Alela Diane has shared her new single, ‘Camellia’, which heralds the Portland, OR-based artist’s sixth studio album, Looking Glass, produced by Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, Neko Case, The Decemberists) arriving everywhere on Friday, October 14th.
An intensely personal new track – on which both her own & Tucker Martine’s young children sing – ‘Camellia’ was written about Diane’s experience of coming extremely close to death whilst giving birth to her youngest daughter in 2017.
Diane will mark the arrival of Looking Glass with a busy live schedule, including and European headline dates including a sold-out show London St Matthias Church on October 20. North American dates will be announced soon.
OCTOBER 15 – Berlin, Germany – silent green Kulturquartier
18 – Paris, France – Cafe de la Danse
20 – London, United Kingdom – St. Matthias Church (SOLD OUT)
Now, with her cathartic and ethereal sixth studio album, Looking Glass, Diane explores how the past is always with us – a source of sadness sometimes, but also of solace, a kind of permanent foundation on which we all walk into the rest of our lives. Haunting new songs like ‘Dream A River’ resonate with a characteristic braiding of lightness and dark, balancing intensely personal lyrics of imagined catastrophe with a signature shot of bittersweet hope, a possibility that something better might emerge from the ashes.
Produced by Tucker Martine and arranged by longtime friend and fellow musician Heather Woods Broderick, Looking Glass sees Diane accompanied by a stellar line-up of guest musicians including Carl Broemel (My Morning Jacket), Scott Avett (The Avett Brothers), Eli Moore (Lake), Mikaela Davis, Luke Ydsitie (Blind Pilot), and Ryan Fracesconi (Joanna Newsom). The album was made during a time of great personal transition for Diane, recorded during the same weeks that she and her family were selling the Portland, OR house she bought at the age of 26 with money earned from her first royalties contract. Diane’s family had now outgrown the house, but the leaving was bittersweet – it was in that home that she’d been married, divorced, and married again, and become the mother of two children. The emotional and logistical chaos of that moment – along with pandemic-related childcare struggles, historic wildfires raging through the Pacific Northwest, and more – fuels Looking Glass, which like much of Diane’s remarkable body of work, touches often on the various meanings of home, past and present.
With that in mind, Diane and her family moved into a sprawling 1892 Victorian home shortly after recording Looking Glass, a dollhouse-like fixer-upper set on a surprisingly hidden wooded lot in the middle of Southeast Portland. In keeping with Diane’s love of all things antiquarian, the title of the new album, like her new house, also has a 19th Century provenance. The original definition of “looking glass,” Diane notes, is “mirror,” but after Lewis Carroll published the novel ‘Through the Looking Glass’ in 1871, the term took on a second meaning: “the opposite of what is normal or expected.”
“In the context of the album,” Alela Diane says, “Looking Glass refers to both meanings. It is a portal to past and future, and a reflection on all that lies between.”