Late in 2016 while on tour supporting her third studio album My Woman, Angel Olsen played a club with a distinct quirk. While most places announce acts via a marquee, or gig posters, or even flyers, this one had a sketch artist draw caricatures of acts that came through on a chalkboard inside. Angel was immortalized, or as immortalized as one can be on a chalkboard. But there was only one problem after she saw it for the first time. She was drawn with a giant frown on her face.
“It’s funny how the things you create will always be with you in some way that you cannot control,” Olsen said in the courtyard of Miami’s Blind Pig a few hours before her Red Bull Sound Select 3 Days In Miami set at 1306 this past February. “You become, then, some character that you’ve accidentally created that follows you around everywhere. It’s true, and then you’re like ‘Oh, this is me. This is this projected thing that is just following me everywhere I go.’”
Olsen asked if it was possible to have the frown changed to a smile, or erased completely, or better yet, with the face erased and only her hair remaining. Clearly the artist responded to something in Angel’s music, a piece of her in her lyrics, and the interpretation was a harsh frown. But like most caricature art, it was a distortion. It wasn’t the real Angel, just like last year’s stunning My Woman isn’t her either. It’s a part of her, sure, but it’s not her.
“You look, and you see yourself in the form of the ghost,” Olsen said. “Or the thing that you once were, or in some moment where someone caught you being a human, is now this thing that’s everywhere. I don’t know. It’s a weird life. It’s a weird thing to do with your life. I don’t know. I can’t stop doing it.”