Lilla Vargen Finds Freedom With A Cappella Rendition of “Cold”

Lilla Vargen felt trapped. An abusive relationship gave rise to psychological anguish, and she even began blaming herself. The path to freedom was a long, winding one, but she soon rediscovered an inner strength to break those bonds. With an a cappella version of her song “Cold,” premiering today on American Songwriter, she further reclaims her happiness and learns to love herself again.

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“People like you, they never change / Are we bound to stay the same,” she sings across a glorious, haunting backdrop. The performance video was filmed inside London’s Brompton Chapel and allows for truly mesmerizing moment. “Is it wrong for me to lie?” she asks of herself.

A choir of voices ebb and flow around her, soon crescendoing into powerful baptismal. “Let me go or let me down / You know that I’d never / Have the guts to kick you out / Relying on someone so cold,” she wails. Her voice penetrates the darkness, and while she can’t change the past, she comes closer to accepting it.

“It was so amazing to sing the song with other people as a collective, and in its purest form ─ a cappella. I used to sing in my school choir, so this felt like a throwback to that,” she writes over email. “It actually made me feel quite emotional to hear them all singing the words I had written, and I really had to up my game as their voices are stunning!”

Against such a backdrop, a venue containing a rich history, “Cold” extends right up into the heavens and feels even more cathartic. She explains how it came to be: “The Cemetery itself is really beautiful to walk around (as weird as that sounds),” she says. “So, one day, I noticed a building at the end, and it was open that day, and once I stood in there and heard the acoustics, I knew I had to record something there.”

The visual envelopes the viewer with the grandeur of both the space and its stunning acoustics, as well as Vargen’s personal transformation. The song “is about realizing that you’re settling for less than you deserve in a relationship,” she says, “and having the courage to confront your partner. I’ve felt at fault in the past, and trapped in a situation that deep down I knew I needed to move away from. This song is me coming to terms with that, and deciding to make positive change.”

The Irish singer-songwriter has more than proved her worth. Over the last few years, Vargen has collected more than 20 million streams on Spotify. Previous releases like “Why Wait” and “Downtown” have netted two and a half million and nearly eight million apiece, respectively. She has also guested on major tours, including with Dermot Kennedy.

Watch “Cold” (a cappella) below.

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