Singer/Songwriter Chessa Rich Releases New Single “Julia"

Article Contributed by Missing Piece Group | Published on Saturday, February 11, 2023

North Carolina-based singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Chessa Rich releases “Julia” from the forthcoming album Deeper Sleeper, out April 7 via Sleepy Cat Records. Featuring Alex Bingham of Hiss Golden Messenger on bass and synths and Joseph Terrell of Mipso on background vocals, “Julia” is a treatise on the creative process, paying homage to the titular Julia Cameron and her 1992 book The Artist’s Way. The song was featured this morning at INDY Week who called it “a gentle journey through morning pages, self-discovery, and what it means to embody a creative practice…hooky and inflected with entrancing synthetic propulsion.” Rich has also announced an album release show on April 29 at the Cat’s Cradle Back Room in Carrboro, NC.

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“So much of my relationship with my ‘artist self’ is informed by Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, so she plays a big role in this song,” Rich shares. “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. 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.”

Featuring soft, jazzy drums, moody bass and a psychedelic synth build, “Julia” traces its influence all the way back to Chessa’s first exposure to her parents’ community jazz band as a child. The new track follows first single “Sleeping is Easier,” which was hailed as “...a breezy, driving dose of Indie rock-infused Americana” by BrooklynVegan and was championed by Glide Magazine who said, it “buzzes with the edgy folk narrative of Sharon Van Etten atop Jenny Lewis’ engaging retro charm.”

Deeper Sleeper is an autobiographical account of Chessa’s experience living with an undiagnosed sleep disorder, with each track reflecting a different aspect of her relationship with sleeping and dreaming. Across the LP’s textured sonic landscapes, Rich finds herself in various states of consciousness. Sleeping but unable to wake up, awake but wanting to be asleep, dreaming but not aware of the pieces that form the whole. Through writing and creating this record, she was able to step outside and reconnect with herself and those closest to her. Deeper Sleeper is that narrative of finally waking up.

Following a 2018 EP produced by Nick Sanborn of Sylvan Esso, Rich recorded Deeper Sleeper at New York’s Milan Hill Studios with Bingham, Terrell, Saman Khoujinian, Jay Hammond and Shane Leonard, who also produced and mixed. Paying homage to its vast array of influences from Fiona Apple and Big Thief to Air and Pavement, Deeper Sleeper refuses to be restrained by the confines of a particular genre. What loops the songs together is Rich’s informed rule-breaking songwriting steeped in a past not only of musical collaboration and performance but of a gentle persistence to discover oneself amidst a vast landscape of others.

Deeper Sleeper Tracklist

1. Paper Heart

2. Julia

3. Wanderer

4. Sleeping is Easier

5. River

6. Dirty Wine Glass

7. Red Sky

8. Vacation (Lonely)

9. Mary