rykarda parasolI always said that music was not my life, but because I had a life, I therefore had something to give to it. At the heart of my work are experiences and accounts. Above all, I am a storyteller and one who keenly focuses on line. Distinct line in melody, in drawing, in writing. Comme ca.

True, my stories are often dark. For those who choose to look, they will find there is frequently a message of hope or way of coping. A lesson, a light if you will.

From “Widow in White”:

And so often that it can become the case –
The path you've set upon has suddenly changed.
Where once the trail was so clear and so prime,
The brush now overgrown track troublesome to find.
The limbs entangle - they're hands bound to ensnare;
Yet a beam or two illuminates the wooded walk
I talk of here ...
In lily white light.

Within the dark forest there are often bits of sunbeams breaking through the cracks of tall tree branches. You have to look for them. For listeners, viewers, and readers alike, they have to do their part to see it. A passive audience is a killer.

Entertainers want to please you. Make it easy for you. I understand. Artists want to please their soul. We battle with you. Yet, I want to give you something that engages larger sensation, which is the joy of contemplation. I can’t say that my work is of much good to anyone simply seeking surface pleasure – but seems many people still find the sound alone gratifying enough. I take what I can, though to me, the sound is like pleasures of the flesh, but the words are heart and love. In time, you will grow tired of just external joys and my music offers intimacy.

You probably wanted to know who and what I sound like. What do I look like? What city am I from? Directional points that usually give you an “idea” or category to place it neatly in your brain. I don’t mind telling you, but I do hope you will listen further and conclude my work is more unique and that I am not the sum (nor is my work) of generic ideas and stereotypes. Even your best guess, is still a guess. You must be willing with me, or any artist you discover, to listen a little while longer and move past an impression.

So with that: I’m from San Francisco. I now live in Paris, France. I’m an American born and raised in the tradition of many Americans; which is to say my parent’s came from somewhere else and I knew many cultures and cultural collisions. I felt the wars my parents fled and took on their suffering, so they didn’t have to. I can tell you that roots mean far less to me than to you. History is not tied to land, it is culture. Homes are temporary and not worth fighting over. My people never had a home for long. I had and lost love tragically perhaps a bit too young, but new it well enough to know that had been my truest home. It took four albums to recognize the memory of that love's belief in me is what gives me the greatest sense of being sheltered and embraced and it haunts me. :-)

I describe my work as dark folk rock, murder ballad, with a tinge of vintage 60s and Motown and French Pop. I’ve got a low, gender bending voice, that sometime presents a lithe falsetto, which is the only relic of my once half-hearted opera studies. I’m otherwise self-taught and a primitive. I did however, go to art school as well as a more formal university where I studied creative writing... My style of delivery and songwriting has been compared to Nick Cave and Lou Reed. My voice compared to Nico, Marianne Faithful, PJ and other women who do not sound “girly” – but this usually the description of untrained ears (sorry to say). I’ve also been told my voice sounds a little bit like Jim Morrison’s imagined sister. But of course, why not just listen and find out? … My influences spring from a vast array of poetry and literature. You may recall Christina Rossetti and William Faulkner. My travels often prompt new discoveries and changes within myself. Psychology, exchanges between close people, cultures, languages, also inspire me. I’m often travelling even when still. I hope the stories and songs should tell you that I do just that. And I hope they inspire such reflections within yourself as well. Maybe just to say you are not alone in some way.

Being compared to notable others is nice, but I never wanted to be any of them. I never wanted to be a female version of any man no matter how great he was. The compliments sometimes say a lot more about you, than they do me. They’re insulting to be frank. No man, no other artist, was ever my main inspiration or influence. I never stood outside and waited to shake someone’s hand. Like with love, I only ever wanted to be seen, heard, and accepted by someone else as I truly am. To be chosen because you are similar to another can feel empty. It can break your heart unless you do your best to ignore “The Peanut Crunching Crowd” as Sylvia Plath called it.

Music has always felt like the kind of boyfriend that never loved you back equally. He never gave you a chance and it took you far too long to realize it was a waste of your time. Sure, you had "Moments" that left you clingy to hope, but still, just crumbs that left you hungry. The good news is that I was never married to music and I find the company of writing, illustrating, and dancing (I dance as well) often now more rewarding. Gosh, I think when I wrote An Object of Pleasure I felt truly in-love for the first time in a long time. A narrative book of poetry that incorporates the musical qualities of language with what I hope is a near tactile visual component.

For me, the album art was always essential in telling the story. Each cover symbolizes a general direction or theme. There is more information on the site regarding that. I will just say, I take nearly as much time and care in creating the art as the songs. The style should tell you that each album is interconnected and together, they tell a larger story from beginning to end. “The Color of Destruction” being the last book of the series.

A new series has begun. With a new nom de plume. I will keep you posted. Rykarda Parasol is dead so to speak, but a new version of the same artist is coming at you. Very soon. 

 

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