Lila Drew dives into the depths of her intimate debut EP ‘locket (side one)’ and its tender balance of teenage tension, grace, vulnerability, and cool.
The teenage years are forever marked by tension between two poles: Being old enough to make informed, nuanced, and thoughtful decisions, but still lacking in the sort of life experience that comes through living and time’s passing – hence the cockeyed term “young adult,” which too often feels oxymoronic; a parody of itself. Thankfully, a lot of good can come out of this complex period between youth and full maturity – from revelations to relationships, our teenage years are a time for introspection, exploration, and self-discovery. 18-year-old Lila Drew tenderly balances teenage tension with grace and cool in her intimate debut EP, locket (side one).
A dazzling six-track outpouring of confessional bedroom pop jams, locket (side one) asserts Lila Drew’s individuality and raw strength as both a singer and songwriter.
Hailing from sunny Los Angeles, Drew’s songs fall on a darker side of sound with their hushed tones and slow, heavy vibes. It’s an appropriate backdrop for music made during one of life’s critical junctures – a crossroads fully aware of its own importance and future impact.
Opener “take it back” sets the scene with moody guitars, a powerful pulse, and Drew’s enchanting voice. Hot in the mic, she croons her words with natural finesse, singing as though this is a conversation between her and her diary.
Watch: “take it back” – lila drew
While all of Drew’s songs can in one way or another be connected to the growing pains of late teenagerdom, the beauty and sophistication of her music is such that its messages apply to most stages of life. “take it back” isn’t just about turning eighteen: It’s a cry of insecurity and doubt in the face of the inevitable. The nostalgia oozed out of catchy EP highlight “november” only feels stronger, the more memories one has to look back upon. The raw pain of “hide” and its lament of unreciprocated feelings is equally universal.
Indeed, most of the big “growing pains” our teenage years are so well-known for don’t end with our ascendance into adulthood; rather, we just get better at dealing with each scenario, whether out of necessity or through life experience, etc. Drew herself even recognizes this fact of life, telling Atwood Magazine, “I kind of realized that I don’t need to know everything and there’s time to grow, but those growing pains definitely remain in pertinent ways.” They don’t end; they transform.
But you have to start somewhere, and for Lila Drew, many of these cuts feel fresh. They are the first of many internalizations, philosophical queries, and emotional struggles to come – yet because they are new right now, they bear the weight of the world. Lila Drew transfers that weight into each of her EP’s powerful six songs, emerging as a definitive artist to watch this year and in years to come. Drew’s ability to carefully craft beautiful music that is at once poignant, self-aware, intelligent, and engaging is unmatched by most peers; add to that the sterling depth and hue of her voice, and it’s only a matter of time before Lila Drew is a household name.
Experience the full record out now, and peek inside Lila Drew’s locket (side one) EP with Atwood Magazine as she goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of her soul-shaking debut!
:: Inside locket (side one) ::
take it back
I wrote “take it back” with my long lost British brothers Mac and Phil in this AirBnB they rented when they came out to LA. It was the day before my 18th birthday! We were finishing another song when we decided it would be fun to start a new one, and “take it back” was born quickly from there. Usually I don’t write in character (I typically write in my own voice), but there’s definitely something interesting about writing outside of your own head and body and stepping into a different pair of shoes — “take it back” was one of those for me. I was channeling my insecurities about getting older (I was absolutely terrified to turn 18 for some reason) into a character that is a blend of myself and someone that is super self assured and confident and demanding. Although much of the song is in character (especially the eery bridge that talks about revenge), many aspects of it also hit home for me personally, especially lyrics like “this is all just questioning and your supposed to tell me things, I’m breathing underwater, crazy that I saw you.” Those lines in the track expressed my anxiety related to complete independence and feeling like I have to have all of the answers. Through this song, I kind of realized that I don’t need to know everything and there’s time to grow, but those growing pains definitely remain in pertinent ways.
Aside from the song, I’m also so insanely excited about the video for “take it back” that I did with the amazing people at Weird Life Films! We shot it in Chicago and the video follows this girl that wakes up in an era-less town that has been completely abandoned overnight. She is the only one in the town and is able to find comfort in solitude – I think it’s a really powerful but subtle message that resonates with me and i hope will resonate with others too.
