Delacey, like so many of us, has mixed feelings about her hometown.
On “Too Poor to Live in LA”–the somber and sensual penultimate track off her debut LP, Black Coffee–the LA singer-songwriter probes those mixed feelings with achingly beautiful melodies: “Maybe I’m just too poor to live in LA / so why do I stay, why I stay? / It’s killing me, why do I stay in LA?”
Her voice is velvety, but her lyrics are unsparing: “I lost some dreams and love always ends / and now I’m at a party with my fake-ass friends / and maybe I’m just too poor to live in LA / so why do I stay?” The song ends on the same twinkling piano note on which it began.
“I’ve been in this industry for about six years now and it never gets any easier,” Delacey recently told American Songwriter, reflecting on the difficult period of her life that inspired the track. “Living in Los Angeles is a really strange thing for me–I constantly love it and hate it. I wrote ‘Too Poor to Live in LA’ at a low point [in terms of] my experience in the industry.”
Few tracks on Black Coffee are as dark as “Too Poor to Live in LA,” but all 13 numbers share Delacey’s self-assured songwriting and steamy vocals. The record is a lush “dark pop” debut from an artist who’s finally taking center stage after lending her writing chops to the likes of Halsey, Demi Lovato, Zara Larsson, The Chainsmokers, and Anne-Marie.
“It almost feels surreal to me that this album will actually be out in the world,” says Delacey–born Brittany Amaradio–of the LP. “It’s been a long journey. There’s been a lot of ups and downs–good and bad, feeling stuck and growing, being broke and being successful, feeling like I have nothing to offer and now feeling like I have something to say to everyone. I’m extremely blessed and grateful to put this music out.”
In addition to releasing Black Coffee today, Delacey also shares a new visual for the title track.
“The video for ‘Black Coffee’ is by far my favorite video to date of mine,” she says of the visual, which shows her dancing in an oversized white button-down. “We shot it in only two takes and I made it all up on the spot, including the setting and outfit and random dancing. I was super emotional during my performance and I think it shows which is why it works so well for me. I didn’t overthink it.”
According to Delacey, the track itself is about stumbling into a healthy relationship almost by accident.
“I have always been the girl who’s super cynical when It came to relationships and for the most part I usually suck at them,” she says of “Black Coffee.” “You know the saying ‘we accept the love we think we deserve?’ Well I had always been in very toxic relationships. Then I suddenly met and fell in love with this person who was so fucking amazing and healthy for me.”
Another highlight on the album–“Actress”–is built around an arid guitar riff that has a slight western vibe. Delacey’s vocals come in a few seconds after the guitar: “If I want I can cry on demand / or be just as tough as a man / play you like a violin / and you wouldn’t know if I did / I could sing you a song that I wrote / then you’d feel a crunch in your throat / and even if I’m blowing smoke / you’d think that we’re getting close.” (Has willful manipulation ever sounded so dreamy?)
“Sometimes I feel as though I’m ‘acting’ and so good at being ‘on’ that I’m exhausted from it,” Delacey says of the track, which is more about her own restlessness than anything else. “There are times I’m scared I’m a sociopath–I’m only half kidding. I mostly just don’t trust myself not to hurt people and break someone’s heart just because I get restless.”
Black Coffee arrives following three breakout singles–“My Man,” “The Subway Song,” and “Cruel Intentions,” which features G-Eazy. The album was executive produced and co-written by Ido Zmishlany, a close friend of Delacey’s whose credits include Shawn Mendes, Grace VanderWaal, and Imagine Dragons records.
“When I first met Ido two years ago, we just instantly had writing chemistry together, and we’ve kind of been each other’s favorite collaborator ever since,” Delacey said in a 2018 interview of her relationship with the producer. “He’s always been such a believer in me as an artist, and he’s brought out the best in me. I’m super excited about the music we’re making.”
With Black Coffee, that music has finally arrived. It’s a sleek debut from a songwriter whose career as an artist is just getting started.
Black Coffee is out today via HITCO/Delicate Flower.