Photo: Kai MacKnight

Shannon Lay encourages us to trust our instincts on the quietly dazzling “Rare To Wake”

Californian songwriter Shannon Lay has returned with her first new material since her gorgeous 2019 album August. The new song is called “Rare To Wake”, and she, as usual, has plenty of wise words to share both within the song and about it. She says:

“Change is a constant in every aspect of our experience yet sometimes it is difficult to accept. Without change we cannot become who we are meant to be and with change comes the upheaval and transformation of who we were. There is an inevitable discomfort that comes with challenging the environments, roles and identities we embody throughout our lives. Trust that part of yourself that knows you’re on the right track, even when it’s challenging. That trust and love helps to guide and reassure us as we explore new realms.

“Wherever you are in your adventures let this song be a reminder to never be afraid to receive and accept the changes that beckon you to grow and evolve. Allow yourself to awaken and embrace your many destinies. When your heart feels heavy ask yourself what needs to be cleared out. That new found space will be occupied by something better, something brighter, something that lifts you up; make way.”

August found Lay meditating on the fact of her quitting her day job to pursue music full time – a large change, to say the least. “Rare To Wake” feels like her singing back to us from the other side, having followed her passion to greener pastures, and encouraging us to do the same: follow our instincts, be unafraid to grow and move on. It’s not without some hesitation, some notes of regret tinging her pristine harmonies, but “Rare To Wake” is moreover a song of quiet triumph: “have you always been who you are?” she challenges with a glint in her eye. She adorns the outskirts of the song with psychedelic touches of keys and upright bass, elevating her song out of the standard ‘singer-songwriter’ label and into something more expansive – making her words all the more tangible and enlivening.

The video for “Rare To Wake” was directed by Kai MacKnight and can be seen below. Otherwise listen to the song on streaming platforms.

“Rare To Wake” is out via Sub Pop. Hopefully there will be more from Shannon Lay in the near future, for now follow her on Twitter and Instagram.