Deciding on an album cover for “Hoping for a Hero” felt like a daunting endeavour. I enjoy expressing the rollercoaster that is life in a wide range of musical genres. This album features sweet folk, raunchier rock vibes, easy listening country melodies, dirty blues grooves, poignant piano ballads, as well as fusion with reggae and atmospheric notions and orchestral swells. This made it impossible to sum up the album with one graphic. What I did notice was that although the music is varied, there was an overall theme that could be summed up by one lyric in a song called Pedestal. That line was “Hoping for a hero”. I’ve gone through life with “the grass is always greener” mentality, thinking that contentment is just around the corner “if only this” and “if only that”. I’ve been drawn to certain goalposts of success, material things, some ideal body image, an over-indulgence of sugar & caffeine, or the quest a romantic fantasy, envying this person, envying that, thinking something, someone, some place will bring me out of the pain of now, and that I’d eventually find myself in some everlasting state of blissed-out utopia. Of course… utopia is unrealistic; life is full of ups and downs for everyone. This album reflects that as I sing about my battle with depression and anxiety, changing friendships, the yearning for deeper connection.
After discarding several attempts to create an album cover myself, I stumbled upon the work of Ruth Thorp. Her graphics took me into another world and I felt a sense of peace when viewing them. Based in the UK, with a degree in architecture, artist Ruth Thorp draws inspiration from her surroundings and likes to explore new ways of looking at things. She starts off hand-drawing black pen markings, scans the image in, converts it to a vector-based file where she can edit, colour digitally and combine with photographic textures. There’s a sense of energy and peace in her artwork, and when I discovered her work I knew she was perfect for encapsulating album concept, and I swiftly sent her the songs for incentive. With “seeking some kind saviour” as the concept of the album combined with a lyric in my song about a depression: “on a sea of endless vague… I hoped I’d be the one you find”; an image came to mind of a lost boat at sea. And Ruth came up with this:
When I saw her interpretation I loved it. There’s a stillness. A mindfulness. A watching and waiting… amd letting be. There’s this impression of opening our senses to the moment, and being enamoured with the world and our life, even if we can’t see a clear path ahead. Whether or not the person in the canoe is aware of it, there is the abundant sense of hope. And this concept reflects my awakening through creating this music on this album. Music and art, for me, create hope in a world where we can feel so lost. Perhaps music and art, are, in fact the hero in this story… and in our current global situation, I feel it’s pivotal to keep our world alive with art and music, and not take it for granted in the slightest.
What does the artwork evoke for you?
Check out more of Ruth Thorp’s art here: www.ruththorpstudio.co.uk
Hoping for a Hero comes out Friday 13th November 2020!
You can pre-order the album and buy merch from the Online Shop. Your support helps the creation of more music and art to be enjoyed for years to come!