Singer/songwriter Lydia Luce takes us track-by-track through her achingly intimate and breathtakingly beautiful third album ‘Florida Girl,’ an album of inner reckoning, vulnerability, and acceptance.
Stream: “Florida Girl” – Lydia Luce
Naming the record ‘Florida Girl’ is my acceptance of where I’m from and not giving a shit. It’s a weird state but it is my hometown.
“Why is it never enough?” singer/songwriter Lydia Luce asks at the top of her third studio album. It’s a rhetorical question – addressed not to us or to anyone around her, but rather, to herself – and the perfect way to open an album about vulnerability, introspection, self-love, and self-acceptance. Lydia Luce isn’t just the artist behind Florida Girl; she is the Florida Girl, ready to open her heart, spill her soul, tell her stories, and share her songs.
Why is it never enough?
I see a vision through my hands
I make it perfect through
the heat waves and the sand
It’s always just out of my grasp
Forever floating on a lake made of glass
Why is it never enough?
Why is it never enough?
To hold, to breathe
To see the good in front of me
Released October 27, 2023 via Nettwerk Music Group, Florida Girl is Lydia Luce’s achingly intimate, breathtakingly beautiful upheaval: A visceral, raw reckoning brought to life through an immersive soundtrack full of hair-raising indie folk, smoldering soft rock, soaring psychedelia, and more. The harmonies are rich and the melodies enchanting – and at the heart of this record lies an artist coming into full view of herself.
“For me Florida Girl is about true acceptance,” Luce tells Atwood Magazine from her home in Nashville, Tennessee. “Acceptance of my present self and my past self, of life and death, of my emotions both the good and bad. My 30s so far, have come with a ton of reflection. There were so many things I avoided in my 20s and I did that through abusing drugs and alcohol and with eating disorders. I no longer want to numb anything away. Instead, I want to put in the work, even when it is uncomfortable and be where I’m at. I grew up in South Florida and have always hated telling people that. The “Florida man” headlines, politics and general negativity that comes with talking about Florida. Naming the record ‘Florida Girl’ is my acceptance of where I’m from and not giving a shit. It’s a weird state but it is my hometown.”
“I wrote these songs during the pandemic while I had a lot of time to reflect and work on accepting all of the different parts of myself. I wanted to explore a new sound with this record and enlisted two of my dear friends, Anthony da Costa and Aaron Steele to help me get there.”
“Creating this project with them was a beautiful and new experience for me. Usually I spend a week pre-production and have a clear plan laid out for a project but each day we stepped into the studio we let intuition lead the way. They are incredible musicians and we had a lot of trust in each other through this process. I’m so grateful for this experience.
Active since 2015, Lydia Luce has always had a dreamy, self-reflective streak (see her first two albums, 2018’s Azalea and 2021’s Dark River, for reference), but Florida Girl presents her at her most unfiltered and unabridged.
“Florida Girl feels more explorative of a project,” she says. “The record includes recordings of me scuba diving. You can hear me breathing underwater in between a few of the songs. I’ve also never recorded any of my poetry on a record. Anthony and Aaron encouraged me to create and record the ‘Florida Girl’ poem.
In the mangrove trees
the upside down jellyfish lay on the floor
Pulsating in a neon glow
The barracuda glides on top of the brackish water
Where the Florida salt water meets the fresh
This oasis exists on the canal by my home
I lower my canoe down the dock onto the intercostal way
Where the winds can carry you right out to sea
Take a left but veer right to avoid
The tugboats and water taxis that share the path
Another right past the old folks home
Where the sunbathers leathered and bronze sit and gab
About the clouds blocking the rays
A little further under the canopies the only chatter
Comes from the parrots and the fiddler crabs
Sinking by the hundred into their homes as I pass by
I’m alone but not alone surrounded by sentient beings
Clustered in groups of their likeness
The schools of needle nose fish and the flocks of parrots
The juvenile butterfly fish paired off for life
Even the barnacles band together
Holding tightly to the hull of my canoe
I am on my own but I am never alone
– “Florida Poem,” Lydia Luce
To me this record shows this current chapter of my musical interests and my personal growth. I am continuously changing and growing, so of course my music will reflect those changes.
Luce describes Florida Girl as colorful, ambient, and orange. The album’s name is in homage to its autobiographical and vulnerable nature.
“I chose to name the record after the title track ‘Florida Girl,’ which represents home for me. It also represents my past and present self. I have done a lot of work on accepting my past and present self.
