Maria Chiara Argirò’s hypnotic new single “Blossom” was inspired by the beauty and perfection of nature and questions what it means to grow in this world – as a human or plant. Lyrically the song evolved into a fairytale scene. Maria tells, “A girl wakes up in the night, looks out of the window and sees someone she loves leaving, probably for good. She wants to call out and say ‘don’t go’, but the words don’t come out. Instead a little flower drops out of her mouth. The flower represents growing and moving on from something, or a deeper understanding of the situation. The flower comes out instead of the words that are holding you back.”
Maria Chiara Argirò (pronounced ma-REE-ah key-AH-rah r-gee-ROW) marks herself as an exciting new name in electronic, jazz-fusion. After quietly weaving her way around the UK jazz, classical and electronic worlds, the trained pianist (since the age of nine) has now cemented herself as a key player in the capital’s multi-national jazz scene. Maria has released a few solo and collaborative records but her forthcoming album, Forest City feels like the turning of a page as she liberates herself from the structures of jazz.
On Forest City, Maria finds a glistening thread between these movements: where jazz meets Kelly Lee Owens, Jon Hopkins and Radiohead. It’s a concept record, about the “duality of nature and city”, where organic sounds and textures seem to flow above the urban sprawl.
Maria had finished writing the album before the first lockdown but the enforced isolation helped to give the music a sense of urgency, a longing to be immersed in the natural world and the buzz of the city at the same time. The songs always start as something she can play acoustically, that would work without the bells and whistles, and then she layers the atmosphere around them.
Though the album has dark undertones, it’s not all doom and gloom: in her earthy metropolis, a certain optimism glows through. “It’s about being conscious of the world we live in and how careful we need to be,” Maria explains. “At the end of the day, there is hope”.
Forest City was recorded and self-produced between her bedroom and her studio with the precious help of her longtime collaborators and electronic producers, In a Sleeping Mood and mixing engineer Alex Killpartrick. And, crucially, she is singing for the first time, too – her airy, otherworldly vocals on “Blossom” and “Clouds” especially resemble Emiliana Torrini or a singer in a smoky, late-night club, alone under the spotlight on the stage.
Forest City sees its release via Innovative Leisure on May 6th. To pre-order / pre-save the album, go here.
Photo Courtesy: Alexandra Waespi