A family of spiritualists, writers and performers generations deep; a home haunted by legends of literature and music; personal upheaval and a sense of being unseated in time: these are the origins of singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist VeraSola.
As a child she played piano, later guitar and bass, learning more by instinct than instruction. An obsessive reader and writer, she filled notebooks full of poetry, and fell in love at a young age with Russian literature and the work of Dylan Thomas, James Joyce and William Faulkner. All of this, along with a career as a stage and voice actor — combined with years of touring in Elvis Perkins’ band — would serve as a launching point for Vera Sola.
But it wasn’t until early 2017, when she booked time at Native Sound Studio in St. Louis, that she began to experiment with the idea of recording her own material. She hadn’t even shared her music with her closest friends and family, let alone recorded anything of her own.
Even then, despite a lineage and lifetime of public performance, she felt a barrier to her voice. Writing and playing came easily, but singing her own songs presented a different challenge. One she couldn’t explain and couldn’t quite shake.
That would all change. Just before she was to travel to St. Louis, a series of life-altering events marked a radical shift that reframed her relationship to her music. With everything she’d known to be true now unravelled, along with it vanished the fear that had prevented her from translating the sound in her blood into song.
Entering the studio, she abandoned plans to bring in other musicians. She decided instead to make the album entirely alone, picking up instruments she had never played before, drawing from them the internal music that had for so long gone unexpressed. For percussion—bones and breaking glass, chains and filing cabinets, hammers and two-by-fours. Countless moving parts meticulously arranged. And casting off that old fear brought new abilities, including a change in her voice, an otherworldly vibrato.
What emerged from the sessions was her debut album, Shades, a collection of ten finely-honed and immaculately-rendered ballads. Poems and stories delivered in a mannered but casually dismissive style–-full of sorrow, yet arch and wry. Songs of the present that conjure the past.
Accounts of women and their ghosts: echoes of memories that just won’t quit; of relationships over or current but fleeting; of the extinction of species; the violent capture of a feminine landscape and the spirits that stick around long after; messengers from the other side.
With an ethereal voice, a timeless sound quite unlike any other and an enthralling stage presence, she too seems not of this world.
Vera Sola’s debut full length Shades is set for release November 9th, 2018 on Spectraphonic Records.