In Her Own Words: Sally Grayson on Black Swift’s new EP ‘Desert Rain’
Black Swift – Desert Rain is available now @ Shopify.
Have you ever heard of the analogy of falling into the “U.” Imagine you are standing at the top of a valley. You can see the other side in front of you. The only thing you have to do is travel down into that valley (the bottom of that “U”) and climb back up to the other side. Of course, we all know that the hard part is when we are the bottom of the “U.” It’s where all the doubts and shadows hide. When we are in the darkness of the valley it can be especially hard to find the confidence and strength that we need to crawl back out.
Life is full of phases of valleys, isn’t it? Maybe you’re in one right now. The way we can feel overwhelmed with broken relationships, divorce, sicknesses, depression or death. We literally get pushed down into those valleys and feel like we have no clue how to climb up the other side and keep going. Anybody with me here?
I’ve said it before, but this EP “Desert Rain” is to help you crawl out of that valley. I want to sing into your ears and tell you that you are not alone in that dark place. That feeling of deep longing for the answers to life’s hard questions is what you hear in the song “The Answer.” When hardships come our way, there’s sometimes the turbulent anger we find can grow inside of us that, when left unchecked, can turn into a fiery bitterness in our hearts. This is what I warn about in “Burning Cactus.” In “Downpour” you hear the desperation of wanting the rain to come quench your inner thirst. But the mantra I hope that will stick in your heart when the record is over is in our song “To the Strength Within.” It says, “Keep moving on and carry on.” Keep going on, my friend. Life is so bloody hard at times, but my heart’s desire is to tell you that you are not alone, you have the strength within you to go forward, even if it starts with a crawl. And not only that but look behind you and see how far you’ve already come. I’m so proud of you!
I’m so incredibly proud of these songs. I think you’ll especially like “The Answer.” This one turned out especially powerful. Sylvia made that song reach its full potential. She sent it to California for someone to record strings on it, and then in the studio we recorded a whole choir with all the musicians who were present. My friends Kat Jones and Orion Walsh happened to be touring through at the time and sang vocal parts, as did Bert (on bass), the sound engineer from castle Röhrsdorf, Arno, and Sylvia as well. I’ve shared some of the beginning sketches of that song, but to hear it in this form is overwhelming.
“To the Strength Within,” I wrote originally for myself. I needed that song. I was really struggling in many ways, in my personal life, with my health, and also the question of how to push forward as a musician, I needed some encouragement. I was reading the book at the time, “How to stop worrying and start living” (classic Dale Carnegie) and he talks about how when we are going through hardships and are struggling with worry, it’s important to go to the worst-case scenario. What is the worst thing that could happen? And when you get down there and acknowledge it, you can problem solve from that dark pit on how to climb out, and then to keep moving on and carry on. I wanted the song to be a sort of trance or meditation. Kat Jones also sings vocals on this one.
and “Burning Cactus” is a song I wrote about the dangers of bitterness. When we harbour bitterness and unforgiveness, it’s burning us up inside more than it even touches the person we are bitter against. And forgiveness is like the rain falling in the desert on a cactus that is burning up from the inside out.
And then you know already about “Downpour” our single. I’m not sure why there was so much of a rain metaphor going through these songs, but that’s why “Desert Rain” seemed to be a fitting title.
Article cover photo by @schmoudi
Bass: Bertram Oeler
Guitar: David Arzt
Drums: Zar Monta Cola
Vocals: Sally Grayson
Producer: Sylvia Massy
Video Filmed & Edited by Roman Wreden, Directed by Sally Grayson & Roman Wreden
Album artwork: Sally Grayson
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