Today Empress Of (a.k.a. Lorely Rodriguez) has released her debut album titled Me, via Terrible Records / Remote Control Records. Produced, recorded and engineered entirely by Lorely over the course of 2014, the ten-track album plays out like diary entries; musing on the personal, the political, and everything that falls in-between.
The roots of Me start in an empty practice space in Brooklyn, where Lorely spent many nights dancing alone next to a little spinning silver disco ball. “After touring the EP, I realized I wanted to make music that was fun to perform live,” she says. But ultimately the city put her in a less-than-inspired headspace. Her intuitive search for a more introspective and isolated writing experience led her to unexpectedly life-changing and mind-bending solo trip to Valle de Bravo, Mexico. The isolation sent her deep inside her head, to pull out everything she wanted to pour into Me. “Every lyric on the record, I could tell you exactly what I was doing when I wrote it,” Lorely explains, “I wanted to write songs that gave me this feeling of reliving moments in my life.”
“This record is not about Mexico .. it’s about me,” she adds. “It’s very much about my experiences. I learned how to let my voice out through this record. I learned how to record, how to produce. I learned how to write way better songs. I didn’t realize this until i was almost done with it, but it was all about growth, and all about kind of being selfish and taking time for myself to really understand what events in my life have shaped me as a person.”
On tracks, ‘Kitty Kat’ and ‘Water Water,’ Lorely sings candidly on street harassment and water scarcity, but mostly Lorely’s lyrics are more introspective; songs of broken relationships, new ones starting, and ultimately, self-reliance. “I just need myself, need myself, to love myself, to love myself,” which she sings on another album track ‘Need Myself’. If clarity is what she seeks, Lorely has found it in Me: her voice upfront, every word audible and strong. Her singular voice is the centerpiece of Me, her first full-formed vision of an album, following her previously shorter and more abstract releases as Empress Of (2012’s Colorminutes, 2013’s Systems EP).