Do you have some headphones, if yes please go grab them then press play. The way “Far” by Kim Edwards will dance back and forth around your head is absolutely stunning and truly something to behold. Edwards has this fun unique sound that marries synth-pop and something I can’t really put my finger on. This track has this fun sense of playfulness through our and is truly an original with its baroque-meets-new-wave instrumental bridge.
From Kim Edwards: “I wrote this song in a single day (which is pretty rare for me) after a conversation around the kitchen table with my best friend and her sister. We were sharing stories of past relationships and the huge impact they can leave on us (especially if you've been burned) and how they often color future relationships, whether you're conscious of it or not. I think we all want to be open and emotionally available for whenever the right person comes, but sometimes it's really difficult to get past the baggage you carry with you.
After the conversation with my friends, I immediately went home and opened my laptop and began building the track in Logic. At its core, it is a singer/songwriter's lament, but I was really interested in producing a specific vibe. I demo'd the entire thing in a night, but I knew that my producing skills were limited. So I brought it to the brilliant Jared Salte of the band The Royal Foundry (he produced my last single, "When We Were Young"), and he helped polish the track and bring it across the finish line.”
Every January singer/songwriter Kim Edwards begins the new year the same way. She hunkers down for a self-imposed songwriting camp from the confines of her Pennsylvania home and pledges to write one new song every day for a month. It’s a habit she’s been cultivating since 2009 and an exercise that would terrify most songwriters; but Edwards sees the process as a crucial start to her creative year. “It allows me to flush out the creative pipes, so to speak,” she offers, “have a hard reset and force myself to flex that creative muscle and kind of get outside myself.”
While she views the creative recalibration as a personal exercise as much as anything; often, it’s a ritual that bears the fruit of new songs, many of which find their way to full-length projects like her 2009 self-titled EP that introduced Edwards as a pure singer, thoughtful lyricist and accomplished musician. Her Will Hunt/Ken Calderon-produced debut was followed by 2012’s Wanderlust, which entered the iTunes Singer-Songwriter chart at No. 25 and detailed a period in Edwards’ life that found her leading a nomadic existence, making her home among several different states during the album’s creation. Her next LP, Lovers and Loners, caught the attention of high-profile media outlets like Performer Magazine and Huffington Post, among others. A classically-trained pianist, Edwards has earned a spot in the competitive New York Songwriters Circle showcase and has shared her original music on stages supporting respected acts like Jars of Clay, SHIROCK and Zerbin, among others. She’s also opened for The Beach Boys—a pinch-me moment for her 10-year-old self.
Inspired by the quirky, lyrical prowess of modern-day poets like Ingrid Michaelson and Regina Spektor and the pop sensibilities of childhood icons like Billy Joel and The Beach Boys, Edwards’ music feels like a rite of passage. She wistfully reflects not only on the past, but also on the present, dolling out subtle nuggets of wisdom; but mostly allowing listeners to freely interpret her meditations for themselves.
The present currently finds the soft-spoken singer/songwriter adjusting to married life and ruminating on relationships of all shapes and sizes—past, present and future—a thought that sparked her latest single, “Far.” The synth-soaked track wasn’t birthed from a January writing intensive. Instead, it was initially conceived from a conversation around the kitchen table with one of her best friends and her best friend’s sister. “We were talking about different relationships we found ourselves in at one point or another, where I think people can get burned, and it makes it difficult to trust the next person who comes along,” Edwards says of the song that she’s been tinkering with for the past three years. “You really want to be able to be open and honest and emotionally available with future relationships, but it’s so easy to hold on to baggage.”
Once again, Edwards teamed up with producer Jared Salte of alt-pop act The Royal Foundry, who helmed her most recent critically-acclaimed single, “When We Were Young.” Riding a steady wave of ’80s sonics, “Far” doesn’t end in resolve. Instead, it acknowledges the walls we build to protect our fragile hearts and confronts Edwards’ ghosts of relationships past with a haunting chorus that confesses, “I want you close, but I’ll keep you far. I would let you in if I could. Oh I wish I could.”
It’s a mature lyric that could only be penned following a bit of life experience, revealing what many are too afraid to say. Yet, Edwards’ pensive voice finds its confidence between the song’s transparent lines written solely by the singer herself—a practice she much prefers. “I’ve co-written some, but that’s still a fairly new experience for me,” she admits. “I think writing by myself has always been a way for me to process; it’s always been a way for me to just get things out. If something’s really on my heart, it’ll probably eventually find its way into a song, even if nobody ever hears it and it just stays in my little notebook forever.”
Whether a song is meant for the masses or sacredly kept for herself, these days Edwards is writing from a place of newfound confidence and freedom year-round. The hard-working songwriter is giving herself permission to be uniquely who she is—as a writer, a new wife and a human being. “I think I’ve always been pretty honest and pretty true in my writing, but I think I put a lot of undue pressure on myself to create things I thought other people would love. In the end, it just kind of choked my creativity,” she reflects. “I feel a lot freer to make the things I want to make and toss it out into the world and see where it lands. I just want to create music that I’m really proud of.”
Review by Hannah Schneider