With Brit Award nominees London Grammar's third album, 'Californian Soil', frontwoman Hannah Reid sings of how she finds truth in dark places – truths about the music industry, about the American culture she consumed while growing up, and truths inside herself.
The follow-up to 2017's aptly titled 'Truth Is A Beautiful Thing', Hannah is ready to rocket out of the darkness as a fierce and flaming phoenix to land front and centre on the stage where she belongs.
Prior to the pandemic-induced shut-down of the global music industry, Hannah was battling two problems with her voice: the clarion bell emanating from her vocal folds and the inner monologue that questioned whether she belonged on stage, as she explains.
"Basically we were so overworked on the first album – I didn't have to have any vocal surgery but I kept on losing my voice, I kept getting tonsillitis all the time.
"It's such a small set of teeny, tiny muscles and it gets to a point where you cannot push it anymore and eventually in the end it was just 'no, I've had enough' and I lost all this [vocal] power.
"I also think it was a psychological thing. I think I associated singing with stress or being under pressure, and I've had to re-learn how to sing and relax."
The attention the band garnered with their 2013 debut record 'If You Wait' resulted not only in a vocal cord-straining tour schedule; it also attracted attention from misogynists seemingly lurking in every crevice of the music industry.
Hannah, prior to #metoo, famously called out BBC Radio 1 on Twitter for objectifying her in a tweet. Hannah explains the role such an environment played in her attitudes towards performing.
"I wasn't quite sure how much of my stage fright was just stress induced from feeling like I wasn't in an environment that I was being listened to.
"At the start of our career, we were surrounded by different people and now we're surrounded by different people who are wonderful, but I was not prepared for the music industry and what it was like.
"I would have expected that anything to do with the arts would have been really progressive, but really it's a business."
On 'Californian Soil''s closing track 'America', Hannah compares her idealisation of the music industry with the American dream; is it the land of promise, or the land of empty promises?
When penning the track, as Hannah explains, she was contemplating leaving music behind. "When I wrote that song, I was very emotional, and I wasn't sure if I was going to write songs after that but I did.
"At that point I was just like 'I owe it to myself to say whatever it is I want to say and express my feelings on this album' and that is the only thing that can lead to change is when you speak out about it in whatever way that is.
"Even if it only makes a difference to just one woman who listens to it, that'll be enough for me."
'Californian Soil' then, is Hannah's first voyage into building a brave new world, one young and empowered woman at a time. For her, the fans have always been what has kept her sailing on in the fog.
"I don't miss the anxiety, but I really miss seeing our fans. Whenever we play live there are people in the front row who'll come to ten gigs in a row and they just love live music so much."
'Californian Soil' is available now.
London Grammar 2022 Tour Dates
Sat 19 Feb - Belvoir Amphitheatre (Perth)
Tue 22 Feb - The Riverstage (Brisbane)
Thu 24 Feb - Sidney Myer Music Bowl (Melbourne)
Sat 26 Feb - Aware Super Theatre (Sydney)
Tue 1 Mar - Adelaide Entertainment Centre Theatre