Composer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Kim Anderson released her debut album Yarrow this year. Deriving its namesake from that of a small, delicate flower native to the Northeastern United States, often found growing in wide open fields and abandoned places, the songs of the album evoke images of both wild, expansive spaces in fragile intimate details. Kim has found inspiration in the beauty of overgrown, forgotten urban spaces. Her lyrics and orchestration aim to conjure up richly detailed landscapes and a feeling of exploration, be it a walk through the wilderness or the experience of uncharted territory in one’s own mind and in the complexity of human relationships. She wrote and arranged all songs on the album herself. The album was released on Biophilia Records, a socially and environmentally conscious record label that asks each artist assigned to the label to donate time to volunteer work — it’s written in their contract!
Overall, Anderson’s music walks the line between many genres, incorporating the lyrical intimacy of folk songs with the delicate, detailed instrumental arrangements of chamber music. Raised by jazz musician parents in New York City, she grew up absorbing a diverse blend of musical genres, continuing on to study composition more formally at New England Conservatory in Boston, MA, and later to immerse herself in the world of West African music when she began studying the rhythmic percussion traditions of Ivory Coast and Guinea. She works as a composer/arranger and music teacher, and is a musician for Big Apple Playback Theater and percussionist with the Kotchegna Drum and Dance Company, led by Ivory Coast-based master drummer and dancer Vado Diomande.
Below is a premiere of her live video for the song “White Water.”
“Writing a song about something difficult can often frame it in a new angle for me,” Kim Anderson explains to Goldmine, “and give me some distance from it. ‘White Water’ is a song about invisible struggles within the mind, and how easy it can be for the pendulum to swing toward a very fragile, dark mental state. When your thoughts are your adversaries, sometimes you have to fight your way back to balance.
It was a tremendously hot and humid summer day when we shot this in Philly. Christopher Andrew McDonald, who made this video for us, is also the brilliant engineer behind my debut album, Yarrow. Working with him is always a blast. It was a nice challenge to play a more spare, stripped-down version of the song.”