Daily Discovery is a feature that highlights a new or recently discovered artist who we’re excited about. See the rest of our Daily Discoveries here.
Los Angeles-based artist Letta's story is intense. He has battled addiction and experienced homelessness and violence during the past 15 years, but in 2015—before I knew anything about his story—I heard an amazing album called Testimony. It was Letta's debut album, released via UK independent label Coyote Records, and it has soundtracked my long journeys and late nights ever since it came out.
Testimony used many of grime's sounds and textures, but presented them through Letta's own unique lens, sometimes including hard hip-hop drums and at other times creating palpable atmosphere by leaving space for his beats to breathe. Now, Letta is back with a new album, Redemption, which is out tomorrow, January 13.
It's another moving and unique record, and Letta flexes his songwriting and production abilities even more this time around. Shot through with sparkling melodies and even the vocals of New York's Fielded on one track, Letta delivers a balance of delicate tracks and harder productions on Redemption. There are collaborations with Ryan Hemsworth (listen here) and Mr. Mitch, but today we're premiering "Everything," a sparkling track that fits alongside the work of Dark0 and MssingNo and perfectly encapsulates the sonic variety to be found on the album.
"I think 'Everything' is about loving someone from afar," Letta explains. "Maybe someone you’ve never met or talked to, but you’re drawn to them, or drawn to the fantasy of them. It looks like they have everything, but you can’t help but think if they really knew you, and knew how you felt, that maybe they would love you too. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain—but it’s definitely based on some real shit."
Redemption is out tomorrow, January 13, on Coyote Records. Buy here.
Having put your debut album as Letta out last year, did you approach this one in a different way or with a different mindset?
I think the mindset was a little different, the first one was a lot sadder I believe. I’ve been really humbled and inspired this year and I’ve seen a lot of places and met so many amazing people. This record is very reflective, especially regarding past experiences and people I knew, like the last one, but it’s coming from a much better place now. Even though the inspirations are kind of sad and dark in place, I know the future is extremely bright.
Grime is obviously an influence on your sound, but there's a lot more going on too. Can you break down who or what most inspired this album?
I think I went through a period writing the album where I just didn’t want to use many drums. I wanted to explore the sonics further and find ways to build energy and momentum without having to rely on percussive rhythms. Everything Different Circles (Mumdance & Logos’ label) have put out was a huge inspiration, the whole ‘weightless’ thing really resonated with me. I listened to a lot of movie scores as well—Nils Frahm’s score for Victoria really moved me and was also a big influence on this record too, I think. I write songs like they’re for scenes from a movie, but in reality they’re just my memories coming to life.