Lenka at the recent Jakarta concert. (JP/Jerry Adiguna)
After winning many hearts with her happy-go-lucky, naïve and head-bopping songs, Lenka is ready to get into the dreams of her listeners.
Spreading her fun and child-like music persona across the pop culture landscape and winning accolades with her previous albums, Australian-born singer-songwriter Lenka Kripac is taking a calculated risk with her latest work.
In an interview prior to her concert last week in Jakarta, the 35-year-old said she was not looking to making headlines with her new album, Shadows.
“I’m not looking for some huge success; I don’t want to be the king of the world. This album is not about that,” Lenka told The Jakarta Post. “It’s going to be just about beautiful music and connecting with my fans. I want my songs to enter into their dreams. I don’t know if I ever going to find out if that actually happens, but that’s what I want.”
Shadows, to be released in June, will be a collection of dreamy songs that are meant to be relaxing and soothing, compared to her previous work, which was more upbeat and happy, according to the artist.
Lenka’s new record is a result of her looking deeply at her life and was penned while she was pregnant with her first child.
“I’ve always wanted to make an album like this. I took the opportunity because I just became a mother and I have been making lullabies for my son,” said Lenka, who splits her time between Sydney and New York.
Lenka said that while some of the new songs were lullabies, she also delved deeper into life, death, memories, regret and love.
“Some of these songs are kind of weird. The first single ‘Heart to the Party’, is really a dreamscape, which you might listen to it as you’re falling asleep and the lyrics don’t really make sense,” she said.
Lenka plays a variety of instruments on the album, including keyboards, a Wurlitzner electric piano, a glockenspiel and a vibraphone. She recorded the album in New York, Montreal, Toronto and Sydney.
Since the beginning of her solo career, Lenka has been making waves and riding on them.
After leaving the electronic-ambient band Decoder Ring and then moving to the US, she released self-titled debut album in 2008.
The album’s single “The Show” entered Billboard’s Heatseekers chart at No. 3 and was an international radio hit single. It was used in the 2011 film Moneyball and has also been heard in promotional spots for Old Navy, Coca-Cola, Apple and Crate & Barrel commercials, and TV series Grey’s Anatomy and Ugly Betty.
Not short on radio and TV friendliness, her sophomore album, Two, was more widely licensed after its release in 2011. The title track, “Two”, was used in a GMC commercial in North America , while “Heart Skips a Beat” was tapped for a global Special K commercial.
Lenka’s video for “Everything at Once” was a viral sensation and was featured in a global commercial for Microsoft Windows 8. The attention-stealing single was also top-10 single on iTunes.
Lenka is married to visual artist James Gulliver Hancock. She gave birth to her son Quinn in March last year, which she said has taken her to a new stage in life.
“Having a baby has changed me: Made me grow up a little bit and made things more important. Life became a whole lot richer and a whole lot heavier, a whole lot more special.
“As a song writer you write about your life and whatever you’re going through, so [motherhood] becomes a part of the music. It has to. It’s inevitable,” she said.
Lenka said that after becoming a mother she has to be organized as her child became her top priority.
“In the recording of the album I have to be really organized with my time and do more planning. In the old days I could be [doing] whatever. Now, I have to fit my studio time and my touring time into Quinn’s life,” she said.
Lenka, however, said that she enjoyed the organized life better as a musician.
“I don’t think you really need all that time in a studio. It suits my natural inclination for working to be like that,” she said.
The year 2013 will be a very busy one for Lenka. She will be touring the US, Europe and Asia until late in the year.
What comes after?
“I won’t even be looking into writing until next year, the year after probably. I just want to enjoy my baby and be creative and be a mom at the same time.”