Indigo De Souza
“Everything has to be said.” This is the conviction guiding Indigo De Souza’s sophomore album,Any Shape You Take. This dynamic record successfully creates a container for the fullspectrum—pushing through and against every emotion: “I wanted this album to give a feeling ofshifting with and embracing change. These songs came from a turbulent time when I was comingto self-love through many existential crises and shifts in perspective.”
Faithful to its name, Any Shape You Take changes form to match the tenor of each story it tells.“The album title is a nod to the many shapes I take musically. I don’t feel that I fully embody anyparticular genre—all of the music just comes from the universe that is my ever-shiftingbrain/heart/world,” says Indigo. This sonic range is unified by Indigo’s strikingly confessionaland effortless approach to songwriting, a signature first introduced in her debut, self-released LP,I Love My Mom. Written in quick succession, Indigo sees these two records as companion pieces,both distinct but in communion with each other: “Many of the songs on these two records camefrom the same season in my life and a certain version of myself which I feel much further fromnow.”
Throughout Any Shape You Take, Indigo reflects on her relationships as she reckons with adeeper need to redefine how to fully inhabit spaces of love and connection.“It feels so importantfor me to see people through change. To accept people for the many shapes they take, whetherthose shapes fit into your life or not. This album is a reflection of that. I have undergone so muchchange in my life and I am so deeply grateful to the people who have seen me through it withoutjudgment and without attachment to skins I’m shifting out of.”
Lead single “Kill Me,” written during the climax of a dysfunctional relationship, opens with thelines “Kill me slowly/ Take me with you.” This powerful plea, that begins within the quiet strumof a single electric guitar, is diffused by Indigo’s ironic apathy—a slacker rock nonchalance thatrefuses to take itself seriously: “I was really tired and fucked up from this relationship andsimultaneously so deeply in love with that person in a special way that felt very vast and morereal than anything I’d ever experienced.”
Across the table from that irreverence sits the sincerity of the single “Hold U,” a moreenergized, neo soul-inspired love song that substitutes apathy for a genuine expression of care. “Iwrote ‘Hold U’ after I left that heavy season of my life and was learning how to love moresimply and functionally. I wanted to write a love song that was painfully simple.”
Growing up in a conservative small town in the mountains of North Carolina, Indigo startedplaying guitar when she was nine years old. “Music was a natural occurrence in my life. My dadis a bossa nova guitarist and singer from Brazil and so I think I just had it in my blood frombirth.” It wasn’t until moving to Asheville, NC that Indigo began to move into her current sound,developing a writing practice that feeds from the currents that surround her: “Sometimes it feelslike I am soaking up the energies of people around me and making art from a space that is more acollective body than just my own.”
“Real Pain,” one of the most experimental tracks on the record, is Indigo’s attempt to make thatphenomena more intentionally collaborative. Starting soft before dropping down into acavernous pit of layered screams and cries, “Real Pain” collages the voices of strangers—audiobites Indigo received after posting online asking for “screams, yells and anything else.” “Hearingthese voices join together and move with my own was really powerful. The whole record was arelease for me. And I hope it can be that for others.”
At the forefront of all De Souza’s projects is her magnetism—her unique quality of spirit that isboth buoyant and wise. While her backing band has undergone shifts between releases, her soundhas stayed tethered to her vision. Any Shape You Take is the first full-length album that Indigoproduced herself. Teaming up with executive producer Brad Cook (Bon Iver, Waxahatchee, TheWar on Drugs) and engineers/producers Alex Farrar and Adam McDaniel, Indigo recorded thealbum at Betty’s, Sylvan Esso’s studio in Chapel Hill, NC and finished it with additionalproduction and mixing at Drop of Sun Studios in Asheville. Moving past the limitations of ahome studio, Indigo could finally embody the full reach of her sound: “It felt really exciting tolean into my pop tendencies more than I have in the past and to trust my intuition to take thesongs where I felt they should go. I had the tools to do it and collaborators who were willing togo there with me.”
“I feel very much like a shape-shifter with my music, I’m always trying to embody a balancebetween the existential weight and the overflowing sense of love I feel in the world.” It is exactlythis balance that Indigo strikes in her Saddle Creek debut, Any Shape You Take. A listeningexperience that gives back, as you shed and shape-shift along with her.
Any Shape You Take is out on August 27th via Saddle Creek.
Indigo De Souza