ivamae — 25 September 2019 on Rocket Shop Radio Hour
On Wednesday, October 25, ivamae for an evening of ambient indie soul like no other. Like the last embers of a fire, ivamae’s music smolders, filling the air with warm and reverberating energy. Her sound check had heads nodding with the beat, and her actual performance bordered on hypnosis. Suffice it to say, ivamae showed Rocket Shop something special.
The Burlington-based artist opened with her song, “The Truth of Two.” Featuring a spacious and airy guitar, the song showcases her iconic ambience. ivamae wrote the song with the #MeToo movement in mind, and in it ivamae considers the power dynamics occurring between men and women. She notes that, from her experiences, women tend to bear most of the emotional burden in relationships.
“Either I have to carry you or tell you how to do it,” she says.
Women, whether herself or her ancestors, play a central role in many of ivamae’s muses. She likes to feel connected to her music, and genetics add a strong bond, creating an almost tangible relationship between ivamae and the stories she unfolds in her songs.
“What would my grandmother be thinking,” she often wonders when she considers a topic or experience to explore in a song.
As a whole, songwriting is an exploratory experience. She can indulge in unresolved emotions and come away with some sense of finality. It can be better than therapy. Live performances add to this experience, as stepping onto the stage requires added confidence and assuredness in what she sings, even if it means exposing her own vulnerabilities to her audience.
And this dynamic goes both ways, according to ivamae. She likes to “draw people in and force people to feel things in a world trying to numb us.” Sometimes she wishes she could find lighter topics to sing about, but sassiness, sarcasm, and sadness all come naturally to her. This often adds a haunting layer to her already ethereal and mysterious songs.
“Tender Meat,” her second song of the evening and first off of her upcoming album, is emblematic of this quality. This soft proclamation of love pairs well with a pair of warm mugs in the winter, or a light breeze and a shared blanket in the summer. This songs hugs you with a Rembrandt warmth, and prompts images of soft orange sunsets drifting behind the Adirondacks. Or maybe that’s just me…
Speaking of the album, ivamae hopes to release it by the end of Spring 2020. Disregard her Facebook page which proclaims its release to be the end of 2018. Instead, focus on the phrase, “to be released when she damn well pleases.”
Regardless of release dates, ivamae is “really really really excited!” She began recording in 2017, and is just now wrapping up the last of the tracking. The current plan is to release the album when she returns from touring the continental US in the winter (conveniently escaping the harshest months in the Green Mountains). She plans on circumnavigating the lower forty-eight: heading south, then west through L.A., and then up to the Pacific Northwest, and then at last back to Vermont, assuming she doesn’t get so lost in wonders and “the deep corners” that she never returns.
But before she leaves, she will release at least one single. So fans can expect some recorded music before the year is up.
ivamae isn’t fazed by deadlines or the passage of time. She didn’t take up music seriously until the age of twenty-five, and has learned over the years to ignore others expectations. She played cello and sung in choir all of her youth, while dabbling in guitar, but it took drastic life events to provoke her into chasing dreams. She went from farmer to chef to musician during a few formative years, and now finds herself playing live music and being hopelessly romantic.
ivamae wrapped up the evening with two songs: “Moonshadow” and “Under Hurt.”
You can catch ivamae live at Light Club Lamp Shop on October 4 from 7:30 to 8:30. She’ll also perform as a part of the Donny Hathaway tribute going on at Side Bar on October 10, alongside Nick Losito, guitarist and vocalist with The Red Newts.
Text by Luke Vidic.
Photo by James Lockridge.