I Am Lightyear, the musical brainchild of Lauren Zettler, lives up to its name. The synths, poppy vocals and innovative songwriting on her debut EP combine to form a large, spacious and bright sound. Having drawn comparisons to Feist and Regina Spektor, Zettler is clearly placed among great company. After a listen or two to her All Of The Miles EP, you’ll see she fits right in.
The Brooklyn resident was raised far outside of the music world in Indiana by scientist parents. After trying to “make her parents proud by taking chemistry,” Zettler attended Berklee College Of Music in Boston, where she studied classical piano. It is on those very same keys that her music is written now, but it doesn’t stay there long. Although she often performs with acoustic instruments, the recorded material is primarily synth-based.
Sometimes referred to simply as Lightyear, Zettler chose the name during a period of transition in her life. To Zettler the name is “an unimaginably long period of time or space. It’s incomprehensible and limitless.” It is that lack of limits that helps to drive her creative process. Her debut EP, released last fall, is made up of five tracks filled with space and feeling. She taps into heartbreak and transition while maintaining a bright and open sound.
The lead single, “It Beats,” includes Zettler’s airy vocals over a bouncing bassline. When the chorus comes in with the lyrics “I need a sea change,” you get the feeling that Zettler really has been through a great deal of change. She is singing as much from experience as longing. In the bridge, the instrumentation parts like clouds, allowing her vocals to shine through with their siren-like intrigue.
Lightyear has been hailed by BlackBook as “wonderfully layered pop” and by Toro Magazine as “a new artist whose music is already fully realized and clearly destined for attention.” Her music is also easy to relate to, and though Zettler’s just getting started, she’s one worth watching.
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