Sharon Van Etten has returned with “Porta,” her first solo song in two years. Listen to the steadfast single below.
“Porta” is a tale of tenacity while in the throes of depression, and it glimmers with bustling synthesizers and electronic drums. The song was written in 2020, “at one of my lowest lows,” the singer-songwriter said in a statement. “For most of my adult life I have struggled with bouts of depression and anxiety and coping mechanisms, and I sometimes let those dark moments get the best of me. During this time I felt very dissociated. Not connected to my body and I felt out of control.”
With “Porta,” Van Etten grounds herself not with melancholy catharsis, but with upbeat brightness. In a way, the optimistic, electronic song brings to mind a 1980s workout video, which on the surface explains its music video, where Van Etten does pilates. In a statement, however, the artist offers a more personal origin story for the visual.
“I was seeking a friend, someone to talk to who understands what finding the core means but also knows what my weaknesses are and can help me work around them and find my other strengths. I knew I was entering a no judgment zone and I needed to be held accountable for my actions and Stella [Cook, who runs Base Pilates in North Carolina] helped me step up,” Van Etten said.
“We would meet once a week on Zoom, have a catch up on life over a quick coffee and then get to work. Then, a day or two later she would send another video my way so I had something to work towards the end of the week. She was encouraging, but not pushy. If life got in the way, I didn’t feel like I let her down — but I loved our sessions. I looked forward to them. I started feeling closer to her, and closer to myself, and it helped things seem hopeful. And I just wanted to share that with the world. Instead of the darkness. Instead of my fears. My message is to work through them. Even when it’s hard. Even when it hurts. Reach out. Reach out to that friend who helps you reach out towards yourself.” Watch the video for “Porta” below.
“Porta” follows a pair of singles Sharon Van Etten recorded with Angel Olsen, “Like I Used To” and The Velvet Underground classic “Femme Fatale.” This summer, the pair will head out on a co-headlining tour with Julien Baker. Tickets are on sale now via Ticketmaster.