Delacey Crystallizes Her Grief Into the Iridescent 'The Girl Has a Dream' [Q&A]

Photo: Lissy Laricchia

DIAMOND-certified master of moody songcraft Delacey has finally released her long-awaited sophomore album, The Girl Has A Dream, and it was well worth the three-year wait. The 14-track project, which follows the GRAMMY-nominated songwriter's debut project, Black Coffee, is an unfiltered journey through thoughts, desires, dreams, insecurities, and more that spotlights her airy vocals and raw, relatable lyricism.

The album is packed with achingly thought-provoking tracks, each with its own real-life inspiration—from bad therapy sessions and anxiety attacks on plane rides to gut-wrenching heartbreaks and even death. Escaping to a small cabin in middle-of-nowhere upstate New York, Delacey hunkered down in the height of the pandemic with her best friend/producer Ido Zmishlany [Justin Bieber, The Kid LAROI, Camila Cabello], building the foundation for the project —a no-holds-barred collection of songs that quickly became the soundtrack to her escape from the craziness of the outside world.

"There are two halves to this album," Delacey explains. "Some of it feels like the dreamer, and some of it is giving up on the dream. One half is healing from trauma, and the other half is my darkest season. I feel most alive when I'm sad, grieving, or going through pain. It makes me wake up, be present, and connect to God or a higher power. I hope audiences feel that when they hear my music. At the end of the day, pain, grief, and life are all beautiful. You'll hear all of this on 'The Girl Has A Dream.'"

Ones To Watch had the opportunity to chat with the songstress and dive deeper into the meaning of the record, her creative process, and what she would tell her younger self.

Ones To Watch: First of all, congrats on the release! How are you feeling knowing people will be listening to The Girl Has A Dream? Which song are you most excited for people to hear?

Delacey: Thank you! I honestly feel super relieved. It is basically a three-year in-the-making album. I am really excited about the focus track "Cue."

I was a massive fan of your last record, Black Coffee, especially the title track and "Break up Slow Dance." How do you feel the two records differ?

That makes me so happy, truly. I feel as though Black Coffee was my angry album. The Girl Has a Dream feels like my sad album. Almost every song on the album makes me cry because I'm instantly transported to the pain I was in making a lot of this music. It was a very cathartic process though, don't worry! [laughs]

What does the album's title mean to you, and how does that meaning carry over into the record?

The album's title comes from a lyric in track one. I decided to name my album after the phrase because I feel like it touches on a recurring theme for me. My whole music career has been a nonstop struggle to get back in touch with the little girl in me that was in love with music and was yet to be hardened by the industry. I am always trying to get back in touch with her. It's not easy.

What was the most challenging aspect of making the LP? Did you encounter any writer's block? 

I don't generally sit down with the aspiration to make music; it usually just happens when I'm inspired, so even though I have definitely experienced writer's block on a verse or bridge or lyric here and there, most of the block comes from me being inspired to release what I make. I have a hard time with all of the other expectations that come with being an artist outside of making the actual music. That's always been the easy part for me. When it comes to production, I'm usually pretty good at sticking with my gut on choices.

How do you stay grounded in those moments of creation so that the message comes across in the music without becoming melodramatic but also not being so restrained that it's apathetic?

I try not to think about how my music comes across because then I can get insecure and never finish anything. I try to just say what I need to say and leave it at that if that makes sense. Sometimes I feel like it's a very selfish thing for me to write music because I really am doing it for myself, but to see it connect with someone else and help them is the best feeling. I am so happy if I can do that!

What would be your favorite track on the record if you had to pick? My favorite track on the album is probably "Man On The Moon!"

Yay! That's a top for me as well. My favorite on the album is "everything you need to know about me today."

There are a lot of powerful moments in this LP that explore complex themes like death, heartbreak, and anxiety. Of course, music is subjective, and everyone will get something different out of it, but what is one thing you hope people take away from it?

It's a beautiful thing that art is subjective, isn't it? I'm grateful for that. It means someone can be as specific as they can about their situation, but if it captures the right feeling, then anyone can relate to it. I hope my album finds the right people who need it.

Which song is your favorite to play live right now?

"My Man" is always my favorite; I don't know why. It possesses me every time! [laughs] It's also more fun than painful, if that makes sense.

What would you like to experiment more with in the future?

My vocals being more fucked up! [laughs] Like really leaning into it.

If you could give a piece of advice to your past self from the beginning of your journey as an artist, what would you say?

Remember to stay in touch with the part of you that doesn't care what other people think. When you lose it, you lose your best art. Everything you make is shit if you care what people think when you're making it girl!!!!

Delacey's The Girl Has a Dream is available now

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