Aubrey Haddard sings about feeling “on display” and “carefully choosing every word I want to say” in her latest single, and those lyrics could easily refer to the past two years of her life. After moving from Boston to Brooklyn, touring her jazz-infused indie pop around the country, and completing residencies in Oakland and southern France, Haddard is releasing “Thin Line,” her first song since her debut 2018 album Blue Part, today.
The single opens with a rich-voiced plea: “Give me a sign I’m not wasting all my time/I’ve got a feeling I’m holding on for life.” There are hints of ’90s pop and classic rock added to her usual soulful sound; she describes it as “guitar-driven rock meets high-energy electronic maximalist pop.”
Haddard wrote the song about “that line between being okay and losing it,” she explains. “Creatives and musicians — but really everybody who puts their passion on the line as their job — probably have to reconcile that feeling of, ‘I’m working so hard but what is this for? What’s the big picture? What’s the big idea?'” But there’s also a positive message to the song, conveying a sense of “being okay with working so tirelessly for something you love.”
Her own struggle to find balance in her life as a musician inspired the single. “I’m very familiar with my own breaking points,” she says. “It’s happened to me quite a few times, where I find myself juggling more than I can handle from just being on the road and self-managing and promoting and being a friendly face at shows and being enough for myself back home, but saving a little bit of myself to still take care of myself.”
During these times, she’ll try to take days off to play guitar, write lyrics, and learn covers just for fun, and her band members also help reduce her stress. The video for “Thin Line,” which features Haddard talking into an old-fashioned telephone and playing with dice and letter tiles with her bandmates, was meant to visually represent the support she receives from them. “We went in with this goofy idea, but I got to do it with these three men around me that support me through those times I’m singing about,” she says.
Haddard plans to release a series of singles throughout the year, which she describes as “all sort of in this fresh indie pop maximalist arena, almost indulging our sense in the studio and seeing how far we could push all these new directions.” This represents a break from her previous work, much of which sounds like it could be from live recordings, with less layers of instrumentation. “While our debut record was really minimalist, these really simple songs, we’ve gone the complete opposite direction,” she says.
The new approach is in part due to the opportunity Haddard had to reflect on who she is as a musician over her chaotic past two years. “I’m getting a lot more familiar with myself as an artist,” she says. “I’m being a lot more patient and taking time to create the best works that I can create, and not really working with whatever comes out of me, but striving to create something I’m envisioning.”
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