Misty Boyce - Get Lost
Misty Boyce’s forthcoming third LP, Get Lost, is a dark, slow-burning, yet subtly hopeful indie-pop record. It finds the Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist wrestling valiantly with tragedy and loss, death, drugs and religion, isolation, depression and the emptiness of fame.
A sought-after keyboardist, Boyce performed with Sara Bareilles in support of her Grammy-nominated album, The Blessed Unrest, and opened sold-out shows for Bareilles across New Zealand, Japan and Singapore. Boyce has also backed Sting and Ingrid Michaelson and, most recently, toured with BØRNS, sharing bills with Mumford and Sons and The Lumineers, and performing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
But in the midst of all this globetrotting success, and her burgeoning career as a solo artist, Boyce was sent reeling by the loss of two family members—first, her step-brother to an opiate overdose and, just a year later, her step-father to suicide. Struggling to cope with their deaths, the songs she’d been working on began to shift focus. Soon, she was taking a shot into the void, trying desperately, through music, to find some sense of meaning and connection in the pain.
“Sometimes, I write to get the things I don’t want to feel out,” Boyce says. “And then maybe somebody else hears it and feels the same way, and it makes us both feel less alone. I get very frustrated with how disconnected we all are from each other, and how we’ll use whatever we can get our hands on to other people, whether it’s religion or our phones or what you like on Pinterest—anything to make us feel right and prove other people wrong. And then we don’t have to listen anymore. We can just tune out and focus on our own self-obsessed worlds. Nobody’s listening. It’s a scary thing.”
“Get the fuck off of your phone,” Boyce pleads on the outro of Get Lost’s title track, its chilling organ stabs pulsing into the night over a hypnotic backbeat. “Sometimes when I hear that lyric, I start to cry,” she says. “Because I want it so badly. I want to get off my phone. I want other people to get off their phone. I want us all to stop judging each other by how our life looks on social media. I don’t want to be held to the impossible standards we put on ourselves.”
The stark reality of it all started to weigh heavily on Boyce while she was on tour with BØRNS, in the thick of what—to most—seemed like the blissful realization of a rock & roll dream. “I had this perfect looking life,” Boyce says. “I was the fittest I’d ever been, wearing all these really expensive, cool clothes we got dressed in to be in a really cool, expensive fashion-model kind of band. And everybody I know was like, ‘Oh my god, you look so happy!’ but I felt like I was dying inside. I was being patted on the back for the thing that was killing me, which is a really confusing message to get. I think making Get Lost was my way of trying to do something about it.”
Co-produced by Boyce with Americana artist Lera Lynn (Rolling Stone, NPR, True Detective) and musician/engineer Joshua Grange (Stephen Malkmus, Conor Oberst, Rachael Yamagata), the sessions for Get Lost offered Boyce some much-needed healing. She and Lynn were up at 8 a.m. every day, hitting the elliptical at the YMCA in Nashville, bantering back and forth about their lives and records they love in preparation for hitting the studio. And in between recording, they’d whip up big breakfasts and elaborate dinners. Already close friends, their bond was strengthened working on the record.
“I wanted to make this album with someone I felt really comfortable with, and I wanted to work with a woman producer,” Boyce says. “Lera and I really trust each other’s tastes, and we made each other laugh a lot, which is an important thing. But she’s also direct and honest. She pushed me in all the ways I wanted to be pushed. We respect the hell out of each other, and our strengths were different enough to make things really work.”
Now that Get Lost (out Feb. 16th) is finished, Boyce hopes it’ll foster an environment where people can more directly discuss drug addiction, depression and suicide without the stigma. And that her songs will help people going through similar experiences feel better instead of worse. “That’s what music did for me when I was an adolescent,” Boyce says. “In my teenage pain, I’d lie on the floor and light candles and listen to Radiohead for hours, and it just made everything feel ok.
“We’re all afraid of pain and loss and getting lost,” she continues. “But those things are actually what bring us to the truth. We shouldn’t be afraid of pain—the right kind of pain can be healing. We shouldn’t be afraid of loss because in loss you learn to be grateful for what is. We shouldn’t be afraid of failing because in failure you learn what’s really important to you. None of this is easy. But nothing ever is. It’s better to experience the things you’re afraid of so you can be free. You can’t run from your demons, so you might as well just sit down and have a cup of tea with them.”
I have 30 minutes for the sock indentations around my ankles to go away before showtime @thehotelcafe.