Whether she’s asserting that she is “here to stay” (as she does in “Saline”), declaring herself “not a face, not a figure… but a witness” (“Face and Figure”), or reflecting on how disconnected she feels from her roots – both the people and places of a past life (“Florida Girl”), Luce floods every moment with soothing, dulcet warmth and sweet, soul-stirring vulnerability.
Layers of emotional depth emerge not just through Luce’s words and how she sings them, but through the colors and contrasts, instruments and effects she and her team employed to make this album simultaneously cinematic and intimate, in-your-face and ethereal. From the stunning standout album opener “Never Enough” and the hushed “Your Garden,” to the smoldering seduction of “(h)our glass,” the unapologetic catharsis of “Florida Girl,” the buoyant beat and passionate glow of “Saline,” and the enchanting closure of “Minute Too Soon,” Florida Girl is a marvel to behold: Truly, it is its own singular, spellbinding wonderland.
“‘Never Enough’ is my favorite song on the record, and I usually don’t have favorites,” Luce smiles. “It is such a vibe, and it was so much fun recording this song with Aaron and Anthony.” ¬As for her top lyrics? “I love the chorus of ‘Face and Figure’: ‘I’m not a face, I’m not a figure, I’m not a number or a sign, I’m not a name, I’m not a mind. I am a witness.”
Florida Girl – both Lydia Luce, and her album – is ready to be your comforting companion.
“I want this record to be an invitation for self-acceptance and hope that by being vulnerable it allows other to feel safe to be vulnerable,” Luce shares. “Each time I release a project I begin feeling the itch to create the next one. As the songs come out, I’m shedding layer after layer and I’m beginning to feel ready to reveal what’s underneath.”
Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Lydia Luce’s Florida Girl with Atwood Magazine as she takes us track-by-track through the music and lyrics of her third studio album!
Florida Girl is out now via Nettwerk Music Group.
Stream: ‘Florida Girl’ – Lydia Luce
:: Inside Florida Girl ::
This song was written with Raymond Joseph. I’m always thinking about tomorrow and of what I want or need that will surely make me happy. If I get to sell out this show or if I get xyz then I’ll be happy and I’m getting in my way of my own happiness. The second verse refers to the feeling of a mushroom trip. When I’m tripping I’m always reminded that I don’t need anything and nothing really matters. Everything is happening exactly as it’s supposed to.
The Other Side
Raymond Joseph texted me one day and said do you want to write a song about death? It was in the middle of the pandemic when it was weighing heavily on all our minds. I grew up in a religious family that believed in heaven and hell. I personally no longer believe that’s where I’m going after this but I truly have no idea. No one really knows and I think for now I’m ok with not knowing. I don’t want to focus on the afterlife. I’d rather just focus on this part and try to be present. That seems to be hard enough as it is.
Your Garden is about finally feeling free from attachment to a past relationship. It took me years to finally be free from the thoughts of them and one day I realized that because I had changed I no longer longed for the same things or people that I had in the past.
Written with Raymond Joseph this song is about trying to stay in the present moment. It’s about trying to let go of the past and of any future expectations. It’s also about working to stay with our present emotions whether they are good or bad. Letting the emotions come and go without becoming attached to them.
For me, “Saline” is a song about the power of supportive friendships. I wrote this song with Hank Compton a few years ago and it has shifted its meaning for me over time. I have found myself surrounded by powerful women who I feel truly supported by. This song reflects the mutual support of these friendships. It’s a promise to a friend that I am here for you. I will be here to hold you. The songs says, “I am here to stay, I am here.”
Strong women lift each other up. We honor each others differences and create safe places for vulnerability. This year has been challenging for me. I discovered that I had several over playing injuries that left me in severe physical pain and very depressed. I looked up and there was my community holding me, asking me how they could help and what I needed from them.
“Florida Girl” is about my best friend from childhood. We had a falling out when we went to college and moved on with our lives. I was selfish and took that relationship for granted. I thought about her all the time. The week after recording this song she reached out and we reconnected in Nashville. This song is about my memories of her and of home.
Face and Figure
This song was written with Raymond Joseph. For me this song is about being self-critical and is a reminder to myself that I am more than my age, looks, identity, size, or occupation. I am a soul and a witness to the beauty in life. This song is about true self-love and acceptance.
A Minute Too Soon
This song is about comparing myself to others. In the song this imaginary person, or possibly future me, is reminding me that everything happens when it is supposed to happen. Nothing comes a minute too soon.. If it didn’t come today I wasn’t ready for it.
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© Zachary Gary
:: Stream Lydia Luce ::