Allison Russell—of Our Native Daughters and Birds of Chicago—steps into her solo artistry with her forthcoming album, Outside Child, due May 21 via Fantasy Records. Heralding the announcement, the respected multi-instrumentalist shares “Nightflyer,” a soulful ode to motherhood and partnership, with an accompanying video directed by Silvia Grav.
Outside Child sheds light on the depths of a troubled past growing up in Montreal with an abusive white step-father, revealing strength is the healing process of reclaiming her childhood from the perpetrators’ hands at which she suffered. Now settled in her newfound home in Nashville, she called upon members of her artistic family she has found there including Yola, Erin Rae, The McCrary Sisters, Ruth Moody, producer Dan Knobler, Jamie Dick, Joe Pisapia, and her partner JT Nero to layer perspectives to expand the story.
“It was just about making these songs live and breathe in the most honest way,” Russell says. “We were laughing, we were crying. And the communion between musicians, I hope people can hear that on the record. It felt like magic.”
Nightflyer is the first step in this healing process. The chugging instrumentation roots her brazen vocals in a transformation, representing her role as a mother and the feelings of reparation while raising her own child.
When Russell was sixteen, she read The Thunder: Perfect Mind for the first time – it’s an exhortatory poem discovered among the Gnostic manuscripts in the Nag Hammadi library in the 1940’s.
“It has never left me,” she shares. “I’ve been meditating on the nature of resilience, endurance, and grace more deeply since becoming a mother to Ida, seven years ago. I was trying to bridge the divide and embrace shame and my inner divinity equally with this piece. The burden and the balm of our lineages and our history that we all carry. We all come from long lines of survivors. I believe my Ancestors must have been protecting me all along. And now my daughter carries their strength.”
Triumph glistens along poetic lyric lines as Russell uncovers unforeseen strength. Understanding this deeply rooted resilience derives from generations of strife, the artist beams with pride knowing the same strength will continue to build for her daughter and generations to come. In her new music video, Russell’s weilds the hope motherhood delivered to illuminate spaces of her past once marked by trauma and defeat and reclaim them with the steadfast power of love.
Watch the video for “Nightfall” below. Listen to Allison Russell’s debut single here and pre-save Outside Child ahead its of May 21 release.