ACL Fest Interview: Erin Rae
“I’m hoping to move into a place where I’m not having to go into the depths of my soul, necessarily, to find inspiration.”
Erin Rae's 2018 LP, Putting on Airs, swooned under the native Tennessean's breathy throwback pop, but the dreaminess of sound belied the heavy and complex narratives. "Bad Mind," about her aunt in Alabama losing custody of a child after being deemed unfit because of being gay, nevertheless lifts behind an airy intimacy. The album unfolds as brutal Southern tales gorgeously sung.
"When I wrote 'Bad Mind,' I thought it might be too much, but with the arrangements that [co-producer] Jerry [Bernhardt] came up with and his expertise, I think the music helps balance out the intensity of the subject matter," she offers. "As time goes on and the conversations I have in response to that song [continue], it can mean a lot of different things for a lot of different people. I think there's something to thinking things out loud, and there's a power in writing things down.
"I wanted to write these things down to just bring them into the light and continue to move past them or keep them prioritized."
As she's toured and gotten more comfortable performing the deeply personal songs onstage, her songwriting has begun to open up, as has her musical palette.
"I'm hopefully looking outward a little bit more now, and at how things that are going on in the outside world are mirrored within myself," she says. "I'm processing stuff, but I assume I'm also sharing the story of other people. I'm hoping to move into a place where I'm not having to go into the depths of my soul, necessarily, to find inspiration."