By: Tricia Callahan
With a sound that is as ambiguous as her name, Lady Lazarus has been met with grand reviews from both NPR and Pitchfork. Melissa Ann Sweat is the lady behind the microphone and she has been cultivating her talent for some time now.
When speaking with Sweat, her stage name instantly draws curiosity. “I chose Lady Lazarus,” Sweat explains, “after [Sylvia] Plath’s poem of the same name—a very dark poem about reoccurring suicide attempts. I chose it, though, for the rising-up action of the poem. The rebirth. The overcoming.” Her name sets the tone for her elegant, spirited, dream-folk album, All My Love In Half Light.
The road for this self-taught pianist has been an exciting one. Sweat, who left the West Coast to live in Savannah, GA for nine months in 2011, accredits that stay to her confidence with her music’s artistry. “Savannah,” she says, “was a gracious and inspiring creative community to settle into. That town truly helped me flourish as an artist, and it was an excellent jumping off point for touring the East Coast and South. There are so many things to say about Savannah, but ultimately, it’s a truly magical and mysterious place.”
When comparing All My Love In Half Light to her 2011 release, Mantic, Sweat says that in her new album, “The vision is a little more honed in. There’s a clear arc and story. The songs are tighter and the production a bit more clear. The vocals more present and up front.”
She self-released All My Love In Half Light and doing so afforded her complete creative control. The eleven tracks open like a fortune cookie, the outside sweet and ethereal, but the message bringing a truly relatable effervescence.
“Wonder Inc.” is a perfect example of just that. A few simple yet captivating chords slowly rise like a wave of wonder and worry, until the tide crashes in with, “So go/Go on your way/It’s how you’ll know/still finding my way back home.” The lyrics of each track sit like a satin fabric over the subdued tones.
Lady Lazarus now lives and gigs in California, and her show just might be a life-changer.