North Carolina singer/songwriter Indigo De Souza has shared another preview of one of Paste’s most-anticipated albums of the month. “Real Pain” is the third single from the rising star’s forthcoming Any Shape You Take (Aug. 27, Saddle Creek), following “Kill Me” and “Hold U,” which ranked among our top tracks of June and July, respectively.
“Real Pain” begins in a place of radical acceptance in the face of suffering: “When pain is real, you cannot run,” De Souza sings to open the song, the lyric as devastating as her vocals are delicate. A single electric guitar and a few scattered synth notes expand into enveloping percussion and reverberant distortion while De Souza insists, “I still feel you,” allowing us to wonder whether she’s addressing a person or her pain itself, then sweetly croons, “I don’t believe the way I’ve been / going.” From there, the song is all beautiful breakdown, a symphony of screams set to a pounding, deep drum. You won’t believe the way De Souza brings it all home until you hear it.
“‘Real Pain’ is about facing grief and loss, and having compassion for yourself in that space. It’s about learning to be unafraid of experiencing a full spectrum of emotion, and welcoming the way it teaches you and changes you,” De Souza says of her new song in a statement. “For one of the sections in the song, I put out an invitation for people to anonymously send me voice memos of ‘screams, yells, and anything else.’ I layered the voices on top of one another to embody a kind of collective experience.
“I felt an incredible catharsis hearing their voices stacked with mine,” she continues. “While we live such separate lives, we are connected in the way that we all navigate immense amounts of pain and love and fear in our bodies every day. It can be hard to be a person! It’s okay to acknowledge that sometimes. It’s okay to feel things fully and to allow others space to do the same.”
De Souza will put on a full-band performance Thursday, Aug. 12, at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg, livestreaming via Bowery Presents’ Twitch channel.
Experience “Real Pain” below.