The wait for a new batch of songs from the acclaimed singer-songwriter Nadia Reid has been keenly felt. Most especially by Reid herself.
"It's been a challenging year of patience and reflection." Reid says, looking back on 2019. "Sometimes I think I have patience and other times … "
She trails off.
"I just wanted to keep the momentum going, you know? I had that hunger to get back into it. I have to keep the wheel turning so I can feel satisfied, otherwise I just go a bit crazy. So it's been a challenging year of just waiting but I feel really excited. We made this record more than a year ago now and the wait between making it and it coming out has been longer than we wanted. It's been a challenge to sit in that."
That wait, which was brought about by label hunting, negotiating, signing and then scheduling, finally ended yesterday amid a flurry of activity and a triple hit of a press release.
Firstly, Reid announced that her new album, Out of My Province, would be released on March 6, and that she would be supporting the record with a mini-tour around Aotearoa, kicking off in Christchurch that very same day.
She also dropped the record's first single, Best Thing, a lush and cinematic song that Reid says explores, "relationships, childhood and nostalgia", and also widens her sonic palette considerably. Is this indicative of how her new album will sound?
"Yeah, I would describe it as lush, the album is full of string parts and horns," she says. "It sounds more refined. All the arrangements and playing sounds more considered. I was really excited to be able to have a 12-piece string section and a five-piece horn section."
These extra sonic colours and depth are a natural progression, Reid says, of both the sound and style of her earlier two albums, the well-regarded debut Listen to Formation Look for the Signs, and her breakthrough Preservation, which respected UK music mag Mojo named their #2 Best Album of 2017 and earned her three NZ Music Award nominations as well as a Silver Scroll nod for the song Richard.
But she also credits life on the road for widening her horizons.
"A lot of the songs were written touring and travelling in Europe. Eighty per cent of them were written on the road," she says. "So I think of the songs as travelling songs and road songs."
When asked how all the travel has affected her songwriting Reid's answer is unexpected.
"It's become a necessity now," she says. "I really crave it and need it. I need to be moving or in motion in order for it to happen. Writing has been difficult lately because I've been waiting for this album to come out. Psychologically it's hard to move on until the record is out.
"But I definitely know that touring is inspiring to me. I think others could be different. But I like that sense of movement and change. The more places you go and the more people you meet, the more you have to say."
She's excited to take her new songs around the country before returning to Europe. The album's bigger sound has necessitated a new recruit. A violinist has joined the ranks, swelling her band to a five-piece, with plans to expand further in the near future.
"We're going to get a couple of guest horn players in each city," she says, smiling. "I need to find a couple of horn players to come and play the parts."
Then, as if still considering the proposition and the possibilities it offers, she says, almost to herself: "Just two horn players. I think that will be sufficient."
She sounds ready to go, which after a maddening year of waiting, is perhaps not too surprising.
"We did have some really exciting things this year," she says, "We played at Womad and with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra so it was busy enough but ... it was just ... yeah. I think artists put out records for a reason, they sort of mark time. I feel privileged to be able to do it again."