The GRAMMY-winning Paramore frontperson is stuck at home in Nashville tending to a house full of plants, her bright-eyed dog Alf and the near-weekly release of singles from her debut solo album, Petals For Armor . After concluding a string of tours in support of Paramore's synthpop full-length After Laughter and divorcing her longtime partner, she returned home only to discover it was time to address her struggles with depression and anxiety more formally. The results were passionate and transparent, the type of tracks where raw energy pulses through them, and Williams realized she had unintentionally created a set of songs worth sharing. As an artist who was signed to a major label at age 14 where she established she would only record music with her friends as a proper band, not as a teenage pop star, the idea felt inconceivable—every song she had written for the past 15 years had been released through Paramore, save for one-off collaborations—until she decided to wing it and see what happened. To coincide with the release of Petals For Armor today, Williams spoke with the Recording Academy about learning to trust her body’s intuition, trying to make friends in adulthood and establishing boundaries on social media. But I never felt genuinely angry until I was in my mid-20s and experienced that full-force realization of, "Oh wow, women experience so many horrible things that men thankfully don't have to go through, and we’re just supposed to deal with it, to keep up with everyone else despite having unique setbacks." While listening to this album, I’ve been thinking a lot about artists who sing about their anger or depression, especially in the '90s with Fiona Apple and Alanis Morissette , and how it defined their career almost to the point of redirecting their own narrative. For me, it’s so second nature because I’ve been putting albums out for so long now—you know, this is what I do, this is how I get the full-circle experience of healing and expression— but it has been intense and wonderful to feel that I am basically serving justice for my own self in my own way. The only contributions that I think people would qualify as a feature are the Boygenius song and the guitar player of my favorite band, mewithoutYou, his name’s Mike Weiss, he played on "Creepin'." I get to a breaking point where it either turns into anxiety or some type of jadedness where I need to forget my phone exists and only talk to people I know in real life.
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