In the five years since Lydia Cole last released an album, every single aspect of her life has changed.

She's living somewhere different, her "relationship scene" is different, and - most importantly - her outlook on life in terms of religion and spirituality is in "a totally different place".

After the release of her last album, Cole gave music a rest and got a job in a coffee shop instead; meeting people, experiencing life, "going through my 20s".

"It's changed me a lot ... I've grown up a little bit and my brain has expanded so I'm not so black and white on things any more, and I think that's where the spirituality thing comes in," she says.


She used to subscribe to some form of Christianity and although Cole is hesitant to go into details about her religion she's quick to clarify that she still believes in God, just without all the Christian discourse.

"When you're not living in fear, struggling to filter everything into this tidy, explainable box ... I just feel like I've got so much more wonder about the world now. I'm not trying to prove anything to anyone, I'm not trying to change anyone or change who I am," she says.

And that's why she's finally decided to go and see more of it.

Cole has been slogging away in the New Zealand music scene for the better part of a decade, releasing a handful of EPs and albums over the years while resisting the urge to go the way of many other successful Kiwi artists who moved to pursue their careers from Los Angeles.

"I've always just been like ... I don't want to, I was never ready. And then I started opening up to the idea of it, because I was starting to see how tiny the bubble - the music industry in New Zealand - is, I was starting to ping pong between different walls of ... everyone knowing each other, and starting to see the downsides of that," she explains.

"So I was open to the idea of moving but then it was like, well where?"

He takes good photos.

A post shared by Lydia Cole (@lydiacole) on

Eventually, she settled on the idea of Berlin. She has friends who are working and making a living in creative industries and once she realised that, everything clicked.

"I was like; 'oh what am I doing here? I'm silly to stay'," she says. And besides, "being in love helps."

She met her partner while he was visiting family in New Zealand and they did 10 months long-distance when he returned to Berlin. Now, she's going to join him, and she can barely stop smiling at the thought.

But reuniting with her love means leaving her loyal fan base here in New Zealand, so she's releasing her new album The Lay of the Land on Friday, before embarking on a farewell tour.

For fans wondering what to expect, Cole promises that while everything else may have changed, the way she writes hasn't.

"I write the way that I live. My biggest drive in life is to connect to someone and in order to do that, you have to show them yourself. The more you can see of me, the closer we can get, and I get a kick out of getting close to someone. It's either do music like this or not do music," she says.

So she'll be playing shows in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in March, in a final effort to connect before leaving for Berlin toward the end of April.

"We'll mainly play the new album because they'll be the only shows that I play before I move and I don't know when I'll come back, so I want to play them at least once before I go," says Cole.

"I guess it's a goodbye, really."



Lydia Cole


New album:

The Lay of the Land

+ farewell tour


Album releases February 17, tour begins in March.


Auckland's Wine Cellar on March 2, Christchurch's Space Academy on March 3, Auckland's Vic Theatre on March 10 and Wellington's Meow Bar on March 11.