Lilly MacPhee instantly provides a comforting, emotional release for the brokenhearted.
The Brighton indie folk singer-songwriter beautifully soothes and relieves grief-stricken souls on her tender, thoughtful latest single, “Waves,” which serves as a heartfelt tribute to her late uncle Ron.
“For me, songwriting is helpful as an outlet. I saw my family going through the grieving process, so I wrote the chorus really quickly and instantly felt better. I wrote that song within a half-hour after I had the idea for it,” said MacPhee, who lost her uncle to COVID-19 in December.
Throughout “Waves,” MacPhee openly shares her personal sorrow amidst a calming, acoustic-centered folk symphony. Somber, glistening guitar, heavenly strings and contemplative piano soar as grief slowly washes over her.
She elegantly sings, “Can we pause this moment/Freeze for a second/Not make any decisions with mixed emotions/As the waters rise, I try to find/A way to breathe/Full speed it hits me.”
“My family just loved it. At one point, we had gone to visit my aunt and cousins. I had a recording of it on my phone, and I had them listen to it. My aunt was so teary, and she said it really explained the grieving process,” MacPhee said.
“Sometimes we need to sit back and really appreciate the small moments, whether it’s having a cup of coffee or going for a drive with someone. Time just goes so fast, and sometimes we forget that. I try to live in the present and not worry too much about the future,” MacPhee said.
As a DIY artist and musician, MacPhee recorded, produced, mixed and mastered “Waves” in her home studio earlier this year. She also released an intimate acoustic video for the track, which features a poignant, memorable live performance.
“That was the first song I recorded and released at home. During the pandemic, I invested in recording equipment and slowly built my own home studio. I thought, ‘I have all this stuff here, so why not give this a go?’” she said.
Somewhere and Paper Notes
MacPhee continues to share a series of emotive, captivating singles since releasing her Notes EP last year. Another scintillating new track includes “Somewhere,” a romantic, acoustic ode to sharing personal thoughts with loved ones.
Immersed in ruminative acoustic strums, she reflects, “Take me back to a year today/And I’ll tell you all the things I never did say/I hold on to regret/Maybe now timing’s right/Isn’t that the funny thing about life/I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”
“‘Somewhere’ is about saying what you’re feeling, so you have no regrets or anything like that. Otherwise, you’ll be somewhere out there if you don’t say what’s on your mind,” said MacPhee, who released an accompanying video for NPR’s 2021 Tiny Desk contest.
MacPhee also reveals a similar heartwarming sentiment on “Paper Notes,” which serves as a reassuring anthem for staying eternally connected to others. It also proves that true love overcomes time, distance and other unexpected challenges.
Backed by vivid, hopeful acoustic strums, MacPhee sings, “You wrap your arms around me/And the silence does the talking/We’ll hold onto this moment, forever/When it’s time for you to go, you know.”
“It’s about being there for somebody and being with your person. It’s also about waiting for them no matter what and no matter how far,” she said.
“My goal as a songwriter is to write something that doesn’t have to be about one specific story or one specific thing. People can listen to a song and have their own story.”
On the Horizon
In addition to “Paper Notes,” MacPhee dropped two other new poignant tracks, the spiritual “Intuition” and the Big Apple-inspired “Fifth Avenue” in September. She’s also working on her upcoming fourth EP, which will drop next year and feature “Waves.”
“All the songs on YouTube, I’m working on those right now. I’ll probably release them as singles or add them to EPs. I’m also going to release a five-song EP, which will come out in February,” MacPhee said.
Outside of her new material, MacPhee composes custom tracks for fans through her “Song For You” business. Interested clients can choose from three song packages to have a new track written and personalized for someone special in their life.
“Weddings and anniversaries are always popular. I did a lot of birthdays in the summertime, and now a lot of holidays are coming up, too,” MacPhee said.
MacPhee also has several live shows lined up for this fall, including an Oct. 16 performance at The Morrie in Royal Oak, an Oct. 23 songwriters round with Aaron Markovitz at Wiltsie’s in Clarkston, and an Oct. 25 set with Yasmin Williams and Eli Winter at Ferndale’s Otus Supply.