In rhythm and revelation: Lady Midnight explores love and loss

Lady Midnight holds her hands up to her chest and smiles
Lady Midnight, photographed at Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul on Oct. 11.
Jaida Grey Eagle for MPR

If you’re invested in the Minnesota music scene, you’ve probably heard the name Lady Midnight. The singer released her sophomore album, “Pursuit & The Elusive,” in late October. She is also developing an experiential and visual companion piece to the album set to premiere in 2024.  

Between that and performing with fellow Minnesota musician Dessa on the road in the coming weeks, Lady Midnight found time to speak with MPR News arts reporter Jacob Aloi about the stories and emotions that went into “Pursuit & The Elusive.” 

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

Can you just tell me a little bit about what this album is? And what drove you to want to put it out this year? 

This album is a compilation of songs that are very much focused on dance, the genre of dance music. And it really is a story about love [and] addiction and mostly about, I think, finding yourself and sort of the elusive pursuit of finding yourself. And many things that sort of give you a sense of maybe understanding or even questioning. 

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You’ve said that a lot of your music is meant to be healing, for yourself, but also for others. I'm wondering what the process has been like working on these songs, working on this concept. 

When I first started making this album, it was kind of at the height of the pandemic ... I took the time that was necessary to dig deep within myself to come to some revelations, come to some conclusions.

So, this process was very difficult for me, there are moments where I had to put certain songs away just because they got too real. And I think I wasn’t ready to accept certain things that the music was already revealing to me. So, I think that, in the process of making this, I definitely feel changed, I definitely feel healed. I think that it’s important to get music out.  

Lady Midnight wears a white transparent shirt
"In the process of making this, I definitely feel changed, I definitely feel healed." — Lady Midnight.
Jaida Grey Eagle for MPR

Would you mind sharing what one of those songs that was a little bit harder to get out was? 

I was working on “Father, Figure,” that track was one of the earlier ones that I started, I think even in 2020. And, you know, I come from really a single-parent household. My father was a musician, very talented, but also very troubled and had a lot of pain and was an addict. He ended up being murdered, actually, through complications because of his addiction.

And I think that when I was young, I always thought, “Oh, I’m fine, I’m fine,” you know, went to therapy, you know, realize certain things, “I forgive you,” blah, blah, blah. I want to just kind of move on with my life.

But I think that, you know, there are words that you can say, and there are things that can processes [that] you have to go through in order to really feel like you have come, I don't know, to a sense of healing in your body.

And so I was creating this piece. And I think there was still so much that I’d been holding on in my body. So, I remember writing, you know, I would write certain lines, and then I would just end up bawling. And I would just cry and cry. And I go, “Well, I’m on to something.” This is like, obviously, this is working. 

I think often when we hear about an album [that’s] about love and loss, people think like, “oh, like romantic kind of love or loss,” but so much of your story and so much what you've shared is so much beyond that.  

I think so much of how we perceive the world around us are mirrors. You know, people have said, again I’ve done my share therapy and I’m not over yet, you know. But when you’re interested or attracted to something, usually that’s something that you possess yourself or that you’re interested in working on yourself.

And the same thing if somebody annoys you, or if something is bothering you, chances are there’s a root of that within you, that is like a source of shame that you're uncomfortable of, you know, claiming. So, I think that, you know, the more that we can sort of hold love hold difference, be able to like work through discomfort.

I think that that just creates more opportunities for flow for peace for just kind of genuine growth ... I love love, right, don’t get me wrong, but I think that there are deeper definitions of love. And I hope that I touch on that in this album. 

“Pursuit & The Elusive” is available now.  

This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment‘s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.