Heather Nova

All non-Smiths music chat goes here.

Postby Cracked Pleasures » Sat Aug 26, 2006 8:52 pm

I already had sent Jess some songs a while ago, now I already made Rubygirl curious, ... why not a complete topic eh?

HEATHER NOVA was my first brief encounter with alternative music of a bit higher level that the standard radio track. Her poetic lyrics, often containing references to the ocean and containing nature elements as metaphors, mostly deal with emotions: love (both the disappointment and the bliss of it), enstranging from yourself, isolation, depression, joy, stress, ... Her lyrics are nothing political or ideological, but digging deep in the spectrum of human emotions.

Heather Frith (born 1968, Bermuda) comes from a location as idyllic and unique as her songs: Bermuda, a semi-tropical very isolated archipelago halfway America and Europe. She spend her childhood on a boat sailing the Caribbean Sea with her brother and parents. She discovered music listening to the Beatles, The Velvet Underground and such on cassettes on the ship deck. At age 19 she moved to New York where she wanted to dedicate her life to cinema. Whereas her cinema studies did not become a great success, she did write soundtracks for every film she had in mind, and soon enough she was gaining attention for her introvert somewhat complex lyrics and for her 'siren voice' with a very high vocal reach. She gave up cinema and decided to give music an attempt. The four-track EP "These walls" was recorded under her own name (later re-released "The first recording" with her new moniker).

She moved to London where she met Felix Todd, musician and producer. They not only became lovers (and would later marry) but he also was so astonished by her talent that he wanted to produce her music and launch her as a professional singer. "Glow stars" was the result and is in my opinion still one of her best effords: it was the truely alternative 'indie' Heather with very nihilistic dark songs, with very strange dark tones and nature elements (such as distant voices or howling winds) in the songs. The songs were the darkest and most unaccessible music she did to date, but songs such as "Mothertongue", "My Fidelity", "Bare", "Talking to Strangers" and the magical "Frontier" (one of my HN all-time favourites) gained her a very loyal audience in the 'indie scene'.

She got a professional deal and under her moniker Heather Nova (named after her aunt) she started recording her first main release "Oyster". A critics and fan favourite, the sound was still quite alternative and dark, though slightly more accessible than Glow Stars. Still, depressed and hurt feelings were dominating in tracks such as "Island" (about sexual abuse), "Verona" (an almost surreal decor of romantic cities where her dreams slip away however) or "Heal". But there were also hopeful ones such as "Truth and Bone" or the travel anthem "Walk This World" (a personal favourite of mine for obvious reasons, and a fan favourite played at every concert):

I slept beside the winter and the green is growing slow
I watched you find the places hidden by the snow
I tripped into a valey that is blue till you can see
I want you to come and walk this world with me
...
With the light in our eyes it's hard to see
Holding on and on to what we believe
With the light in our eyes it's hard to see
Holding on to what we believe
I want you to come, and walk this world with me


Heather, who is devotely in love with the ocean (due to her youth on a ship) and still returned to Bermuda for many writing sessions, was not taken seriously by all. Her kinda attractive appearance and angel-esque voice gave her a bit of a reputation of a 'doll' who got there by her good looks. True fans know this is far from the truth however, and with Oyster many of the critics swallowed their words.

Follow-up album Siren was a different approach: less dark and alternative, but more rocking and heavier. Key tracks are radio hits "London Rain" and "Heart and Shoulder", the extremely romantic "Winterblue" (see lyrics below), the ballads "What a Feeling" and "Paper Cup" and the anxiety anthem "Ruby Red" (see lyrics below)

Winterblue:
Kiss your lashes, kiss you low
I'm driven to you like the driven snow
There's a place for us to lie
For every lover there's a peace of sky
...
To every life a light that shines
To every heart a beat that's true
Baby you're my yellow summer, baby you're my winterblue
You know that this was meant to be, long ago, a hundred years from now
...
Tossing on an open sea
Love's so good, it's easy to go down...


