Sweet Pea
Add date: 11.7.2023
Release date: 11.10.2023

Apple Music
Official Website

“If someone asked me to tell them who I am, I’d give them this record,” shares Lila Blue — mindfully resolved, radiantly composed, only twenty-three years old.

Throughout their fourth full-length Sweet Pea, Lila comes of age amidst formidable conditions, cherishing music as the ultimate conduit for doing so. “You cannot have rebirth without decomposition and decay,” Lila shares. “Grief and growth sit side by side, and I am occupying both.” Titled after Lila’s childhood nickname and birth flower, as well as the spirit invoked over eleven dynamically evocative songs, the album is a spring unto itself.

Lila Blue’s relationship with music began at The Lake Lucille Chekhov Project in upstate New York, where a community of artists inhabit unconventional spaces to conceive and perform new works every summer. “It was like they were making the emotions inside my body into a sound,” they share. Lila, age nine at the time, had already been a fervent reader and originator of poetry—their school teacher known to secretly submit their work for publication—but it was at Lake Lucille that they wrote their first song. Inspired by Patti Smith’s memoir Just Kids, a copy of which they’d naughtily burgled from their mother’s collection, the song explored a complex notion—that love could be lost in one form, and remain in another. Lila was just nine years old. “Yeah, I was a little young for all that,” they confess, playfully.

By age ten, Lila had developed an aptitude for “sleep writing,” waking with fully and unconsciously formed songs in their mind. “I think my love for words was finding a new way to present itself,” Lila says. They explored instruments—piano, guitar, and ukulele—but never felt all that compelled by the classical forms of theory. For Lila, instruments were less a conquest than a vessel. “I actually hated knowing how it worked,” they explain. “It’s always been about the words, about putting emotions in a song and getting to leave them there.”

Lila never returned to formal music lessons. Their resistance to the demystification of process remains—to benefit. Lila’s music vibrates with a heart-over-head rawness, the feeling unfettered by any pesky, cognitive obstacles and consequently, consuming. On the lead single “There Is A Drought,” Lila quite literally growls, a vocalist beaming from the balance of musical prowess, visceral instinct, and a spiritual willingness—to listen most closely to the grumbles of one’s own soul. “I’ve developed a kind of feral language around music,” Lila confesses. “I’m so grateful for the musicians I work with, who can translate what I’m trying to convey.”

Nashville producer Jordan Hamlin—whose venerable credits include Lucy Wainwright, Indigo Girls, and KT Tunstall among others—produced Lila’s forthcoming album. The pair’s bond began with genre compatibility and a shared, geekish passion for Greek mythology, but evolved into something creatively profound. “Jordan has a deep reverence for what it means to hold space for another artist,” Lila shares. “She coaxed a candor out of me I’m not sure I would have otherwise accessed.”

Candor is power throughout Sweet Pea.

TW: sexual assault
“Psychologists have said that during trauma, time suspends. I’d say the same can be true of music,” Lila shares. They are a survivor of sexual abuse and rape, and through songs including “How Could I” and “I Met The Devil,” they outline the ferocious, tenacious, and beautifully imperfect pursuit of healing. “I was grieving my body I never got to meet, and then grieving that body again.”

In healing the relationship to their physical form, Lila also embraced its splendor—identifying as nonbinary and queer. “‘Sweet Pea’ was the first song I’d written about my own sexual agency,” they share. “Coming from a place of recovery as a closeted child performer, it became a full blown anthem to queer pleasure.” Songs like “Changeling” and “Lovely Day” similarly honor this wondrous development—from an unconscious, captive knowledge of self, to the unabashed celebration of all its complicated beauty.

Lila says, “I felt like I'd been writing to an ‘other,’ without realizing that ‘other’ is the person I wanted to become. I’ve been actualizing my own healing, manifesting the person I am today.”

Lila Blue’s music simmers, reveals, writhes, explodes, and revives. Spanning influences from Fiona Apple to Minnie Ripperton to Ani DiFranco, Sweet Pea is a sonic tonic as rich as the sensations of humanhood it so honestly explores. “I want for listeners…” Lila pauses, their tone compassionate and precocious, “to be exactly where they’re at. To feel exactly what they feel.”