Charlotte Ryan talks to Reb Fountain, one of Aotearoa’s favourite troubadours, about her latest release, Iris.

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The eagerly awaited sequel to last year’s award-winning self-titled album.

Fountain elevates her signature folk-noir sound on Iris, which was written under the cloud of Covid, to envelop songs with more authentic pop sensibilities and anthemic themes than previous releases.

Co-producers Dave Khan and Simon Gooding assisted Fountain in guiding her through a mythical journey of connection and hope, drawing on her life and music experiences and friendships.

Fountain is riding high and gaining more and more recognition for her music. She tells RNZ she can pinpoint the moment things started to change.

“It was over a long period of time but it was still very significant. For me, the passing of my friend Sam Prebble, who I played music with, was this catalyst to learn how to commit to myself in a new way.

“My children are older now and can participate in music and go out and perform, so that’s made a big difference, but releasing ‘Hopeful and Hopeless’ taught me so much and reminded me why I wanted to make music. The self-titled album I released last year was borne out of that.”

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“There was a whole bunch of things that collided to create that opportunity for me, with support.”

The seeds of Iris were formed during lockdown last year when she committed to writing a song a day, sometimes more, in order to “stay sane”.

“Through everything that was going on last year, it felt like there was transformational time happening internally to myself, but also globally on this quite macro scale we were going through something that was really huge on many levels.

“All of that information kind of informed Iris; being isolated, being at home.”

Fountain says that, while she’s a bit of an open book, it can be a vulnerable experience to share her stories through song.

“Like everyone, I feel fragile sometimes, sometimes I feel shame or insecurity and it takes a lot to be strong enough to share that space. The magical space of creating an artwork is that you give yourself fully to it.

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“For me, my job is trying to overcome my ego or doubts so I can put forward something that resonates.”

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