In 2017, following the release of her debut record, So What?, Portland’s Laryssa Birdseye was on top of the world. Sober, in love, and with her dream as a songwriter all coming together, the singer-songwriter felt unstoppable, invincible.
But some things don’t last forever. “It’s the little ways we lie to ourselves that hide the way everything crumbles,” she says. “And everything did kind of crumble. I crumbled.”
The year following the release of Birdseye’s debut brought her feelings of control and freedom to a grinding halt. Love was brought to an end and sobriety was drowned out by months of tears. But as she reflects back on it now, all of that loss was necessary in the end.
“I think sometimes you have to grow down in order to really grow up,” Birdseye says. “I had to have my foundation leveled so I could build myself into a person whose back I unequivocally have. And to figure out how to finally protect myself and love myself.”
So What? was an album that solidified Laryssa Birdseye as one of the most exciting gems in the Portland scene. Among the best of her abilities showcased on the record is her brutal honesty; the vulnerability in her voice and lyricism shines through on its 12 tracks.
Having found the highest highs and lowest lows in the years that followed, Birdseye has seen plenty of life to bring back under the sharp lens of her words and voice. Heartbreak is one of the most potent and relatable topics to examine through song, and as she arrives back in top form, it’s clear that Birdseye’s talent for words and that brutally honest delivery hasn’t wavered.
On her latest offering, “Never Have Children,” Laryssa Birdseye reflects on the broken relationship that sent her into that downward spiral, and eventually into her phoenix rise. It is a heartbreaking yet soulful offering that blends the contemporary pop sensibilities of her last record with a bit of fresh jazz flair. And as expected, her self-reflective lyrics and vocal abilities are never faltering.
As far as a deeper backstory into the track goes, Birdseye wants the song to speak for itself.
“It’s hard to explain it without revealing a lot, and I’ve promised myself that in this project I would try not to explain too much,” she says. “At its core, ‘Never Have Children’ is basically about the bitterness of betrayal, the pain of loss, and the anger you feel towards someone you trusted not to hurt you. It’s a song about betrayal and the grief of losing a future you thought you would have with someone you loved more than anything.”
This latest single provides us with an introduction into a new era of Birdseye. Birdseye’s next album will split into two EP-sized chunks, with part one (dubbed Press Play) sporting a more pop/rock and ballad-driven atmosphere, and part two (Wildfire) diving into new electro-pop territory.
While the sounds of the two halves may vary, the heart behind them is the same. At its core, Birdseye’s two-part opus is a breakup album. But it is a breakup album that explores so much more of the process of heartbreak and healing. For Birdseye, it is cathartic.
“I read a lot of books on grief last year and became familiar with the stages of it. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance,” Birdseye says. “Anyone that grieves knows that you can go through all of the stages in the span of a day, or even half a day. And once you’re at Acceptance, it doesn’t mean you can’t go right back to Depression or Anger. For me, this album is Grief. All of the songs cycle through the stages, and they end at Acceptance. It’s a story of how I chose myself in the end, and how I healed.”