Singer-songwriter Jon DeRosa marches to the beat of his own drum. After losing most of his hearing in his right ear, the New Jersey native switched from the gothy folk-rock of his acclaimed band Dead Leaves Rising to the ambient soundscapes of his solo project Aarktica, which were based in part on the aural hallucinations he experienced after his hearing loss. Then, a few years ago, he reinvented himself yet again, this time as a chamber-pop crooner, releasing the haunting A Wolf in Preacher's Clothes under his own name in 2012.
Now relocated from New York to Los Angeles, DeRosa's latest album, Black Halo (out May 25 on Rocket Girl), is yet another bold step in his mercurial career. Inspired by his time on both coasts, and by the loss of his grandmother and grandfather — the latter, a big-band singer in the '40s — DeRosa has crafted an album of timeless pop ballads, with lush string arrangements courtesy of Brad Gordon (The Weepies), backing vocals by Carina Round (Early Winters/Puscifer) and a co-write with the Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt ("When Daddy Took the Treehouse Down").
L.A. Weekly is pleased to premiere the Black Halo track "High and Lonely" below. We'll let DeRosa explain the story behind the track:
The general idea was loosely based on the Ambrose Bierce story “The Difficulty Of Crossing A Field,” in which a man disappears into thin air while others look on in disbelief. This song, however, actually references experiences I’ve had during meditation and visions I’ve received working in my spiritual path. The message is that this physical world is an illusion, and this life is a dream. When we die, it is like awakening from a deep sleep. So we must not put too much stock in physical wealth on this earthly plane, and remember to live responsibly in sacred reciprocity.
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To learn more about Jon DeRosa and Black Halo, visit jonderosa.com.