By Mary Pat Abruzzo
Angel Olsen’s voice pushes through the telephone with a warm hello. Catching her at her tour stop in Madison, Wisconsin, in the midst of harsh winter weather, she comments on the universal struggle of looking cute but also layering on jackets to stay warm. Olsen recently released her fourth album, “All Mirrors,” on October 4 and is now sharing her sounds on tour throughout the United States and Europe.
“All Mirrors” is a personal album, diving deep into self-reflection. However, Olsen doesn’t believe the meaning of the album title is all that deep.
“It wasn’t really meant to be this thing that was super intellectual,” she says with a laugh. Out of all the songs on the album, the title track seemed the most encompassing and powerful. “The record is about self-reflection, change and identifying with yourself in a different way.”
Chicago is where Olsen started. Her early work consisted of spare, acoustic songs, but grew increasingly dramatic, making bigger sounds with each album. Now the 32-year-old has become established in the indie-rock scene, releasing her most powerful album yet.
This album was different from previous work as she usually creates albums with a backing band. This album was more difficult and personal, and she worked with collaborators like John Congleton, Jherek Bischoff and Ben Babbitt to create the sounds she imagined. “It was like learning a new language,” Olsen explains.
Humming or playing something on a keyboard to communicate what she wanted, she attempted to create the sounds she envisioned in her mind. For her fourth album she wanted the space to take total creative control.
An acoustic version of her album is set for release. Olsen recorded the acoustic version of “All Mirrors” first, and originally planned to release the albums together.
“I thought it would be more interesting for people to look back at where the song started,” Olsen explains. “It allowed me to have a version of everything in the rawest form, the way I intended it.”
Releasing an acoustic version would also give her a chance to perform her songs solo again. Reflecting on her career, she believes a lot of it was focused on getting bigger and making bigger sounds, possibly neglecting her solo work. She is excited to share this experience with fans on stage.
“With solo performing, I get to relax more into my singing,” Olsen explains.
She can create something bigger with her band.
“It feels really good to be connected to a group of people, find a rhythm with them, and create something big with them and epic with them,” she adds.
From the start, Olsen has connected with fans in a deep and emotional way.
“I think all music can be healing for anyone with mental illness,” she says.
Her lyrics and sounds evoke feelings in people. This is a way she connects with fans and they can connect with her.
“They’re not feeling isolated and I’m not feeling isolated,” she explains. She believes this allows her to create a space of connection and support.
Looking at female artists trying to make it in the music industry, Olsen gives simple words of wisdom: “You have to walk in there like you own the place,” she says with a laugh.
If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will believe in you. She does.
Angel Olsen, The Van Buren, 401 W. Van Buren Street, thevanburenphx.com, 8 p.m. Monday, December 2, $28.50-$32.50.