Shara Worden, aka My Brightest Diamond, wants you to put your hands up — on social media.
The artist is preparing a Sept. 16 release of her next album, “This Is My Hand,” and today HitFix exclusively premieres the title track from the set.
Like the full-length, “This Is My Hand” is lush and intense, sensual but confrontational, arranged with detail and imploringly original. All songs feed into an effort that Worden says “tortured” her, at least when it came to crafting lyrics.
But it's exactly those hard-fought lyrics that My Brightest Diamond wants fans to riff on: launching today, the songwriter invites listeners to ThisIsMyHand.com, to take a picture that matches the lyrics and use Instagram tags to send her way, to help compile a crowdsourced music video entirely from those images.
Below, I interview Worden on “This Is My Hand” and her recent EP “None More Than You” and writing about her whole self. Tracklists, tour dates and more are beyond that.
“This Is My Hand” arrives next month via Asthmatic Kitty, and was recorded in Berlin, New York, Los Angeles and Detroit with producer Zac Rae. It is her fourth album, coming on the heels of 2011's “All Things Will Unwind.” You can pre-order “This Is My Hand” here.
HitFix: You're releasing your album only a couple of months after you dropped your EP. How has your opinion changed over they years on the value of an “album” — versus the compiling and releasing of EPs, singles, music videos, et cetera?
Shara Worden: I love making records. I love the history of the form. This is our fourth record since 2006, so we have seen a lot of changes in the industry to be sure. When I first started thinking about making another album, I did feel pretty bleak about the value of recorded music, but then I did a lot of reading and thinking and inputting, and then became really excited about the process again. I made a big pile of recordings this time around, writing at least 20 songs and then we chose the material that made the most sense as a unit, and the other songs we are releasing as EPs.
“This Is My Hand,” lyrically, is already so illustrative — and very inspirational. What do you hope to achieve by opening up the music video to fan submissions of visuals?
I was writing this album thinking about an imaginary tribe of people, gathering around a fire, making music together, telling stories, hearing from the shaman, and so of course I also imagined everyone dancing, but then when I went to make “dance music” I realized how I have spent so much of my life disassociating from the body. I was brought up in a conservative Christian culture that in essence said the body was “evil” and then also as a female musician, from early on I felt that I wasn't going to be taken seriously as a musician if I was also dancing, so I just shut off my connection and focused on my mind.
This song is really about self acceptance and re-integrating the WHOLE self and there is so much happening right now across the globe, with body image, our sexuality, slavery, racism, that I just feel like this song belongs to “the larger tribe” and I want to open up this video format so that more people can have a “ritual” of sorts, accepting themselves and the tribe shows itself to be beautiful and varied as possible.
There are lines in this song and others on the album that reference female-ness, and play with sex and gender. Can you talk about any evolution or approach you've had to incorporating these themes in your compositions?
As I began making this music, uncharacteristically starting from the beats first, I was really forced to deal with my questions about my body, my sensuality, my sexuality, and even the violence and love that I am capable of, and embracing all aspects of who I am as a human being. It still feels like I'm in a process on the subject that is going to continue for a long time.
Describe the most challenging day, instrumentally, you had in the studio for this album.
All of the instrumental aspects of this record felt super easy, actually. All the musicians are such incredible artists, but strangely enough it was the lyrics for this album that really tortured me. Normally lyrics have been my foundation, but this time around I ended up changing almost half the songs, some of which had existed for at least two years at the last minute. I knew that I had to be more vulnerable and more honest, so there were a lot of desperate moments where it felt like I was pushing on this wall that I had to crumble and it was really quite scary and then on the other side, it feels quite liberating.
Here is the “This Is My Hand” tracklist:
2. Before The Words
3. This Is My Hand
4. Lover Killer
5. I am Not the Bad Guy
6. Looking At The Sun
8. So Easy
Here is the “None More Than You” EP tracklist:
1. Dreaming Awake
2. Whoever You Are
3. Dreams Don't Look Like
4. Dreaming Awake
5. That Point When
Here are My Brightest Diamond's tour dates:
September 19 /// Detroit, MI /// Music Box
September 20 /// Toronto, ON /// Drake
September 22 /// Boston, MA /// The Sinclair
September 23 /// Philadelphia, PA /// World Café Live
September 25 /// New York, NY /// Bowery Ballroom
September 27 /// Washington, DC /// Rock & Roll Hotel
September 28 /// Pittsburgh, PA /// Altar Bar
September 30 /// Charlotte, NC /// Visulite Theater
October 1 /// Atlanta, GA /// The Earl
October 3 /// Austin, TX /// Austin City Limits Music Festival
October 12 /// Dallas, TX /// The Kessler
October 10 /// Austin, TX /// Austin City Limits Music Festival
October 17 /// Stockholm, Sweden /// Scandic Grand Central
October 18 /// Gothenburg, Sweden /// Folkteatern Foajebaren
October 19 /// Copenhagen, Denmark /// Loppen
October 21 /// Hamburg, Germany /// Knust
October 22 /// Berlin, Germany /// Postbahnhof
October 24 /// Brussels, Belgium /// Botanique Rotonde
October 25 /// Amsterdam, Netherlands /// Paradiso Noord-Tolhuistuin
October 26 /// Paris, France /// Bababoum
October 28 /// London, UK /// Village Underground
October 29 /// Leeds, UK /// Brundenell Social Club
October 30 /// Glasgow, UK /// Oran Mor
October 31 /// Dublin, Ireland /// Workman”s Club
November 12 /// Grand Rapids, MI /// Wealthy Theater
November 13 /// Chicago, IL /// Lincoln Hall
November 14 /// Madison, WI /// High Noon
November 15 /// Milwaukee, WI /// Vogel Hall
November 16 /// Iowa City, IA /// The Mill
November 17 /// Minneapolis, MN /// Cedar Cultural Center
November 19 /// St. Louis, MO /// Old Rock House
November 20 /// Indianapolis, IN /// White Rabbit Cabaret
December 2 /// Denver, CO /// Larimer Lounge
December 3 /// Salt Lake City, UT /// Urban Lounge
December 5 /// Portland, OR /// Doug Fir Lounge
December 6 /// Seattle, WA /// The Crocodile Café
December 7 /// Vancouver, BC /// Electric Owl
December 10 /// San Francisco, CA /// Great American Music Hall
December 12 /// Los Angeles, CA /// The Roxy
December 13 /// San Diego, CA /// The Casbah