Marking her transition from poetic Americana to poignant electro-organic pop, Brit Drozda’s Seashells & Stories EP mulls the connections that stretch and strain between us with singular melodicism and rare lyrical lucidity.
Due on Oct. 9, the six-song collection is preceded by its addictive title track on Aug. 26.
“There’s been a development in my writing process. I wanted things to be a bit more percussive and fuller-sounding,” Brit explained from her Charlotte, N.C. home. “I’m a huge fan of Florence and the Machine, and I love Sia’s stuff.”
Almost born into music, Brit witnessed a Michael Jackson concert from the womb and was attending shows with her parents even as a toddler. Growing up in Purchase, N.Y. music was at the center of most family outings. Broadway shows ignited her joy in singing, which the 6-year-old Brit honed on a cassette karaoke machine. Classical piano lessons were a constant from kindergarten through college.
Her musical outlet comforted the thirteen-year-old Brit through a difficult and transitional family move to Florida (“it was primarily piano where I found that form of expression”). She began singing and putting words to her older brother’s compositions, and by high school had made her first solo recording: a song written for her dying grandfather.
“I definitely feel like it’s easier for me to communicate through music,” she admitted. “It also proved to me that I was capable of writing a song and having my own voice and own musicality.”
Brit minored in music at Davidson College, including a summer program at Berklee College of Music. Meanwhile, she was listening to the likes of Ingrid Michaelson, Regina Spektor, the Wallflowers, and especially Coldplay. She toured in a band with her brother that she describes as “The Killers meets No Doubt.” But then there were more folk-flecked influences, like Nickel Creek and The Weepies.
“I've always had extremely eclectic musical tastes,” she said. “The constant that runs through is that very rarely do I find songs truly interesting and moving without some sort of lyrical component that kind of jolts me.”
Settling in Charlotte after college, Brit absorbed sounds from the area’s vibrant indie-folk scene, which were reflected in her two albums to date (2016’s Let Me Hang the Moon and last year’s Make Something Beautiful).
But a reconnection with her love of ‘90s alt-pop and a transformational collaboration with New York producer Scott Jacoby (Coldplay, Vampire Weekend, Sia etc.) spun Brit’s Seashells & Stories EP into a more distinctive and three-dimensional expression. The collection artfully mingles acoustic and electronic elements, while Jacoby left every nuance of Brit’s dynamic, soulful timbre and profound lyrics bare to the ear.
“The purpose is to invest in human connection and to learn from interactions,” she offered. “Lyrically, each song is inspired by a different human emotion and responses to life experiences … What moves people and what speaks to them is really important to me.”
Inspired by dystopian classic “Fahrenheit 451,” first single “Seashells & Stories” runs with author Ray Bradbury’s prescient portrait of humans distracted from their natural and spiritual surroundings by technology-driven trivia.
“It felt very different from everything else I’d written, even as I was writing it.” Brit recalled. “Also, it was the first song I’d collaborated on with Scott. It’s very simple, but just the way we built the guitars out and did some of the keys … I could just really hear it coming to life”
Elsewhere, the buoyant “Spotlight” is an anthem to friendship, written to celebrate a selfless friend finally finding her own truth. The more somber “Avalanche” is a metaphor for the destructive power of fear that came to Brit while, quite literally, running up a hill. “I Don’t Want to Dream Without You,” with its infectious whistled refrain, is an ode to her husband penned in the shadow of a particularly jarring nightmare.
“I feel like this EP was an evolution, and that my music is going to move forward in this vein from here on out,” Brit concluded. “This is exactly what I was envisioning.”
Seashells & Stories was recorded with Jacoby at New York’s Eusonia Studios and co-produced by Zach Ezichson (except “Rose Colored Glasses,” which was recorded at Sioux Sioux Studio in Charlotte with Jason Scavone). All songs were mastered at The Lodge in NYC by Emily Lazar.