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Radio 3's featured artist: Lydia Ainsworth

Louise Burns

In 2014, Toronto artist Lydia Ainsworth released her debut album Right From Real, an eclectic collection of songs that drew on inspiration that varied from Bulgarian folk music to R&B to classical. This year, she will release Darling of the Afterglow, a dynamic showcase of her talents as both a songwriter and producer.

Ainsworth had just put the finishing touches on her new album when she found herself in Los Angeles, with the goal of writing for other artists. After struggling to make it work, she decided to take her newly penned songs back home to Toronto where she reclaimed them for Darling of the Afterglow. Among the songs was the single “Afterglow,” which is an homage to Nuestra Señora Reina de Los Angeles (Queen of the Angels), an art deco statue located in LA’s Echo Park neighborhood.

“She stands tall on the edge of the lake,” said Ainsworth of the statue, via email. “Walking around just after sunset, she gave me the inspiration for the lyrics and melody of the song. It was as if she was singing them to me in a way that brought me a lot of comfort and strength at a time when I needed it.”

The cinematic quality of her music brings light to the fact that she studied film composition at McGill and New York University. Even her melodies posess a visual quality, each carrying a story of their own.

“I have to search deeper and really treat the melody like a puzzle,” she said. “Like it's some kind of archeological quest of uncovering hidden gems, I know it will present itself if I keep digging.”

On Darling of the Afterglow, Ainsworth is an excavator of sound, bending and weaving her voice over intricate production that defies genre, allowing space for the listener to look into her kalaeidoscope world with their own lens.

“For this album I drew inspiration from life experiences, musical experiences, love, among other things, the album is a surreal scrapbook of sorts.”

Darling of the Afterglow is out March 31st on Arbutus Records.

Watch the video for "Afterglow" below.