There are some artists who are born to make music. Lydia Luce is such an artist: her mother, a gifted organ and piano player, and her brother, a cellist. Luce’s first instrument was viola, and by age 13 she was performing with her mother’s orchestra. Set to release her debut full-length album, Azalea, on August 17, her music combines her classical training with Americana and folk influences for a collection that feels organic and comfortable in a way that only lifelong talent can create. The album’s second single, “Helen,” premiered with Folk Radio, and is available everywhere today.
Luce worked with Jordan Lehning and Skylar Wilson for the album, which she wrote after she moved from Los Angeles to Nashville. Azalea offers 10 tracks that span everything from loss and heartbreak to new infatuations and all-consuming love – a complete collection of human emotions. The first single, “Sausalito,” provides Luce’s insight into a universal experience: missing a relationship but knowing it wasn’t quite the right time. “Helen” is a love song; an imaginative extension of Harry R. Truman’s story, the eccentric and infamous keeper of the Mt. St. Helens Lodge who refused to leave when the volcano erupted in 1980. “Like You Do” is a quintessential tale of loss, Luce’s voice lilting above all the reasons to not forget someone – a combination of comfortable recollections and what it feels like to be the person remembering them. Title track “Azalea” adds a gritty guitar to the collection, a look at human interactions and ways they can be complicated.
“The record was written after moving from Los Angeles to Nashville. Some of the songs are reflections of my time out west and the unbelievable nature that I miss,” Luce said. “I have spent a lot of time in beautiful places with people that I love and my mind often wanders to those memories and relationships.”
Luce grew up in South Florida, where her mother conducted her own symphony orchestra. For Luce, her instrument of choice was viola; later adding guitar to her set of prodigious talents. By age 13 she was performing with her mother’s orchestra, Ars Flores. She studied at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass., and earned a master’s degree in viola performance from University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
Her first EP, The Tides, landed in 2015. She followed that debut with a finish as finalist in the 2016 Rocky Mountain Folk Fest songwriting competition and hit the road as a fiddle player for Sam Outlaw. In 2017, Luce graced the stages of Merlefest and AmericanaFest, as well touring as an opening artist for singer-songwriter Peter Bradley Adams.