Sophie Auster has been on the road showcasing plenty of new material from Next Time, her April release and first new album in four years. But when the New York singer and her band ducked into Reservoir Studios for an intimate live session earlier this year she couldn’t help but throw something fresh into the mix — a cover of Annie Lennox’s “Walking on Broken Glass,” premiering exclusively below.
“It’s just a great song — a song that’s super catchy and deceivingly complicated,” Auster tells Billboard. “It’s actually a devilishly tricky song; The form is constantly changing. But it’s really fun and I really liked it and wanted to do it.” And while Auster doesn’t consider herself to be in Lennox’s league, she does “feel like there’s a kindred spirit” of creative ambition that the two singers share.
“That’s maybe why I like her,” Auster notes. “When I want to do a cover, sometimes it can be wildly different from my voice. But I do feel like it’s nice to pick singers who have a quality in their voice I can relate to. I connected with some of Annie Lennox’s deeper register, so I wanted to take that on.”
The cover’s release finds Auster back at home after touring Europe to promote Next Time. It’s an album Auster actually recorded twice; She wound up scrapping a set of songs she recorded in New York — “I didn’t really like my songs very much,” she says — before achieving what she wanted with producer Tore Johansson (Tom Jones, New Order, a-ha) at his countryside studio in Sweden. The album was also delayed by negotiations for a new deal with BMG.”I wanted to get this record out for a long time,” says the 2017 John Lennon Songwriting contest winner, “so finally I feel that it’s out there and people are listening to it and hopefully enjoying it. It’s nice to finally just put it out — it feels better than the anticipation.”
Auster plays a homecoming show on June 5 at New York’s City Winery, with other dates, including a West Coast tour, pending. Meanwhile, Auster is taking steps to insure there isn’t another long gap between releases. “Actually I think what I do next will be a shorter form thing, an EP,” she says. “I’m trying to write from a joyful state — which is challenging for me. I seem to write quite well from darkness. (laughs) But I feel pretty uptempo now; Being on the road, all I want to do is make people move. Even though I love singing these songs I wrote in my bedroom, I think that to get an audience moving is kind of an amazing thing. If I have that kind of material, they’ll get up and move, so I’m going to take on the challenge of writing an uptempo EP.”