Alysia Kraft’s debut album First Light is a carefully crafted montage of life’s most brilliant and mundane moments. Out June 17, Kraft brings quiet introspection, vivid imagery and evocative lyricism to paint the picture of her life so far. Capturing these moments with dreamy indie-pop instrumentation, the record shares everything from finding love to almost losing life and the wondrous occasions in between.
The album came about during quarantine in 2020. Kraft recalls creating art at the break of dawn, or better put, the First Light of the morning. “By the time dawn was pouring colors onto her palette, I was mixing them in mine – trying to stay in touch with the joy of being alive by writing, recalling, making demos,” she says.
This free-flowing creativity seems to inform the feel of the record as she creates the essence of billowing in the wind, romanticizing reflective moments and flickering through life’s highlights with candid ease. “I wrote from the big moments of my life,” she explains. “The first time I kissed a girl and felt like my body could not contain the magic and life and electricity within me. The first time I celebrated a full year sober and realized I was free to be a new person if I really wanted to be. The wild, uninhibited joy of my first tours, intoxicated by travel and connection and possibility and dizzied by the distance from my family.”
Finding inspiration in the nature around her, Kraft adds that “in the midst of conjuring these events from the past, 2020 shed few quiet moments of new understanding – personified and almost always delivered by the Wyoming landscape that raised me.”
Drawing from her life might make the record seem narrow, but in fact, it’s Kraft’s brilliant storytelling which invites listeners to find similarities in their own lives and reflect on them just as deeply. Tracks like “Small Town Lights” share a coming-of-age story with a 17-year-old Kraft experiencing the thrill of teenagedom. Then there’s “Hamilton Pool,” a deeply romantic and authentic recounting of the first time Kraft met her true love. “Little River,” tells the story of the day in which the singer-songwriter almost drowned and how she’s moved forward from the fear. Perhaps the most thoughtful and inner-directed track on the album comes in the form of “The Answers.” As she sings, the image of Kraft writing music in the light of the morning isn’t hard to picture. Vacant lots, empty storefronts, psychic window panes, the sound of silence ignites. It’s a lonesome good night,” she sings, adding, “A bird doesn’t sing because it’s got the answer. A bird sings because it’s got a song.” In this way, First Light is not only the story of Kraft’s life but the story of the human experience.