Dropping her brand new single, “Sober,” artist Late July, the stage name for the orchestral bedroom pop project of singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nicole Simone, pours her heart and soul into the deeply emotional and raw track. With lyrics that deal with the pain of watching someone you care about fail at their attempt at sobriety, after you have already turned a new leaf yourself, “Sober” is a moving tune that shows compassion, yet a steadfast urgency for change.
“Sober” finds its subject at her wits’ end, but not willing to give up just yet. Seeing a person she cares about torture themselves through substance abuse, but not losing hope in them, she reminds the person about her love for them, stating that their friendship is being affected by the substance abuse and that is pushing her away. Once so close, now Late July finds herself on the sidelines, watching this person self-destruct, but still begging for them to figure it out.
“I wrote ‘Sober’ while watching an ex publicly announce that he was quitting drinking. A week later he very publicly failed and I was so disappointed,” notes Late July. “I think anyone who has been impacted by someone with a substance abuse problem feels the anxiety, hoping the person is going to pull through addiction – and when they don’t – you somehow feel like you’ve completely lost the person. Having a lot of sober people in my life has given me a respect for what they go through and knowing all you can do is hope for the best but prepare for the worst. The song was produced by Jessica Taylor and we used a lot of 80’s synths and it’s like a beachy 80’s prayer.”
Expanding more on her single in an Instagram post, Late July writes how the the lyrics are essentially a letter she’ll never get to send. Writing from such a personal perspective, “Sober” is a song for anyone who has been through, or seen friends or family go through the struggle of substance abuse.
Late July takes a cinematic approach to her musical style, with orchestral arrangements, often harrowing strings, 80’s synths and prominent trumpets; her instrumentation cradling her illustrious vocals. Forming her bi-coastal sound, the singer spends time between Canada and Los Angeles and is also a producer, writer, philanthropist and actress (“On a List”).
From writing her own songs, to creating atmospheric covers – like her recent cover of Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” or her rendition of Goo Goo Dolls’ “Name” – Late July creates a unique perspective through her music while her ingenuity and overall sound draws comparisons to the likes of St. Vincent, Lana Del Rey and Phoebe Bridgers. Be on the lookout for more from Late July.
Words: Patti Sanchez