(02 September 2012) Kim Edwards' debut album is a fourteen track followup to her self-titled EP and is entitled Wanderlust (White Shore Music (USA), 2012). The album was produced by Randy Adams and Kim Edwards and resulted from a successful Kickstarter project. Kickstarter is being used on an increasing level by both established and new musical artists. Kim is joined by a vast range of musicians that contribute to the album's arrangements.
"Each of the songs Iíve written for Wanderlust has been a reflection of a different place of travelóthe album is a collection of songs from my journeys,Ē explains Dallas, Texas-based singer-songwriter Kim Edwards. The epic and elegantly emotional chamber pop on Kim's debut album, Wanderlust, documents three across the country moves and a lifetime devoted to studying lush theatrical pop.
"As a kid I studied Alan Menkenís Disney Scores for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin. I remember being fourteen and doing some online research and I found the company in charge of the scores and I wrote them saying, 'I'm a student of orchestration, could you send me some scores?' and they did!" she says laughing.
The album is an introspective travelogue of relationships, stories, personal growth and spirituality. The dynamic sprawl of the wonderfully quirky arrangements extends from intimate piano-and-voice spare elegance to epically sweeping strings and playful circus-y brass passages, often in the same song. The album's mood is satisfyingly diverse, from the chamber-pop poise of "Blue" to the breezy tropical folk of "Aloha." Kimís singing has an angelic purity with a touch of silky grit. Her delivery is graceful and tender, managing to be emotionally resonant without overly affected.
"The Show" wraps around the listener, starting off with a jaunty piano motif that's then layered with airy Queen-esque backup vocals and a whimsical snare drum pattern. The song exudes pop awe with seasick trumpets, festive trombones, a plinking triangle; it's an expansive but tastefully nuanced relationship narrative that manages to be both humorously absurd and warmly sincere.
The vaudevillian melodic motif is reprised instrumentally in "Interlude." Kim said, "My producer, Randy Adams, and I decided to put that in the way old movies have an intermission. I wanted to do something different. Having a brass interlude tribute to 'The Show' wasnít normal; I tend to like doing things you wouldn't expect."
Kim studied classical piano starting at age four and for a short while was a piano performance major in college. Her grounding in music theory, orchestration, and arrangement is clearly evident on Wanderlust. But despite such an academic background, she has a free-spirited creativity that keeps the album joyfully accessible.
Her process for tracking the sweetly sentimental strings on "London-town" is a window into this low-key, natural artistic flow. "A friend who plays violin and viola came into the studio and we just winged it. We'd just hum parts, record it with the violin or viola, and layer them," Kim explains of the tracking process.
The singer credits moving from her snug Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania hometown for much of Wanderlustís lyrical inspiration. "I moved across the country three times in the last two years: Pennsylvania to Texas to California and then to Texas again to record the album," she details. "When you do this, you meet all sorts of people with totally different viewpoints and life experiences.
The scripture-based track "121" is emotionally inviting and a non-denominationally biased lullaby. The track builds from mournful violins to powerful pop-rock dynamics. "I just love how that scripture is beautifully worded. I love the imagery and the flow of it. I appreciate ancient literature of any kind," Kim says. "When I was writing the music those words just came out; itís one of my favorite passages in the bible. It brings out a lot of comfort and assurance."
Kim and her producer Randy Adams took a year to finish the album due to Randyís busy schedule as an in-demand sound engineer. "For the longest time I didnít hear the finished product until a month or two before the release date. When I heard all instruments together, I got choked up," Kim says candidly. "I'm so used to hearing myself with just piano; my songs were bones before but then they came to life as a living, breathing creature."
Kim has taken the Wanderlust album on her first tour, playing mainly in coffeehouses and intimate living room performances.
Don't miss this charming and uplifting chamber-pop artist when she hits your local java spot,
and check out her heartwarming travelogue Wanderlust.--original manuscript by Lorne Behrman in New York edited by Russ Elliot in Boston