'Devotion' is more than a collaboration with school-days friend Micachu
The first line of the bio sent over by her record label reads, ‘Tirzah the artist is an idea that’s hard to hold on to.’ It’s a sentence that comes back to me as I listen to her debut album, ‘Devotion’ – a moody, melancholy collection of love songs with a distinctly British RnB flavour. There’s an ethereal, other-worldly energy to it; the musical equivalent of smoke. Thick and dreamy, a beautiful texture that’s not quite solid, drifting into nothing once it’s done. ‘I’ll be thinking of you when you’re gone,’ she sings over a soft electronic instrumental. ‘But what’s keeping me from holding on…’
Tirzah the human is hard to hold on to too. She speaks quietly, in drifting, smoky sentences. It’s difficult to tell whether she’s unassuming or distracted, or maybe just tired. Her daughter was born in November (“I’m knee deep in nappies!”) and Tirzah’s juggling the first months of motherhood with the release of this record, which follows in the wake of gradual recognition due to the success of 2013’s ‘No Dancing’, her 2014 EP ‘No Romance’, and sporadic Internet releases over the past few years. She hasn’t made any music since the baby was born, and she’s not quite sure how she’s going to adjust her working pattern to this seismic life change. “It’s going to challenge me to be more organised,” she laughs, “which is not something I’m really good at.”
Tirzah doesn’t laugh that often over the course of our conversation, which isn’t to say she’s rude. But there’s a hesitancy there. “I’m not the most social person,” she tells me. She’s speaking about her song writing process, really, which mostly takes place over regular catch-ups with her collaborator and childhood friend, the producer Micachu. They meet at one another’s houses and communicate mostly through music. It’s with Mica, Tirzah says, where she feels most able to express herself.
“I sort of feel like it’s more of a band or duo than a collaboration in a way. As in we hang out together as friends, and make music together – it was all one thing. So that became our relationship. So it’s kind of… It feels like a dual project in that sense as well. I’ve done the odd collaboration with other people but hardly any, and it’s a nice thing to do, but I feel most comfortable when I’m working with Mica. And I think that’s what I’m in it for – that’s what I find most enjoyable about it.”