If you’re in need of something new and unique to listen to, look no further than My Brightest Diamond, the work of composer, songwriter, and performer Shara Worden. This woman transcends so many different styles of music that I don’t really know where to begin as far as trying to describe it. If you could imagine The Sound of Music, a marching band, and Lady Gaga all combined into one album, you’ve got This is My Hand. In celebration of the album’s release and success, Worden and her band are currently on a nationwide U.S. tour and will be making a stop in Denver at the Larimer Lounge this Tuesday! Worden will be sure to deliver nothing short of an eclectic and memorable performance. The variety in her new album ranges vastly in energy levels. You will go from jumping and dancing around, to swaying and contemplating her lyrics, all while being cast under the spell of her dynamite voice. Comparable to an electronic symphony rock band, My Brightest Diamond is a staple of individuality. If there’s anybody else out there creating music like Shara Worden, I sure as hell have never heard of them. The genius behind the musical magic was kind enough to answer a few questions in light of her recent album endeavors.

First off, how’s the tour going? Any performance highlights thus far?

I’ve been on tour since mid September. I think what has been interesting is in several different cities we’ve been able to collaborate with local groups. In New York it was all Women’s Drum line, and in Boston we had a marching band. On this upcoming tour we’re going to play with a land based synchronized swimming group. They’re going to choreograph “This Is My Hand,” and it’s going to be super fun. I’m really excited about the show in Denver because that’s the evening I’m kicking off the tour with some new band members, so that should be a bit of personal thrill.

Land based synchronized swimming, eh? I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised seeing as how unique your music is.

You know, I have this idea that music is a collective experience, right? I want to facilitate the audience participating and so what I did was simply make a list of things like clapping, and singing along, group dances… I wanted there to be places in the music that there could even be something like a choreographed dance. So we made a video with the dance instructions for Pressure and put it up on YouTube, so that way people could learn the dance ahead of time and when the time comes can contribute and feel like a part of the show

How does “This is My Hand” differ the most from your previous albums?

I think its really stands out electronically. Its synthesizers meets marching band. I’ve been working with electronic guitars and strings a lot more. This album is definitely the most “plugged in” so to speak. For me as a composer, it’s definitely more like dealing with electricity.

What made you pursue an electronic concept?

So for the record previous to this one, I was in situations where I was playing with classical music a whole lot and doing things like orchestras. I was even in Boulder this last summer playing several of my songs in the Chautauqua Auditorium. For this record I was imagining a situation where, say we were in a club or some outdoor music festival, and a marching band would approach from the back of the audience and give this surround sound experience. When you’re playing in different rooms, it necessitates acoustics. So by nature of simply being outside, you have to treat the sound so differently. I’ve been trying to compose music that best utilizes the place I’m playing in, and electronic music has been an element that fits in really nicely. I use Ableton Live for my performances. I think a lot of people use Ableton for looping, whereas I don’t use it for looping at all. I use it mostly for making my own synthesizers.

I think my favorite track on the new album is “Lover Killer.” Could you explain the story and idea behind the very intense and somewhat disturbing music video? 

The lyrics themes for the record were taken from a book by Daniel Levitin called The World in Six Songs. In that book he talks about the themes throughout human history. One of the ways that music was used was with war. You see these videos of military bands in 100% synchronicity, or you think about a bagpipe player and the way bagpipes were used to scare the enemy. So as I was reading this, I wanted to write a piece about war. Both “I am Not The Bad Guy” and “Lover Killer” were kind of my way of approaching that. Rather than looking at the subject of war as “this is something that other people do,” I wanted to ask myself, well where is that part of every human being that has the capacity to either choose to love, or choose to destroy something.  Whether it’s the destruction of oneself or something else. For me it’s that internal conversation, really about that moment of decision to go to war, or to not. That moment you have to make a life changing decision. There are these moments called “little deaths,” they’re all these very small decisions that you come to before making big decisions. During the video, the people in the water represent this new you, this rebirth. The crow in the video represents the unconscious. It’s the unconscious working its way to where you have that rebirthing moment. Hopefully this helps explain some of the metaphors and depth in the video.  (View the official video for “Lover Killer” here)

Is there a specific track on the album that you tend to connect with the most?

 Hmmm. That’s an interesting question, because it changes. It’s different on a different day. There’s also a difference between a song that I feel like listening to, as opposed to a song that I love to play live. I think the beauty of live performance is that it’s never the same. Whatever you’re thinking about or what the song means to you in that moment is going to change. The challenge or the job of the performer I think is to make it mean something everyday. Instead of looking at it like, well I’m constantly going back to this time capsule of what the song meant to me at the time that I wrote it, I think what’s interesting about living with songs for years is that their meanings are always changing. It’s definitely an interesting process, whether the song continues to grow, or if it is just a time capsule every time.

Alright, here’s some random rapid fire questions for you:

What do you want for Christmas this year? Time to read.

If you could see any deceased music artist who would it be? James Brown

If you were stranded on an island, what three items would you bring? Matches. Water. S.O.S Flare Gun

What is your cocktail of choice? I prefer straight bourbon or scotch

If you had a time machine, which time period would you travel back to? Um, can I travel to the future instead?

It was such a pleasure having the opportunity to chat with Shara, she provided such honest answers and her perspective was refreshing to say the least. If you’re looking for something special to do this week, get your tickets and make your way to the Larimer Lounge on Tuesday,December 2nd.

 

 

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