Cincinnati singer/songwriter Linsley Hartenstein, who performs under the moniker Darity, started 2021 on a hopeful note with the release of a new single, “Everything.” The dreampop ballad seems to speak directly to the anxieties of 2020 while offering a soothing optimism as we look onward to the new year. Though it was written during a challenging period in Hartenstein’s life, she reveals that “Everything” has been brewing for a much longer time.
“While the end result is beautiful and encouraging, the writing process of this song was really long,” she tells Audiofemme. “I started writing it while on tour in 2017. Touring is one of my favorite things to do of all time, but this tour specifically revealed how poor my mental health was.”
Struggling with the uphill process of growing an independent band, Hartenstein says she spent the entire tour journaling reasons why she doubted her abilities and her worth. “All the while, I had the chorus to ‘Everything’ stuck in my head,” she says. “It was incredibly frustrating because it felt like a song I couldn’t honestly write because I didn’t believe that I have everything I need. So, I didn’t write it. It just sat in the back of my mind. I would sing it in my room and sing the verses about whatever I was currently feeling down about. It was like the never-ending song.”
After seeking therapy, Darity began playing “Everything” for live audiences. Her friend Alex Alex Hirlinger heard the song and wanted to help her finally record it. “I decided to finish the lyrics and have Alex produce the track because he liked the song and is crazy talented,” she says. “I figured that I’m also probably not the only person that needs space to acknowledge that life gives us so much evidence to not pursue health and what we love, but someday when the fog clears, we will be able to see that everything we have is enough.”
The single is more pop-leaning than most of Darity’s debut album Bitterroot, which compiled singles five previously released singles with four newer songs. She says it also stands out from her previous releases because of its vulnerable lyrics. “I felt like I was fighting myself a little bit [while recording it,] like, ‘Can you say you have everything you need when you haven’t arrived yet?’” she reflects. “After it’s all said and done, though, I believe I don’t have to have everything figured out to believe in myself.”
The song bears the reminder that even when we’re faced with feelings of self-doubt, the tools for happiness and health are still within reach – sometimes we just need a little patience. “Real healing always takes longer than we would prefer,” Hartenstein says.
“While ‘Everything’ isn’t specifically a song about COVID and all that’s going on in the world, it’s where we are all at,” she says. “The song coincidentally has a lot of relevant imagery, so I wanted to be intentional with the release. I feel like it’s important to acknowledge that this next year and the years to come will probably still be hard, but we can still have hope.”
Darity’s next single will arrive February 19. Until then, Hartenstein hopes that no matter what emotions it awakens, “Everything” will provoke mindfulness. “If this song pisses you off; cool, why? If this song brings you joy; amazing, sit in that. If this song does nothing for you, notice that. I hope [this song] finds people exactly where they are,” she says. “No one is alone in working through believing that we have everything we need.”
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