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The Naked and Famous’ Alisa Xayalith Shares the Origins of New Solo Single “I’ll Be There”: Exclusive

Inspired by car rides, heartbreak, The Strokes, and more

Alisa Xayalith Ill Be There
Alisa Xayalith, photo by Sarah Eiseman

    Origins is our recurring feature series that provides artists with a space to dive into everything that inspired their latest release. Today, Alisa Xayalith takes us through “I’ll Be There.”


    Alisa Xayalith has released “I’ll Be There,” the second single from her upcoming debut solo EP Superpowers, today (September 9th). The track comes complete with a hazy, VHS-like music video that features the show-stealing talents of Xayalith’s canine companion.

    As the frontwoman for The Naked and Famous, Xayalith found success through the marriage of indie rock and synth-pop. Spending the last decade playing stages around the globe, Xayalith and her bandmates proved to be mainstays in the world of indie pop. Now, 12 years after The Naked and Famous’ debut album, Xayalith is making her thesis statement as a solo artist.

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    The first taste came late last year with “High Fidelity,” a lush, irresistible tune that seemed to hint toward Xayalith leaning further into her indie rock influences. With “I’ll Be There,” those suspicions seemed to be confirmed. Driven by a jangly guitar and a bopping bass line, the song deals with negative situations through the unconditional support of a loving friendship.

    “’I’ll Be There’ is a friendship song inspired by real life events,” Xayalith tells Consequence. “One of my best friends was going through a breakup right at the beginning of the pandemic. Heartbreak is one of the most devastating experiences any human can go through, and I sure have navigated my own fair share in this life.”

    The video abstracts the message in a perfect way, reframing the relationship dynamics in the context of Xayalith and a dog. It’s a fitting representation of the care, effort, and love “I’ll Be There” represents.

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    Such palpable empathy lifts the song into an optimistic, even breezy tone. Everything from the instrumentation to Xayalith’s soft vocal delivery envelopes the listener with the titular message: she’ll be there for you when you need it.

    Check out the video for Alisa Xayalith’s “I’ll Be There” below, followed by her breakdown of the song’s influences.


    Heartbreak:

    “I’ll Be There” is a friendship song inspired by real life events. One of my best friends was going through a breakup right at the beginning of the pandemic. Heartbreak is one of the most devastating experiences any human can go through and I sure have navigated my own fair share in this life. Out of the very few writing sessions I did during this time, her story and broken heart was on my mind and weaved its way into my songwriting.

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    Clean Instrumentation:

    A lot of my project is built around raw organic instruments, especially after coming from the world of The Naked and Famous. Lately, the band has a very clean electronic/digital soundscape contrasted with crunchy fuzz guitars. I wanted my sonic palette to be softer, raw and organic. It’s been a very freeing process exploring this, because making music feels new again, and that’s kind of crazy to have that feeling after doing this for a decade of my life already.

    The Strokes:

    I wrote this with Jason Suwito and Tyler Spry. The writing session started with Jason playing through his folder of musical sketches he has on his hard drive. He played us this guitar riff he wrote and it immediately felt like the anchor to build the rest of the song around. I’m a big fan of The Strokes, especially their first record Is This It, and I wanted to create something inspired by a similar organic palette.

    Car Rides with Friends:

    The lyrics of the second verse “driving down the coast line, soaking up the sunshine, whooah, singing sad sad songs” accompanies a real life scene from when I picked up my friend and drove us to Ventura Beach, which is about an hour away from where we live, for our friend’s birthday. I told her she could play any music she wanted in the car and with full permission to cry her eyes out to the saddest music so she could get it out of her system and feel better. I remember listening to Solange’s A Seat at the Table and singing our lungs out to “Cranes in the Sky.” Music has truly been a salve for some of the worst times in my life, so this one goes out to my besties.

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