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A timeless classic: Lotta St Joan revives the Golden Age of Hollywood with cinematic folk-pop anthem
» Once «

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A self-flagellating account of the loneliness of love; the surprise theme behind one of 2024s most uplifting and cinematic folk songs

“Lotta St Joan has pulled off something miraculous here; all the pop sensibilities of the modern era collide as her intimate yet candid glimpse into self-pity and heartache are effortlessly transformed from the humblest of origins into a majestic musical Chimera. Complete with John Barry-inspired strings, passionate Arabian horns and a soaring vocal hook, Lotta conjures up images of vintage Bond and the Golden Age of Hollywood"

Must Be Mad

Lotta St Joan: Once (Single Release): 26th January 2024

Album: Song for the Undecided: 22nd March 2024

Must Be Mad / Kick The Flame Publishing

Berlin, Germany, has become the unexpected epicenter of singer-songwriter talent in Europe over the last couple of years, with the comparatively artist-friendly cost of living and the revival of Berlin’s pre-war and post-Wall art scenes drawing a wealth of international talent to this thriving well of musical activity. Following in the footsteps of South Africa’s Berlin based star Alice Phoebe Lou, the rapidly rising Thala (Rough Trade) and Kick The Flame Publishing comrade ‘CATT,’ it is Germany’s very own Lotta St Joan that has established herself as the name on the tip of the tongue of the Berlin folk and singer-songwriter scene.

 

In the increasingly exciting reimagining of pop music’s most tried and trusted genre that has brought folk-inspired artists such as Angel Olsen, Laura Marling, Sharon van Etten and Hayley Heynderickx to the forefront of subterranean music culture, Lotta St Joan’s latest offering, ‘Once,’ is her boldest step in this evolution yet.

 

A micro-dose of swelling orchestral hymn opens up the song, vanquished as swiftly as it appeared leaving us with a bone-dry acoustic guitar ruminating over a single chord. “I’m waiting for someone to die so I have a reason to be upset” - an opening line that unambiguously disclaims that all is not well in Lotta Land.

“An insanely beautiful voice” (DLF Kultur) 

“Lotta St Joan is very close to the great Joan Baez” (Radio Eins)

“Lotta St Joan offers solace, understanding, and a resounding echo to the depths of one’s emotions.” indierepublik

That brief prelude of lush romanticism in the opening strings lingers, but only subconsciously, through the barren opening verse, and sure enough as her voice shape-shifts from a fledgling songbird to semi-spoken drawl in the closing line of the first verse “It’s a wasted life but I am too tired to change it, someone tell me how am I not too old for this shit” we are lifted high above the dark clouds with her extraordinary voice acrobatically bringing us to an anthemic chorus melody, counterpointed by the return of our dreamy renaissance strings sliding through a new melody as the two intertwine to form a gripping and impossibly addictive chorus hook. 

 

The song briefly brings us back down to earth, before beginning to unfurl a lightly decorated groove between two bass guitars, some light drum work and softly warbling keys, before we are once again caught up in the wave of the chorus and finally allowed to fully embrace the epic climax we’ve all been promised as a searing trumpet solo performed by the renowned Syrian jazz player Milad Khawam weeps into our ears. 

 

Lotta St Joan’s first foray into her immersively folky world came in the form of a self-recorded debut album ‘Hands’ in 2021, but for this second album and the ten exquisite songs it contains, she turned to the eminent Producer and former Universal Music artist Cameron James Laing, founder of Berlin’s musical treasure trove ‘The Famous Gold Watch Studios’(part recording studio and part elaborate labyrinth of speakeasys and film locations); a place once described as “the Brill Building for Berlin” and the creative home of countless Berlin artists.

 

Within this former Stasi compound and munitions factory, ‘Once’ started to mature and demanded the attention of some of Berlin’s finest musicians to help realize the multitude of emotions that weave around this story of loss, longing and regret;  the unbreaking theme of this remarkable song that somehow feels like nostalgic folk, festival closing pop anthem and film soundtrack all in one.

2024 promises exciting times ahead for Lotta St Joan. 'Waltz' - the final single from her sophomore album 'Song for the Undecided' - is released on February 23rd, followed by the album's worldwide release on March 22nd (vinyl/CD/digital). The album launch concert at the stunning Berlin church 'Pfarrkirche Weißensee' on March 23rd will be the first official concert with her newly formed band which features former Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan drummer Tom Osander, her long-term studio bassist Felix Buchner, Irish multi-instrumentalist Conor Cunningham and Israeli guitarist Adar Alfandari.

 

Tours in Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland (in conjunction with all-female supergroup The Sirens) and the UK are set to be announced following the album launch, whilst collaboration with Mighty Oaks' Claudio Donzelli has resulted in the duo recording an EP together which is set for an Autumn release.

 

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