On a recent call ahead of her new album’s release, singer Lissie is in Illinois for her niece’s seventh birthday party. After having cake and hanging out with family members, she explains, she’ll jet off to London to launch the album before embarking on a European tour. When I remark on the broad spectrum of her life, Lissie laughs and says, “There’s definitely a balance to it all.”
As the youngest of four children, this soulful singer admits that she received plenty of love and attention, but still unconsciously craved more. “It’s probably why I became a singer,” she says. Creating songs and performing publicly has always been her natural choice for self-expression, while simultaneously tapping into her introverted side through her deeply personal lyrics. “When it comes to sharing my deepest, darkest feelings, I would tell a complete stranger that I was sitting next to on an airplane. I have no filter,” she says.
That lack of filter was crucial in creating Castles, her fourth studio album, which explores her romantic history and ultimately her path to self-acceptance. Over the course of her decade-long career, Lissie has injected her personal life into her musical storytelling, but with Castles, she was able to look back on those previous chapters with more clarity. “I was finding myself locking into my old patterns. I recreate situations as I move through my years,” she says of her self-reflection. She adds that with past albums as sonic literature, she’s learned to accept her mistakes and find ways to analyze them.
Lissie’s new-found self-awareness and sense of humor are particularly apparent in her single “Love Blows.” “I think I’ve always been a hopeless romantic,” she says of the track. “On one hand it’s a pretty sad and desperate song but on the other it’s kind of funny. It has a tongue-in-cheek attitude.”
As much as Castles highlights Lissie’s romantic life on the surface, she explains that the album is also about the desire to grow as an individual. “Each album is a public journey that I use to express what’s going on in my life,” she says. “The ultimate goal is to find some self-love and some peace to accept myself with or without a partner,” she says. “If I’m ever going to get anywhere it’s because I choose to love and honor myself.”
You’ll be able to hear—and perhaps learn from—Lissie’s path to self-acceptance when Castles comes out on March 23rd.