Photo by Logan White
Origins is a recurring new music feature in which an artist charts the influence of their latest hit single.
After self-releasing her debut album in 2012, LA-via-New York musician Doe Paoro found herself rather emboldened. She took a year off to travel the world before hunkering down to write her sophomore effort, 2015’s After. With a clutch of new material, she reached out to Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon on a whim, and he ended up mixing one of the tracks. From there, she was connected with the band’s Sean Cary, who came onboard to producer the effort alongside BJ Burton (Volcano Choir, Sylvan Esso) at Vernon’s April Base studio. Now, Paoro is prepping her latest LP, and she once again finds herself alongside some big name collaborators.
Coming next year from ANTI-, the new record was produced by Jimmy Hogarth (Amy Winehouse, Sia, James Blunt). Frequent Brian Eno collaborator Leo Abrahams provided guitar work and some ambient textures, helping expand on Paoro’s already sweeping sound. As a taste of what these new associations have done for Paoro’s music, she’s shared her new single “Second Door”.
Intimate vocals and piano slide through the smokiness of synths, like a voice trying to bridge some intangible distance. Paoro delivers a gentle plea for forgiveness with her head low, contrite but hopeful as she sings, “Next time I’ll know/ I’ll help amend/ Let it be so/ Love comes again, and there’s a softening of hearts.” Take a listen below.
Besides working alongside her new colleagues, there were plenty of other influences that led Paoro to pen “Second Door”. From Tibetan Buddhism to Portishead, Paoro lays out the Origins of her new single below.
I have been studying Tibetan Buddhism for a few years, and I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of the “Bardo.” The Bardo is a transitory state, where the soul dwells after death and before entering a new life, within the Tibetan belief system of reincarnation. I feel like I have wandered through many Bardos in this life alone, and certainly when I wrote this song I was in that space of knowing one passage of my life had ended, and waiting for the next one to begin.
The direction of “Second Door” was massively influenced by all the ambient guitar sounds that Leo Abrahams added. Leo is on another level, he just channels something from another world. Putting this song together was sort of a mystical process in a lot of ways.
This song is ultimately about seeking forgiveness. I was aware that I had made a mistake and couldn’t take that back. I wanted a different ending than the one I had co-created.
Portishead — “Roads”:
I thought about “Roads” a lot when we were working on this song. Similar energy — the strength and fragility of it.