Rhiannon Giddens’ You’re the One will be released August 18 on Nonesuch Records. The album is the GRAMMY, MacArthur and Pulitzer-winning singer, composer, and instrumentalist’s third solo studio album and her first of all original songs; her last solo album was 2017’s critically acclaimed Freedom Highway. This collection of 12 songs written over the course of Giddens’ career bursts with life-affirming energy, drawing from the folk music that she knows so deeply, as well as its pop descendants. The album was produced by Jack Splash (Kendrick Lamar, Solange, Alicia Keys, Valerie June, Tank and the Bangas) and recorded at Criteria Recording Studios in Miami with a band composed of Giddens’s closest musical collaborators from the past decade alongside musicians from Splash’s own Rolodex, topped off with a horn section, making an impressive ten- to twelve-person ensemble.
It was also announced yesterday that Giddens has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music for the opera Omar, which she co-wrote with Michael Abels (Get Out, Nope). Omar, based on the autobiography of an enslaved Muslim man, Omar Ibn Said, who lived in Charleston, SC in the 19th century, made its world premiere last year at Spoleto Festival and has been performed at LA Opera, Boston Lyric Opera and North Carolina Arts, with San Francisco Opera scheduled for this November.
Giddens has also announced the biggest headlining shows of her career, including performances at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville in September, plus the Barbican Centre in London, the Beacon Theatre in New York City, and the Ace Theater in Los Angeles next spring. See below for her full itinerary.
The first single from the album – its title track – is also available today. “You’re the One” was inspired by a moment Giddens had with her son not long after he was born (he's now ten years old, and she has a fourteen-year-old daughter as well).
"Your life has changed forever, and you don't know it until you're in the middle of it and it hits you," Giddens says. "I held his little cheek up to my face, and was just reminded, 'Oh my God, my children—they have every bit of my heart.'" Listen to “You’re the One” here: https://rhiannongiddens.lnk.to/youretheone + https://youtu.be/o7-o13fK4p4
Giddens made You’re the One with some of her closest musical collaborators from the past decade, including her partner, Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, plus multi-instrumentalist Dirk Powell, bassist Jason Sypher, and Congolese guitarist Niwel Tsumbu. The album features electric and upright bass, conga, Cajun and Piano accordions, guitars, a Western string section, and Miami horns, among other instruments, capturing the inclusive spirit that channels through all of her work.
"I hope that people just hear American music," Giddens says. "Blues, jazz, Cajun, country, gospel, and rock—it's all there. I like to be where it meets organically. They're fun songs, and I wanted them to have as much of a chance as they could to reach people who might dig them but don't know anything about what I do. If they're introduced to me through this record, they might go listen to other music I've made and make some new discoveries.”
You’re the One opens with "Too Little, Too Late, Too Bad," an R&B blast (complete with background "shoops" and horns) that takes a titan for inspiration. "I listened to a bunch of Aretha Franklin, and then turned to fellow Aretha-nut Dirk Powell and said, ‘Let’s write a song she might have sung!'" Giddens recalls. Her danceable, vivacious tribute to Franklin's sound is a vocal showcase, spotlighting her soaring high notes and nearly-growling low ones. Another highlight, "If You Don't Know How Sweet It Is," intentionally puts an edgier spin on the sass of Dolly Parton's early work.
One of the album's most powerful moments is "Another Wasted Life," inspired by the tragic story of Kalief Browder, who was incarcerated on Rikers Island for three years without trial. The lone featured guest on the album is Jason Isbell on “Yet to Be,” the story of a Black woman and an Irish man falling in love in America.
As Pitchfork once said, “few artists are so fearless and so ravenous in their exploration”—a journey that has led to NPR naming her one of its 25 Most Influential Women Musicians of the 21st Century and to American Songwriter calling her “one of the most important musical minds currently walking the planet.” Giddens’ previous album They're Calling Me Home won the GRAMMY for Best Folk Album in 2022, making her a two-time winner and eight-time nominee. She also had her PBS’ Great Performances debut with the Nashville Ballet in Black Lucy and the Bard, which she composed and performed the music for with Francesco Turrisi, and released a children's book inspired by a song she wrote for Juneteenth called Build A House. She is also the creative director of the Silkroad Ensemble, is this year’s musical director of the Ojai Festival, created a 10-part video series about the banjo on Wondrium, and is hosting a new series on PBS this summer called My Music. Giddens has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, Elvis Costello and Daniel Lanois, appeared on the Kennedy Center Awards for Joan Baez, and has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, CBS Saturday Morning, and the recent GRAMMY Salute to Paul Simon on CBS.
Pre-order Link: https://rhiannongiddens.lnk.to/youretheone
Lyric Video: https://youtu.be/o7-o13fK4p4
Too Little, Too Late, Too Bad
You’re the One
Yet to Be (feat. Jason Isbell)
Wrong Kind of Right
Another Wasted Life
You Louisiana Man
If You Don’t Know How Sweet It Is
Hen in the Foxhouse
Who Are You Dreaming Of
You Put the Sugar in My Bowl
Way Over Yonder
Good Ol’ Cider
May 11: Union Chapel, London, UK~
May 12: Saint Andrews & Blackfriars Hall at Norfolk & Norwich Festival, Norwich, UK~
May 13: Birmingham Town Hall, Birmingham, England~
May 14: Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden, UK~
May 26: Our Common Nature: An Appalachian Celebration, Knoxville, TN
May 27: Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, TN%
June 8-11: Ojai Festival, Ojai, CA~
July 6: Festival dei Due Mondi, Spoleto, Italy~
July 12: Umbria Jazz, Perugia, Italy~
July 15: Pori Jazz Festival, Pori, FI$
July 17: Wigmore Hall, London, UK$
September 13: University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA^
September 14: The Sheldon, St. Louis, MO^
September 15: Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN^
September 17: Athenaeum Center, Chicago, IL*
September 18: Michigan Theatre, Ann Arbor, MI*
September 19: St. Cecilia Music Center, Grand Rapids, MI^
September 20: Royal Conservatory, Toronto, ON^
September 22: House of Blues, Boston, MA^
September 23: University of Maine, Orono, ME^
September 24: FreshGrass MASS MoCa Festival, North Adams, MA
September 26: Keswick Theater, Philadelphia, PA^
September 27: University of Maryland, College Park, MD^
September 28: Carolina Theater, Greensboro, NC^
September 30: University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington, NC^
October 1: Modlin Center at University of Richmond, Richmond, VA+
October 2: Paramount Theatre, Charlottesville, VA*
November 17: Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, CA@
February 21, 2024: Barbican Centre, London, UK
March 16, 2024: Beacon Theatre, New York, NY
April 25, 2024: Ace Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
~with Francesco Turrisi
$with Christian McBride & Francesco Turrisi
%with Dirk Powell & Justin Robinson
^with Adia Victoria
*with Charly Lowry
+with The Legendary Ingramettes
@Silkroad Ensemble with Rhiannon Giddens