Ruby Red:
I got a ruby red desire, like a virus, like my last hope
I got a ruby red desire, I gotta hear the redbird sing
I gotta rip this chord and rinse this lazy blood, clear a path and walk away
...
I've been waiting for the sky to fall, I've been worried I could lose it all
I've been waiting for the safety net, tell myself that I'm not ready yet
...
And every memory's a dream, and each uncertainty reminds me why
I saw a kid outside playing by a moongate, making paper things that fly...
...
I've been waiting for the sky to fall, I've been worried I could lose it all
I've been waiting for the safety net, tell myself that I'm not ready yet
I wanna live!!


While Heather became a popular act on rock festivals all over Europe (her following outside of western Europe was smaller) follow-up South was more radio friendly and had some songs almost labelled as pop. Still, there was enough nice songs ("It's only love", "Like lovers do", the very gloomy "Gloomy Sunday" about suicide) and there was one alternative song with the very ocean-referring "Just been born".

While also releasing a poetry album ("The sorrowjoy") and live album "Wonderlust" (a play of words taken from "Wanderlust") she released the acoustic album Storm which was a drastic change: only acoustic songs, all about broken marriages. Heather, who gave birth to her son Sebastian after that tour, had gone through a difficult time relationally but saved her marriage and wrote off her love anxieties on that album. While her audience was growing amongst singer-songwriter fans, the new approach turned down the older fans who prefered the rocking/alternative Heather.

Heather moved back to Bermuda to raise her son there, but still tours Western Europe every year. She released another album called "Redbird".




Those who wish to discover this brilliant performer, I recommend:

albums Glow Stars, Oyster, Siren

songs:
Frontier
My Fidelity
Talking To Strangers
Walk This World
Island
Verona
Truth and Bone
Heal
Heart & Shoulder
What A Feeling
Winterblue
Paper Cup
Ruby Red
Man In The Ocean
Grow Young
Storm
Like Lovers Do
It's Only Love
Just Been Born

also check out her very nice paintings and her poems on http://www.heathernova.com, http://www.heathernova.us, http://www.heathernova.net and http://www.heathernova.de
Keep it flaming your desire, always rising higher - Aim for stars and hit the sky
(Echo & The Bunnymen - Evergreen, 1996)

Capital punishment = murder

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THE PASSION OF LOVERS IS FOR DEATH (Bauhaus, 1983)
Cracked Pleasures
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Postby rubygirl » Tue Aug 29, 2006 8:37 pm

When Walk This World was released, i was captivated immediately - it is one of my favourite songs to this very day. :rolleyes:

Cannot say I've followed Heather's carrer afterwards though - the second time she caught my attention was when I heard her collaboration with French band Escobar - Someone New, it's a beautiful song about love&separation...

And now, because of CP's recommendation (and dedication) I got to hear Ruby Red - and yes, I am liking it more and more, so thanks CP! :P
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Color me red when I'm feeling blue.
rubygirl
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Postby Cracked Pleasures » Tue Aug 29, 2006 9:13 pm

whereabouts did you find the song?

I am surprised an MP3 is out there. It's not one of her best-known songs... I have the albums so I have all songs. Walk This World is a travel anthem and an excellent one :D

If you want more songs in which she describes love in a very poetic intense way: Truth & Bone, Heart & Shoulder, Blood Of Me, Paper Cup, It's Only Love, My Fidelity, Verona.
It's one of her often recurring themes, although she basically does the whole emotional spectrum, her songs are rarely about facts or events, mostly about feelings.
Keep it flaming your desire, always rising higher - Aim for stars and hit the sky
(Echo & The Bunnymen - Evergreen, 1996)

Capital punishment = murder

Image
Image

THE PASSION OF LOVERS IS FOR DEATH (Bauhaus, 1983)
Cracked Pleasures
Smiths Nut!
 
Posts: 1903
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 10:52 am
Location: travelling


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