In 1992, the writer Julia Cameron published The Artist’s Way, a manual for “creative recovery” that advocated for practices like writing freehand morning pages and taking yourself on weekly “artist dates” to museums or other places that spark curiosity. In the years since its publication, the book—which has retained much of its early ’90s self-help aesthetic—has endured as a low-key lodestar for anyone hoping to make creativity a spiritual practice rather than an end goal.
And for the singer-songwriter Chessa Rich, that guidance has been crucial but complicated. Premiering exclusively on the INDY website today, Rich’s new single “Julia” is an upbeat ode to Cameron, hooky and inflected with entrancing synth propulsion, as she croons “Oh Julia, Julia / I’m lost without you” levying the homage with the admission that “I’m already a member of this world / So why have I been trying so hard?” and vowing to be more gentle with herself. (It’s hard to imagine that the name “Julia” has ever been sung in a gauzier, prettier tone.)
“I ended up writing a sort of lullaby to myself, allowing myself to give up a little, to not try so hard for a while,” Rich says. “It was shocking and deeply cathartic to realize that I really needed to just let everything go. A lot of the song hinges on the idea that ‘the painter’s the creation, not the painting;’ that all the output I focus on is, at best, just a by-product of me being present to my life and the world.”
“Julia,” which features Alex Bingham (Hiss Golden Messenger) on bass and synths and Joseph Terrell (Mipso) on background vocals, is the second single off of Rich’s upcoming release Deeper Sleeper, which releases on Sleepy Cat Records on April 7.
You can listen to the first single here and watch the lyric video for “Julia” below.
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