Having the capacity to integrate strength and grace in a collection of work is often hard to come by, but Manchester artist Caoilfhionn Rose impeccably infuses both in her latest album Truly, released by Gondwana Records.
With sweeping and lush vocals, Truly’s eleven tracks elevates like an enveloping and hopeful caress considering the tumultuousness of the last year. With tracks like “To Me” and “Fireflies,” Rose meditates on the peaceful and healing qualities of nature and time by painting an aural tapestry of visceral groundedness and light, signaling an imminent promise for the unraveling of our future.
Forced into a period of stillness not only due to the COVID-19 lockdown but also from a stretch of hospitalization in 2019 after going through a bipolar catatonic episode allowed Rose a more meditative space to rest and explore her emotions and creativity once more.
“It took a lot of time to get back to feeling energized again,” she said. “But finishing the album definitely helped with motivating me and giving me some drive and structure again. Even into the lockdown, I was still kind of recovering a bit as we went into that. It’s been a weird few years.”
Since wrapping up her sophomore album and releasing it on April 9, Rose celebrated with a livestream through Rough Trade and has since been writing new material as well as remaining immersed in an online music masters course.
“We couldn’t have an [in person] launch obviously but it still felt quite positive,” she said. “I feel like there must be more people online at the minute and music is really wanted. It’s nice still to release music even when you can’t see people.”
In terms of her work ethic, Rose leans into keeping less of a regimented schedule and instead delves into that inspirational space to create, allowing more freedom and flexibility when it comes to her musical projects.
“I’m just always chipping away at something,” she said. “It’s something I always find exciting. It’s nice to get so involved in creativity. It’s a really positive thing I think to get stuck into.”
Reconciling the past, present and future is a recurring theme that unlimitedly flows from Truly’s lyrics. Combining self reflection with a more meditative stance on appreciation and gratitude for a wider, global perspective is something Rose has shifted towards, reminding herself not to get too stuck on past experiences.
“A lot of the themes that crop up in my music is putting the past behind and moving on, looking into the future,” said Rose. “I’m really keen to not get too absorbed in what’s happened. I just constantly want to keep moving forward. I have quite an optimistic outlook usually. I just want to be happy and get to a good place and be content. That’s something in my music that I’ve started to explore a bit more.”
While Rose has been in lockdown with three generations of her family as well as her partner and bandmate, Rich Williams, there’s an undeniable itch to satisfy the prolonged stasis of live shows and touring.
“It’s been a long haul now,” said Rose. “It’s very long and monotonous but I feel like there is some hope because the vaccine program is going well and things are moving forward, which is really great. I’m just really keen to get into the next chapter and hopefully get back to gigging next year or later this year.”
This interview has been edited for clarity.