Joy Williams has announced her first solo album post-Civil Wars split, and if its title and first single are hints to the project’s overall theme, it seems the California native is celebrating femininity.
Venus will be released sometime this summer via Sensibility Music/Columbia Records and is actually Williams’ fourth solo album. She released three Christian LPs, along with seven EPs and a greatest hits collection, between 2001 and 2010. The transition from Christian solo artist to Grammy-winning folk duo back to solo artist has opened the floodgates of creative inspiration for the 32-year-old singer. Her reintroduction as a solo artist is the spirited, eclectic “Woman (Oh Mama).”
“The entire song is what it’s like to experience the beauty, the spark and strength of what it is to be inside your skin,” Williams says of “Woman,” which she co-wrote with Matt Morris and Audra Mae. “It’s a song with energy and fire. I wanted to own the complexity and the three dimensional aspect of what it is to be a woman. ‘I am a universe wrapped in skin’… That’s one of my favorite lines from the new album. I’m excited about being a woman. I’m excited to be where I am now, who I am now.”
The tune adds just a hint of reggae to its soulful pop grooves, and sounds notably different from anything in the Civil Wars’ catalog. Still, Williams promises her days with the duo provided musical growth reflected on her new project.
“I wanted to take the best parts of what I learned from being in the Civil Wars and bring it into a new space where I could infuse more of my influences,” she tells USA Today. “I got to blend in Kate Bush, Portishead, Massive Attack and Peter Gabriel. I’ve brought my story with me, not tried to reject it.”
Her return to the airwaves will also be accompanied by a long-awaited return to the stage. Williams has three shows on her spring calendar — her first concerts since late 2012. They are May 6th at London’s Islington Assembly Hall, May 14th at Gramercy Theatre in New York and May 19th at Los Angeles’ El Rey Theatre.