Hold Space For Me: Orion Sun's Soulful Catharsis

Hold Space For Me: Orion Sun's Soulful Catharsis

"It just makes you reflect...."

Orion Sun's tracks are a calming presence during a period of turmoil. Her new album 'Hold Space For Me' is a mix of jazz samples and floaty vocals that are lightly poetic. Each track hold it's own little space, filled with emotion.

Clash had the chance to talk to the Philadelphia native on the phone to talk through her new album, and what’s keeping her busy during this period.

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Do you feel good now the album's out?

I was having fears of releasing it during this time, but I’m just happy that people are enjoying it. that week leading up to the album release, I was feeling really panicked because everything we had on calendar be pushed back or just not happening.

But when Friday came it was for sure a relief in more than one way. It just feels really good now that it’s finally out.

Why did you choose ‘Hold Space For Me’ as the name for the album title?

I chose it for multiple reasons, not in any particular order but for one, I realised that when space is held for me, it’s very transformative. I feel safe and learn more about myself.

Also, I feel like I’m not a burden, you’re free to express myself with people who hold space for you. I just want to get that phrase out more for people because it helped me so much. People hold space for those they care about and love.

Another reason is I always make art, art for me has always been an outlet. I never go into project with the idea of like ‘I want to make the best song’ or whatever. It’s just how I want to get out how I’m feeling.

So, I did that with his album and it’s almost like a set of directions for the listener. I don’t want them to expect anything else other than 30 minutes of me expressing myself. And if you’re doing that, you’re carving out a little time for me which is really nice.

Your song ‘Trying’ is very personal, is it difficult for you to write songs like that?

Well, it’s interesting because I feel like the difficulty is in whether its time, I want to share it. Honestly all of the songs on this album just poured out of me with really no effort initially. I think the effort comes with the beats and where I wanted to take stuff sonically. But the lyrics and melody come really easy, I find If I overthink those things, I tend not to like it. I’ve just learned to just follow my intuition and just go with that.

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On the track ‘Holy Water’ - what made you add in the flight tannoy announcements at the start and end?

I was able to go to Paris for the first time two years ago with my partner. It was a beautiful place and somewhere I definitely romanticised as a kid and teen. It was so cool to just finally go and meet my expectations, I think a big part of why it did was because who I was with. I have this habit of recording noises when I’m out and just happened to record just landing in Paris.

So, I definitely had to put that in, because the song is for my partner. Love is sort of dreamy in that way, it does feel like you’re flying. Sometimes there’s turbulence but other times it’s smooth.

For your track ‘Ne Me Quitte Pas’ - is the title a homage to Nina Simone?

Yeah, Nina Simone is one of my influences for sure. I just love everything about her. When I went to Paris, I made a playlist full of French songs. ‘Ne Me Quitte Pas’ came on whilst we were at the Air BNB, I thought was really beautiful and sad at the same time. I wanted to tip my hat to her and Jacques Brel, and sort of take the meaning of the phrase and completely make it the opposite with really bright chords and production.

Also thought it would be funny for people to be browsing the song and be expecting a cover a song... and they’re hopefully surprised!

In other interviews, you cite the likes of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald as other influences. What draws you to these artists from other generations? 

My grandma used to sing, not professional, just in the car or when she was cooking. She has just such a beautiful voice. Every song that would come on radio, she would just harmonise.

One time we just sat down and she told me all of her influences. Billy Holiday is her favourite artists, ever since that moment I delved into her. Her voice, cadence and personality in songs just has the ability to move you. I like that its not necessarily powerful, and that’s something I could connect to because I’m not that type of singer either.

She could find a way to still make you feel something without it being beautifully aggressive. But I also love hip-hop, so don’t go all the way that direction, but I do pull from those fluttery chords and cadence and how she chose to be her authentic self.

I’ve seen you’re holding a beat tournament on social media, how’s that going?

Oh my God, this is one of the things that’s keeping me sane at the moment. People I know close to me have been affected by what’s going on, so I thought, what can I do to give people a distraction. It’s a really cool way to put producers on with others and it’s building a little community. It’s been something fun to do to connect people and just get through this time.

Do you think this is a good time for reflection?

Yeah for sure, even just speaking for myself I really had to sit down and be like, alright... what now?

It just makes you reflect. I think it’s a really good time for connecting with people. I’ve connected with so many friends and family over this time. I Honestly don’t think I would’ve had time to do if all of this wasn’t going on. I’m loving taking of the advantage of the situation. There’s so much solidarity online, at least in my little bubble.

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‘Hold Space For Me’ is out now.

Words: Joe Hale
Photography: Sophie Hurr

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