“It’s a part of [my forthcoming] Staring At Ceilings EP and ties everything together,” Raphael tells American Songwriter over email. “The EP focuses on being consumed by anxiety and this is paralleled by the notion of feeling like you’re underwater. ‘Mild Sanity’ within the context of the EP falls right in the middle where you have a moment of clarity and a sort of hope you can get out of this and find yourself back at shore metaphorically speaking.”
In “Mild Sanity,” Raphael and Juletta’s tranquil melodies flow over electronic and acoustic instrumentation. The track culminates with an atmospheric, jazzy outro. “I want people to be more entranced than take away something from the song,” says Raphael. “It’s an escape from anxiety; an antidote.”
Raphael credits Spotify with putting Juletta on his radar in the first place. “I came across one of her songs on Discover Weekly and was immediately hooked,” he recalls. “I reached out and found out she also had one of my songs in her library for a minute, so it was really a moment of genuine love for each other’s work.”
Neither Raphael nor Juletta—the moniker of New York singer-songwriter Madeline DeWalt—are strangers to collaboration. For Raphael, “Mild Sanity” comes after “Perfect Place 2 Be” with Kashmir Winter and wordsbyjuni. Both artists appeared on Raphael’s 2019 album Will You Think of Me Later?, which also included contributions from Madson., Saffron, and Claire Ridgely. For Juletta, “Mild Sanity” comes on the heels of If I Never Hit Land, her debut album with fellow New York artist Ishan.
“Mild Sanity”—Raphael’s first release on Dine Alone Records—also arrives with a grainy, autumnal visual that shows Raphael walking through a forest as the leaves turn. The Montreal-based musician recorded the song in his bedroom and “around the house.” He writes his best when he “[feels] moved by someone/something or go through something that’s uncomfortable.”
Raphael cites John Mayer and Ben Howard as the songwriters he most admires. His favorite lyric—“Oh I will become what I deserve”—comes from “The Fear,” which appeared on Howard’s 2011 debut album, Every Kingdom.
Asked about his ambitions, Raphael says he hopes “To help people, to heal people.”
“I find myself making art organically almost to quiet the voices in my head,” he adds. “I feel that the music I make helps people feel the same: a sort of calmness amidst the chaos.” You can feel that calmness in “Mild Sanity,” below.
“Mild Sanity” is out now via Dine Alone Records.