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How Asia-Born, U.S.-Based Women Are Ushering In a New Big Band Era

By Billboard

Amy Speace bares her soul on the heartfelt piano ballad “Me and the Ghost of Charlemagne.” Written while on tour in Germany, the title track of her forthcoming album due out Sept. 6, has the folk singer-songwriter highlighting the ups and downs the life of a musician often entails.

The song’s stark production has Speace’s whispered vocals at the forefront while delicate piano and soaring string features flesh out the track. The accompanying music video, which Billboard premieres below, features Cora Donegan, the daughter of Kris Donegan who has played guitar on all of Speace’s albums. The video was shot by Neilson Hubbard and Josh Britt in the woods near Speace’s home in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

“I had the idea of a little girl and a single balloon, a star balloon, that would float away and deflate - that she’d take the place of the dreamer,” Speace tells Billboard. “The little girl is Cora Donegan...and she came dressed like that, perfect in a coat and stockings. She looked a lot like I did at her age.”

Speace penned the song while on a solo European Tour in 2017. While in Aachen, Germany, all the locals told her she had to visit the cathedral where Charlemagne’s bones are interred. Exhausted from the trek, she had no motivation to make a detour to the cathedral.

The show was lovely, but I was missing home and can’t speak German and felt that disconnect you sometimes get when you’re on the road and trying to connect with people in small conversations,” she explains. “When I’d return home, I knew I was going to start the process of IVF to try to have a baby and I was nervous about the changes that would bring. All of that went into my need to write. That night, the bells of the Cathedral kept me awake and I wrote most of the lyric. By chance, the following night I was playing in Solingen, Germany, and the concert promoter housed me in a country cottage with an old, out of tune upright piano and I had the day free to put those lyrics to music.”

"You know that moment when the dreamer meets the dream, and it's a lie/ After years of climbing up, you see it’s just the same damned sky,” she sings on the introspective tune.

“Me and the Ghost Of Charlemagne” is the first track Speace has released off her forthcoming studio album. The project includes 10 original songs and finds the singer focusing on the reality of chasing a dream as well as highlights the difficult balance one faces between struggle and joy in order to attain that dream. The album was produced by Hubbard and recorded during the final weeks of Speace’s pregnancy.

Billboard

Billboard is the world's most influential music media brand reaching key executives and tastemakers in and around the music business through Billboard Magazine, Billboard.biz, Billboard Conferences, Billboard Bulletin, and other targeted newsletters,...

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