Breaking Artist: My Brightest Diamond

Who: Classically trained singer/songwriter Shara Worden, who mixed her love of strings with her downtown New York aesthetic for her second album A Thousand Shark's Teeth.

Sounds Like: Bjork gone minimalist, with a bit of American chamber pop sheen thrown in for good measure. "I listen to probably 98% pop music," explains Worden. "I think that whatever you put in your body is probably what's going to come out more. So for me, my songs are just tunes. The way I see them relating to classical music is that I wanted songs that were drawing more from Debussy and Ravel, songs where there's something that's very impressionistic and about mood and color rather than 'Here comes the chorus!'"

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A Thousand Shark's Teeth was originally conceived as an album consisting only of strings and her voice. She scrapped that idea but built upon what she had recorded to get to the finished product. "At the end of the day, it just sounded like thirty-five minutes of just string music, and I couldn't distinguish the songs," Worden says. "They didn't have the emotional impact that I wanted."

• Worden also wanted to jettison drums for this record, preferring to work with a beat boxer. "I'd thought that because a beat-boxer can imitate a whole drum kit perfectly, you can very easily add a kick snare and high-hat and tom-fills, and then the sound is more compressed. I was hoping that because of that, it would allow the strings to maintain the dynamics. But beat boxing has its own challenges."

A Thousand Shark's Teeth was mixed by Husky Hoskulds, who has also worked with Tom Waits — an inspiration for Worden. "I was referred to Husky before I knew he worked on [Waits'] Alice and Blood Money, which were the records I used a lot for reference," Worden says excitedly. "[Waits] is an idol of mine for so many reasons. He's an amazing songwriter, but he's also a magician who creates art in everything he does.

Hear It Now: My Brightest Diamond's A Thousand Shark's Teeth is out now. Click above for exclusive video of Worden performing "Inside a Boy" live in New York's Tompkins Square Park.

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