There’s just over a week before Brooklyn’s Maia Friedman releases her solo debut, Under The New Light out March 11. Today, we have just dropped her final single, entitled “Sunny Room.” Maia explains to Flood Magazine:
The search for my sunny room - my internal place of peace, comfort and calm - is a daily endeavour, and sometimes feels like a tug-of-war. This song is a wish that the comforting space within one’s self is bright enough to outshine moments of darkness. As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety, I know that these sunny rooms can often be difficult to find, and yet I do my best to renew the search time and time again.
To be in a place that knows your mold / the tighter your hand the less you hold / you’re looking for a way to ease your mind / so you won’t make a mess of your good time
To accompany the track, Maia also made a simple yet stunning live version of the track:
For “Sunny Room,” I wanted to create a video that was intimate, raw and still, says Maia. We drove up to Marlboro, NY the day after an ice storm in early February, and the hills and trees were completely sparkling. You could hear a crystalline sound coming from the icy branches moving with the wind. My dear friend Stephen Spaccarelli was kind enough to let us set up in his studio and his son Mateo helped Philip capture the audio. It was a special and lucky day - very grateful to have been amongst friends in such a beautiful place
As an ode to the shifting landscape of our own lives, Friedman began Under the New Light four years ago, while teaching music and performing in multiple New York bands. “Collaborating gives me the juice,” she says, laughing. In 2018 Friedman was asked to join Dirty Projectors and a heavy schedule of touring followed. She sang and co-wrote the lyrics for the first of their 5 EPs, released last year, most notably for the soothing earworm “Overlord.” Meanwhile, Friedman also formed Coco, which began as a collaborative recording project with Oliver Hill (Dustrider, Pavo Pavo) and Dan Molad (Lucius, Chimney) and they released music anonymously until the announce of their 2021 self-titled debut.
Friedman’s voice lends a unique quality of warm comfort that permeates all her collaborations, but Under the New Light presents her full intention. Her role is that of the wounded healer, one who has gained wisdom through darkness and grief. In her empathetic role, rather than share the details of any struggling, Friedman instead sought to build a cloud of safety for those who might have pain of their own. It’s an antidote to suffering rather than its depiction. The closest she comes to stark personal detail is on standout “Sunny Room”: “To be in a place that knows your mold / The tighter your hand the less you hold / You’re looking for a way to ease your mind / So you won’t make a mess of your good time.”
As with her other projects, Friedman collaborated closely on Under The New Light as a trio with Tom Deis (Pineapple Room Studio) and Peter Lalish, with Dan Molad in a production role. They worked on the album sporadically across the country, in Omaha, New York, and Los Angeles. Friedman had melodies but left it open, with the trio co-writing the swirling harmonies together. The arrangements are less sparse than they feel and even when Friedman’s voice is accompanied by a single guitar, there are swirls of ambience and synthesized sound design building around her.
The album plays like a fulfilled journey, and though Friedman is still somewhere in the middle of her own, on Under the New Light her vision is fully formed. On the bright closer “A Sleep in the Garden,” she nods, for better or worse, toward the future: “I won’t look away / when you show me more.”