sophomore solo album, What Now. Regardless of her skepticism concerning the world at massive, the previous Alabama Shakes blues rock band frontwoman is safe in her private ventures, which embrace “The Brittany Howard What Now Tour” that kicked off in Chicago on Feb. 6, simply three days earlier than her Island Information debut releases.
“What Now is what the world felt like,” Howard says of the album title’s double that means. “I bear in mind someone stated it was like some aliens landed and folks have been identical to, ‘I don’t care.’ It was simply blow after blow of unprecedented issues taking place and attempting to hold on to your soul by means of all of that.
“It nonetheless seems like that,” she provides. “The opposite half is, ‘The place am I now? What am I creating now?’ ”
Her reply is a 12-track,sonically numerous EP that begins with the love manifestation anthem “Earth Signal” and ends with a sobering reminder of the boundaries to life’s highs in “Each Shade in Blue.”
Howard, whose Grammy-nominated solo debut Jaime got here out in 2019, talks about her new album, a brand new look and staying true to herself.
What would you say is the sound and vibe of this challenge?
Positively distinctive. It’s pulling from all of the 4 corners of my musical world. It’s its personal factor unto itself. It’s an emotional document. It’s a goofy document. It’s enjoyable. It’s unhappy. It’s a curler coaster.
The transitions between songs sound just like the singing bowls utilized in sound baths.
That’s what it’s. I needed to create one thing [between the songs] you might be anchored to, and there’s one thing you all the time come again to. It’s like coming again to your breath. I hope it impacts folks positively and provides folks area to digest the document.
You’ve gotten a special visible picture for this album. What impressed the brand new look?
After I placed on Raquel — that’s my wig — I liken it to placing on a excessive priestess outfit. I change into my increased self. She’s highly effective, she’s fearless, she stated what she stated, and he or she meant it.
The music business doesn’t all the time maintain area for artists to be their most genuine selves. How have you ever continued to carve out a lane for your self?
You’ve acquired to seek out individuals who assist your most genuine self and go on the market and shine, as a result of folks aren’t going to roll out the purple carpet for you. That’s life. I don’t know if the music business even is aware of itself proper now, to be sincere with you. So we’re going to maintain on maintaining on with what we’ve all the time been doing.
This story first appeared within the Feb. 7 subject of The Hollywood Reporter journal. Click here to subscribe.