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My new album launch: Songlines 

You may break, you may mend, you will learn: You have in your hands a clear-voiced reminder of the unnegotiable importance of personal stories, their potential for transformation, their channeling into art, into fractured, crystalline multiples of their creators’ beings.  

-- Otosirieze Obi-Young, Deputy Editor, Brittle Paper. 


I have something big to announce today and you are the first to hear about it :)  

I am officially starting work on my next album. It's called Songlines and it will be my biggest, boldest, and most ambitious work to date. I haven't figured out the full title yet. It will be something along the lines of Songlines: songs/journeys in/of creation.  

The idea came to me sometime in mid-2020 while I was looking for my next project. I was feeling completely overwhelmed with everything that the Trump administration was putting the world through. It was traumatic.  

This got me thinking about trauma in my own life. The more I examined it, the more I became aware of moments in my life that I either didn’t realize were traumatic or that I’d downplayed or just flat out ignored. The memories of these moments, however, persist and have been calling out since their creation.  

The more I became aware of these moments, the more I realized that my next musical work must deal with this. So I went on a journey to explore these moments and to develop a metaphorical mannequin to drape them over and give them form.  

What is a songline?  

Before I get to songlines, an aside: titles. I must have good titles for my music. It’s a bit of quirk of mine, but I cannot complete a song without a good title. The right title must always smacks me in the face like a wet fish leaping out of water.  

Recently, I read an article about Australian Aboriginal belief systems and came across a word that I’d never heard of or seen before: songlines.  

  • NOUN 
    a route through the landscape which is believed to have been travelled during the Dreaming and which features a series of landmarks thought to relate to events that happened during this time.  

Aboriginal Australians believe that before there was the world, creator ancestors made epic journeys across Australia that brought the world into being. Songlines are songs and music that recount and perform these journeys to celebrate and share across generations. Songlines connect place and creation. They put geography and sacred knowledge in place. Some people use songlines to navigate with.  

Each group of people has their own songlines for the ancestors' journey across the part of the land that they inhabit. And so, songlines create common ground between groups of people. Like counterpoint, they come together to create a greater whole.  

Am I Dreaming?  

I just love this idea of songlines. I learn more about it everyday. The idea for my album is to tell the stories of my life; examining moments of trauma and healing and celebrating both for what they have created and the creative energy that they have given me to make the next moment.  

In some ways, I am my own ancestor and creator. The paths of my life have defined me and have imbued within me the creative energy to make each moment into something. I am mature enough and wise to be able to reflect on the arc of my life and take part in shaping it. In other words, moments of trauma have defined me so far but I do not yet define the sum of my life. And I do not want them to.  

So I want to use the creative energy my songlines have given me to shape something new, something healing, something positive. I still suffer from private shame, guilt, anxiety, and a plethora of other neuroses that have left me jagged and I want to be free of them. They are the unknowable scripts that wet my lips and tongue, to paraphrase Umar Turaki, but that I have a hand in writing.  

Songlines will be demanding and poetic. Human beings are not simplistic creatures that conform to and consume and handful of neatly packaged emotions. I resent this idea that pop music can only be a neatly shaped bullhorn selling a lifestyle. I have a loftier goal here of writing nuanced and complex pop songs that can still resonate with people.  

I have finished the preparation for the album and will begin working on demos, which I will release and perform as I write them to see how the songs and people dance together before I put them into an album.  

I'm putting a lot of long-term planning and thought into this album because, if anything, releasing Precious taught me that these things take time to do properly and to do with justice.  

Next week, I will tell you about some of the themes and songs I have in mind for the album.


You may break, you may mend, you will learn: You have in your hands a clear-voiced reminder of the unnegotiable importance of personal stories, their potential for transformation, their channeling into art, into fractured, crystalline multiples of their creators’ beings.  

-- Otosirieze Obi-Young, Deputy Editor, Brittle Paper.