The Los Angeles-based Nedelle Torrisi has been a musician since the day she was born. And while her early years focused on jazz, her career - from her previous solo albums to her work with Cryptacize (her band with Chris Cohen) - has always contained more of a 90s-R&B sensibility. That appreciation is evident on today's "Rich Kid's World" and throughout the forthcoming Only For You.
Only For You was conceived while Nedelle was living in the Bay Area but came to fruition during a somewhat impulsive move to back to Los Angeles. She was in San Francisco for both law school and love - her long-distance boyfriend, also a musician, lived there too. The goal was to study, have her worldview challenged, and try out a different way of living. After a year of this life experiment, she had learned what she did not want, and the one thing she needed to make sense of it all was music. When the relationship ended, she packed a U-Haul and moved back to Los Angeles to "channel a wiser, tougher version of myself into soulful songs that are both hot and sweet."
Once in L.A. the process moved quite rapidly. All of the recordings are based on demos that she made, and the LP finds Torrisi playing keyboards, guitar, and violin, and of course, handling vocal duties. Lyrically, Torrisi was inspired by her favorite poet, Emily Dickinson who she says "distilled sweeping ideas into a potent, direct form." She further explains, "this is what I strive for in terms of lyrics. A song is a three dimensional place which you enter for around three minutes. My goal is that you will see my intention with clarity and immediacy." Looking to another poet she also cites a Francois Villon poem as an influence, describing it as "deep and slightly sarcastic. There is beauty in all of the suffering and it's our job to find it."
There is a sonic thread between Only For You and Torrisi's last release, 2015's Advice From Paradise, but the writing on the new album is intentionally tighter, and the production cleaner. She co-produced the album with Billy Uomo of the band Babes who also played and programmed drums. Jeremy Gara of Arcade Fire lent his skills to Only For You, along with many other talented L.A.-based musicians. "Good Love" was produced by the band Inc., Kenny Gilmore (Ariel Pink) produced "Show Me Your Face" and "Vision of Love." David Greenbaum (Beck) and Gilmore mixed the album.
Beyond her own work, Torrisi has contributed and played with a number of artists and bands whose ranks include Ariel Pink, Dev Hynes and Sufjan Stevens. Her accomplishments extend to being the "Dear Abby"of the indie rock world by way of a column called "Advice from Paradise," where she offers song recommendations to accompany her words of advice to those who write in. In the past The New York Times has said Torrisi has " a guileless voice, an instrument of earnest pleasure and petition," and Stereogum has noted her music has "80s synths that imply carefree pop, but Torrisi's gorgeous, layered vocals add depth that the '80s themselves never achieved."