Zee Avi readies up a children’s lullaby record in the United States.
TWO years is a long time to be away from the recording grind. But Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Zee Avi, 28, isn’t too concerned about the lack of studio activity since her sophomore album Ghostbird was released in late 2011. She has been consolidating her Stateside career, while broadening her reach in the music and arts communities there.
In the next few months, a couple of projects look set to inject fresh impetus into the ukelele-toting singer’s year ahead.
Her music resume also gets a new entry as she preps up her first release called Nightlight for Little Monster Records, the V2 Records’ children’s music imprint.
The album, which features nine songs, was produced by (1990s alternative rocker) Kevin Salem and recorded late last year in the small town of Woodstock, New York.
“My children’s lullaby album will be released in May. I cannot wait until Nightlight will do its part in brightening you and your little ones’ hearts,” she wrote on her website.
This upcoming campfire strum of a project is a more spontaneous outing than her folk-pop-inflected self-titled debut album in 2009 and the more diverse follow-up Ghostbird. Both previous albums were released by Brushfire Records in the United States and distributed globally by Universal Music.
The Miri-born, Kuala Lumpur-raised artiste has been shifting home bases between Los Angeles and New York since late 2008.
“Nightlight is really a minimal album. We picked a handful of songs that suited the project and got into the studio,” said Zee in a recent phone interview from Los Angeles, California.
“It was recorded in four days up in Woodstock. The album stirs with a gentle hush. It’s just a ukelele and me on some of the tunes. I’m really proud of it,” she added.
For the Nightlight setlist, Zee thumbed through a list of personal music favourites. Her minimalist version of Velvet Underground’s Who Loves The Sun (the album’s preview track), comes through as a bedtime cuddle as well as a tender tribute to the music legend Lou Reed (Velvet Underground frontman), who died last year.
Nightlight’s dreamtime tracklist also includes Joni Mitchell’s Circle Game, Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry Be Happy, right to The Rainbow Connection (originally performed by Kermit the Frog in The Muppet Movie in 1979), and the traditional lullaby Hush, Little Baby.
“I’ve given Hush, Little Baby an Appalachian twist, while I’ve also got a (studio version) medley of English and Malay lullabies, which was originally featured on my YouTube channel ages ago. My personal favourite is Rainbow Connection, though. I’m excited about it. That one is really special,” she revealed.
Apart from the forthcoming Nightlight album, Zee can currently be heard on KL-based singer-songwriter Aizat Amdan’s We’ll Be Happy, an English duet track from his upcoming album.
Zee’s proper follow-up to the Ghostbird album is also expected later this year, but all she can say now is that “this one is going to be drenched in pop”.
After more than a year away from Malaysia, Zee is due back next week for an appearance at the Ikal Mayang Festival 2014 in Kuala Lumpur.
On the touring front, she is also locking down several Asian tour dates in April, which might include a Kuala Lumpur night out.
> More updates at www.zeeavi.com.