The end of a relationship and a near-death incident are enough to make anyone take a step back. But for singer-songwriter Lizz Wright those two experiences presented a leap forward and paved the road for her new album Freedom & Surrender. The 35-year-old from Hahira, Georgia makes her Concords Records debut on September 4, with an album that finds her ruminating on endings and new beginnings in life and love. Recently she shared her thoughts on the personal process she undertook to find a new personal freedom after surrendering to the unknown.
On how entering her 30s led to a new perspective:
"I hit that period in life where the body and soul team up against you and really want you to make something bigger. There is an odd point that came upon me suddenly where I needed to make something different and contribute to life and community in a different way. I had a relationship that wasn't what I wanted and I didn't know if a family was to be part of my life or not. As a southern woman we often define ourselves by who we are with. But I wanted my life to be built differently. So I moved myself to western North Carolina to the mountains where I could try to figure it out. I am more prolific when I have something to respond to. I get my juice from people and real stories and things that seem common but are amazing. So I changed everything to be rooted in a community and in a place that I love. Writing worked itself out from there."
On how her near death experience when her car 'slid across 300 yards of ice coated mountain curve' changed her perspective on life and love:
"I consider that experience a gift. I was rattled out of my skin at the time but I am thankful for the things I got to rethink. It gave me the opportunity to commit my love to small wonders. All of my commitments are to serving and learning and engaging in life more intimately. I'm not looking to be overloaded with purpose and conviction to do what I need to do. These are some of the gifts of perspective that came with such an experience."
On defining her warrior spirit:
"Making a record and being a touring artist is about cooperation between spirit, craft, emotion and focus. I love talking to other musicians on tour and finding out what we all have to do not just as artists but as business people. A lot of us are investing and trying to use social media. It is such an interesting level of responsibility and engagement on all these levels. I don't know how one can do this without absolute commitment and faith. There is a warrior spirit to it all."
The weekly column, On the "A" w/Souleo, covers the intersection of the arts, culture entertainment and philanthropy in Harlem and beyond and is written by Souleo, founder and president of event/media content production company Souleo Enterprises, LLC.