IN the next few months, a couple of projects look set to inject fresh impetus into the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Zee Avi’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 Kevin Salem and recorded late last year in the small town of Woodstock in New York.
“My children’s lullaby album will be released in May. I cannot wait for Nightlight to 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 (2011). 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 has already previewed two tracks online – a minimalist version of Velvet Underground’s Who Loves The Sun (her tribute to the late Lou Reed), and a percussive update of Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry Be Happy.
Nightlight’s dreamtime tracklist also includes Joni Mitchell’s Circle Game, right to The Rainbow Connection (originally performed by Kermit the Frog in The Muppet Movie in 1979), and the traditional lullaby Hush, Little Baby.
“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”. – By Daryl Goh
> More updates at www.zeeavi.com.