Peruvian American composer, performer, and vocalist Briana Marela announces the upcoming release of her new album, You Are a Wave, out September 9. The Oakland based musician also shares her new single “Uncertainty and the Unknown.” The first introduction to her upcoming LP, the new song is accompanied by a beautifully sentimental music video.
“Uncertainty and the Unknown” is sparse and echoey. It crackles with bubbling emotions wrapped in a thick layer of nostalgic haze. With a melody that unwinds slowly like a music box, Marela captures the pain and confusion of losing her father in April, 2020.
Because her father passed away during the pandemic, Marela and her family were unable to visit for over a year, separated by closed borders, and it took two trips over the course of 19 months to transfer and bury his body and find any closure in the wake of his death. The pain of this experience is embedded into her new single and sprinkled throughout her upcoming album in poetic, bittersweet moments. The death of her father also inspired the music video for “Uncertainty and the Unknown,” an edited collection of family home videos from when Marela was a child.
“The lyrics to “Uncertainty and the Unknown” were written a week after finding out about my father’s death. This song and video are dedicated to my father, Juan,” says Marela. “The video features my family home videos from the 1990s digitized off of VHS and Hi8 tapes. The lyrics and video are deeply personal and very vulnerable. There is a lot of cute and funny footage of me as a child, mostly filmed by my Uncle Dave, who passed away in 2010, who was like a second father to me. I am comforted by his watchful eye and presence [through his] filming these videos, and these memories of me with my dad and my family.”
Coming back after a break that was in part spurred from being dropped by her label and the life-shattering experience of losing her father, Marela has used the last few years of emotional ups and downs to create a powerful concoction of vulnerable tracks — their sound cultivated from perseverance and continued learning. During her break from music, Marela went back to school to complete an MFA program at Mills College and focused on taking her music to new heights.
“My time at Mills was really special, and I think taking time away from the indie music world and getting dropped from my label for being commercially unsuccessful was ultimately the biggest blessing ever,” Marela says. “I feel reconnected to my artistic practice in a way that I was starting to drift away from. I learned to not be so afraid to fail, and to take risks creatively.”
Marela performs in Los Angeles on August 12 at Something Poetic.
Pre-Save Briana Marela’s new album You Are a Wave here.
Words: Patti Sanchez