Irish singer Imelda May has a new look and a new attitude to match her edgy new music album, Life Love Flesh Blood.
May, whose music cuts across different genres (gospel, blues, soul and rock), divorced Darrel Higham, her husband of 13 years, in 2015. Her new album pays homage to the difficult but enlightening personal journey that followed.
“I’ve called it Life Love Flesh Blood because that encompasses everything,” Imelda said in a press release.
“It’s all in there: birth, sex, love, divorce and death. It’s the story of my life. Most songwriters use writing as a form of counselling. It’s therapy, like keeping a diary that a lot of people read.”
The song titles tell a story in themselves, with tracks such as “Call Me,” “Black Tears,” “Shoulda Been You,” “Leave Me Lonely,” “It’s My Time” and “The Girl I Used To Be.”
“I had a lot to write about,” she said. “Life changes, falling out of and in love again. It’s the whole circle of love and life.”
Imelda also celebrates female sexuality in her new album and makes no apologies for it. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with passion, lust and eroticism and being swept away by it,” said the Irish beauty. “Unlike many people, I don’t find any guilt in pleasure.”
Life Love Flesh Blood was produced by the legendary T Bone Burnett, who has worked with music icons Bob Dylan and Elton John. Dylan counts himself as an Imelda May fan.
May has also rolled out a darker, edgier look to spotlight the big changes in her personal life.
“I always loved the ‘50s rockabilly style, but there was a point where I felt I was almost dressing up as Imelda May,” she said. “It was as if I was getting into character for a gig. And I didn’t want to do that anymore. This is me.”
Imelda rocketed to fame with her 2008 album Tattoo, which featured the hit track Big Bad Handsome Man (listen below).
A lot of things have changed since then, but May couldn’t be more thrilled. “Life changed,” she said. “I love the albums I made before. They were honest to the person I was. But that was then…and this is now.”
May performs at Webster Hall in New York on Tuesday, June 27.