Election-day all-nighter inspires cathartic, impromptu song

Los Angeles musician Sonia Kreitzer, who records under the name Doe Paoro, was in London on election night in November. She stayed up all night checking her phone for news on the results, and in the morning she headed to the recording studio for a previously booked session.

“It was super strange to be out of the States for that experience,” Paoro said recently by phone. “When I got to the studio, there were all these people who understood, because they just went through Brexit. Actually Liam Gallagher from Oasis was there. It was so weird. We were all talking about it. … Everybody was like, ‘How are you doing?'”

Frankly, she'd been better, and as she prepared to record a song she'd written a year prior, it didn't feel right. “[The song] was about the fallout of a relationship, and I went to sing, and I was like, ‘No,'” she said. “It didn't feel resonant at that point. It felt dated or something in that moment. ... It was one of those crazy things where I was like, ‘I need to re-write this right now,' and it actually came pretty naturally, since I was super sleep-deprived and in that weird state of inspiration. I just wrote a bunch of lyrics on the spot.”

“A thick haze hangs over yesterday/We sleepwalk through a haze — bruised faith,” Paoro sings to open “Fading Into Black,” which she released as a standalone single last month. Soft piano accompanies Paoro's smoky voice in the verses before she unleashes a soulful, full-throated chorus about shaking and breaking an hourglass to turn back time, but finding she can't go back.

It felt good to let anger into her music, which is something Paoro said she didn't do on her 2015 record, the gorgeous and moody After (Anti-). “I honestly feel a little bit self-conscious about it, but in the past, [the music] has been a lot more driven by sadness and that side of the spectrum — regret and self-blaming,” she said. “But with this new consciousness of things that have happened in the last two or three years as I've been working on this [new] record — both on the personal and cultural collective consciousness level — there are a lot of things that I feel angry about. And that feels oddly empowering after feeling sad for so long.”

Paoro recorded After at Justin Vernon of Bon Iver's April Base studio in Wisconsin, and while the album's sonic layers provided a thrilling backdrop to Paoro's words, the arrangements posed challenges onstage.

“Part of touring on After so much was realizing I couldn't replicate all the super-lush, orchestral aspects of it live,” said Paoro, who visits Rumba Cafe with Son Little on Friday, Sept. 22. “I went into this record being like, OK, I want to be able to recreate everything live.”

Paoro described her forthcoming album, which is finished but doesn't have a release date quite yet, as a coming-of-age record.

“We don't talk about coming of age in terms of your 30s. We talk about it in terms of teenage years,” she said. “But I do feel like I've had a second coming of age in my 30s — stepping into my personal power and finding my voice in a clear way.”