YC-based, New Zealand-bred rocker Miriam Clancy lays bare her heart in deeply personal new single “Velveteen,” breaking the chains of childhood abuse. The track is featured on her upcoming new album, Black Heart, due out January 20 via Desert Road Records.
Discussing “Velveteen,” Miriam tells of its origin: "This song is like standing starkers in front of everyone you know - and some you don't - and would rather impress than clear the dance floor. I'm feeling all that but doing it anyway. I wrote this song crying into the keys of an old jazz-bar piano in our apartment in Queens, faraway from Aotearoa/New Zealand as I began a reckoning with my childhood abuse, neglect and mis-handling by the local authorities. All while attempting to throw water on the wildfire of justified anger burning in me. It is a tightrope walk, leaning on a mystery shoulder of faith just to tame that hunt for vengeance and to try to find a way through the valley. I had on loop the refrain 'I'm living in splendor, I'm living in velveteen' ...hoping to believe it, fake it til I make it. I wrote this into ‘Velveteen' and my own manifesto that I may have been let down and abandoned but I won't do that, I will break the chain. I might be a human torch blazing an endless raging flame but I will break the chain.”
Regarding the video, Miriam added. "Armed with a huge recently-acquired file from the Wellington Police headquarters - after plummeting a hundred times over I decided to use this triggering trail of tears as an IRL art piece to pull the thorn out of my heart and to lean into the rage which all my life I had been conditioned to believe is undesirable and inappropriate. So 50+ pages of evidence, reports and statements are on a wall, in a railway yard where old train parts are stored and where the wild things are. And on the wall is a hand
drawn map of a house which I drew many years ago for my OG statement to the cops when they asked me to show where some of the assault happened. At odds with the stark industrial Pennsylvanian landscape - the beautiful pink piano is my safe space, my waka - the vessel that carried me, for music has indeed saved me. It gave me a portal of hope, a door to walk through when it all hurt too much. The words on the wall hang large and invade my view of life with its bollocks 'logic', gendered victim-shaming, and overall big man bias. So with my trusty sledgehammer I do what needs to be done for myself, for those after me. Because I am a woman and this is the crossing.
Closing out this heavy write with words written by my lawyer at Shine Aus/NZ to the Independent Police Complaints Authority: 'it is unclear how a minors complaint of such a serious nature could get so botched... the Police owe it to the children who are brave enough to come forward with sexual assault claims to investigate them to the best of their ability'."
Hailed as “a voice to move mountains” & “New Zealand music’s best kept secret” by her homeland’s leading music critics, Clancy amassed rave reviews for her debut and sophomore albums and a stack of stage cred having headlined national tours and supported Wilco, Mark Lanegan and Ron Sexsmith before shifting camp from Aotearoa to New York City. From there Miriam played the hallowed stages of her favorite 70’s songwriters, while gathering further acclaim with her Chris Coady produced album Astronomy. Then a left-field move to the Lehigh Valley in search of space brought forth her 2021 single - “Pennsylvania” - which invites you to get lost and found again in this searing love-letter to Pennsylvania.
From the NYC immersion to the depth of rural PA, Miriam has now found herself with a solid lineup of talented musicians which has resulted in her new record Black Heart - a melodic Gen X explosion of heart, rage and release reminiscent of the great female artists at the fore of 90’s alt music and the era’s definitive sonic aesthetic. The album captures the brilliance of Miriam and her telepathic band featuring Jeremy McDonald, Will Graefe and Mike Riddleberger as they move through intricate clouds of Clannad-esque guitars and vocals, which turn to sparse folk-rock deep cuts twisting into fleeting moments of Roxy Music influenced art-pop, and out again via a grand piano apocalypse. And then there’s Miriam’s angelic voice pulling it all together and tearing it apart with pivotal moments drawn from her indie-folk beginnings.
12/29 – Brooklyn, NY @ Pete’s Candy Store
01/06 – Bethlehem, PA @ Godfrey Daniels