“November” was the second song I’ve released! Mighty Mike and I also created this song, and it’s a true ode to nostalgia and the impact that my childhood memories have on my life. It’s about that true mental freedom that comes with being a young kid and not caring about what people think of you. I’ve always been scared of growing up, and I wanted to talk about the anxiety that comes with getting older. “november” is kind of like a nostalgic daydream. I also made a video for “november” that I really love! In the video, I’m stuck in an old computer and was really inspired by all things y2k. Little fun fact about “November” – there’s a tiny Frank Ocean reference in there, I’ve been waiting for someone to find it!
I love this song. “hide” is so special to me because it truly captures a particular moment in my life that still feels quite vivid and poignant. Lyrically, “hide” is pretty simple – it’s about liking someone who doesn’t like you back. I remember hearing Lorde’s “Liability” a few years ago and being amazed at how she crafted a beautiful song that somehow felt so universal. I think “hide” is kind of that song for me. Everyone has or will experience unrequited love (or unrequited like!), and my way of dealing with it was pretty self deprecating – I tried to make excuses about being too young or that person just not understanding who I am. Creating this song with Mighty Mike over a few month period allowed me to accept those feelings a bit more. “hide” was also the first song where i started experimenting with different kinds of vocal layering. I remember asking Mike if he could play all of my many vocal takes I’d recorded for the end section at one time and he looked at me and just said “no fucking way.” He eventually gave in and played all of the vocals in unison, and we were both absolutely floored – it sounded so perfect. we didn’t edit any of those takes! It felt like magic.
I wrote “nothing” at my first session with Jeff Shum and Keith Askey. Keith is an amazing guitarist and Jeff is an equally amazing producer, and right when I walked in, they played me this guitar lick that I fell in love with. I wrote this free-form lyric section (not sure if it’s a verse or chorus or both) and we started to produce it out a bit. After about an hour, I looked at Jeff and Keith and asked if we could take out everything except that guitar lick and really strip it down. Something about Keith’s guitar felt so right and so raw and I kept going back to it in that session. I basically laid those vocals down and we added a few drums and that was that! the song came super naturally overall. “nothing” is an anti-love, not yet breakup breakup song. It’s super personal and all about my experience with someone who just wasn’t that nice. “nothing” is also more of an interlude than a full song. The length wasn’t intentional, but I was able to get my point across in a little over a minute and didn’t want to add anything else that wasn’t necessary to the song. This was the latest addition to the EP and I’m so happy it made it onto this project.
“seconds” is my favorite song I’ve ever written. I’m not sure why, but the song just feels so organic and has a slightly different meaning every listen. I wrote “seconds” with a producer named Matt Hales in London last summer. I was actually born in London (but moved to LA when I was three years old, sadly losing the accent) and have always felt super connected to the people and the lifestyle in England. Matt and I had a one-day session and wrote “seconds” in a few hours. We started playing random nameless chords on the piano and then chopped them up and moved them around on the computer until we had an order we felt happy with – it was all very free. “seconds” isn’t singular in subject – it talks about the weather affecting my feelings, a reconnection with my early childhood, and my inability to fully capture a place that I really care about. I had dinner with one of my first friends from London the night before I wrote this song, and was really shocked at how quickly we got along even though we hadn’t seen each other in ages. Those relationships are forever. “seconds” is also titled after one of my favorite movies from the 60s that’s about an old man who has surgery to become young again and live a perfect life, only to find out that perfection is fleeting. I really connected with those themes in this song too.
faded/2am – extended
“faded/2am” feat. GoldLink was the first song I ever put out! I’ve never worked on one song like I worked on “faded/2am” – Mighty Mike and I picked every sound and recorded every word so specifically to make sure it was exactly what we wanted. “faded/2am” is an introspective song from an outside perspective. I have always been scared of complete silence, and wrote the first line of the song (“i’m scared of the silence, how it flutters through my room it just feels violent”) on the way to Mike’s studio. The rest of the song kind of flowed from there! GoldLink also brought so much energy to the song that I never could’ve imagined. I am such a genuine fan of his and am still shocked that I had the chance to collaborate with him. On my EP, I’m putting out a special extended version of “faded/2am” that includes my original second verse as well as GoldLink’s verse. I’m really excited for people to hear this version of the song!
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📸 © Miriam Marlene