The musician writes songs that are smooth, ghostly, and even a little magical.
“Are you still recording?! Shut up already!” Lydia Ainsworth quotes her roommates jokingly saying in exasperation. Last year, Ainsworth recorded much of her debut EP, Right from Real, in her New York City bedroom. “I would have to make sure that everyone was out of the apartment. A lot of my roommates would get pissed off,” she recalls. Right from Real, now released via Arbutus Records, is getting rave reviews — more than her former roommates can account for.
Ainsworth’s electronic-orchestral-pop is the result of sifting through online sound-banks of orchestral sounds, triggering horn and string section sounds, and finally letting her sweet ghostly vocals shine through. Mostly written from behind the glow of her laptop, the musician’s music is just as powerful as if a 50-piece orchestra were playing her songs.
Appropriately, Ainsworth had spent her days studying film-scoring at McGill University where she wrote music for 50-piece orchestras. Her music reflects the overwhelming sensation of having a room full of musicians play-back the melodies she wrote. “I wrote with sound libraries to recreate that feeling- it’s an amazing feeling to hear your music played by live instruments,” she says.
The process of translating her songs’ power and enchantment to a live setting had Ainsworth, “[practicing the songs] at tiny clubs to about five people just to get a feel for how they sounded in a live setting; I’d work out the kinks,” she explains.
Her music is definitely devoid of kinks. There’s an inimitable quality that accompanies Ainsworth’s songs; a smooth transition of beats and synths playing in and fading out, strong electro beats, and an eerie texture infused in her vocals. Ainsworth has created a masterpiece on all fronts, much like the artists that inspire her.
“I drew a lot of inspiration from this artist named Guido Cagnacci, an Italian baroque painter, who painted these private salon paintings depicting women on the brink of death. Iconic figures like Joan of Arc and Cleopatra. Their gazes were so serene amidst such a terrible and frightening situation. I loved that juxtaposition and I drew from that for my vocal treatment for a lot of the songs.”
The songwriter identifies the unique sensations she is overcome with when experiencing art and reflects this in her performing and mixing of vocal tones and melodies.
“I draw from films, like The Shining. I imagined myself as this little possessed boy for one of the songs called “Malachite”. You can find inspiration anywhere: a conversation with a stranger on a bus, a letting someone has written you,” she adds.
Ainsworth tries to decipher why she holds this ability of finding inspiration in other art forms than music:
“It’s a natural thing for me because of my background in film scoring, or collaborating with other artists. It just feels natural to draw inspiration from a painting or song,” she explains.
The EP is named Right from Real which is a name that represents her belief that, “the impossible is possible, and magic is all around if you only look hard enough,” she explains.
The songwriter’s daily life consists of finding “the magic in the mundane,” she says.
“I’m always searching for a feeling of magic and aliveness, of seeing things a little differently than what I’ve seen before. That’s what I’m chasing when I’m writing music of any kind,” she adds.
There are definitely magical qualities floating around in her music—the song “Holograms” layers clear piano melodies, soft choir voices, and ‘80s-style electro beats that frame the song. Finally, Ainsworth’s soft voice chants “into the garden I find my center–I found peace in dreaming of you and all the things we do,” and it sounds great.
The song “Malachite” dives further into a darker magic. The synths and vocals are even more intense; they vary from being rhythmic and staccato to becoming smooth and fluid. The music video for the song is set in a warehouse and features three b-girls performing a complicated choreography to the music—their fingers adorned with lights flowing with the song’s beats. The music video is just another way for Ainsworth to express her talent for combining art forms together.
On a final note, Ainsworth tells readers to, “come out to Sala on Sept.19– there may or may not be a snake on stage!”
Lydia Ainsworth’s album release is Friday Sept. 19 at La Sala Rossa with TOPS, Moon King, and Homeshake.