Carlton delivered her sixth studio album, Love Is an Art, on March 27 — a couple of weeks after President Trump declared a national state of emergency due to the coronavirus. “I just released a record at the very beginning of our pandemic, about a week after a national emergency was declared, the same day Dua Lipa released her record too,” she said.
But her songs couldn’t have felt more necessary during this time of darkness, with “Back to Life” pulling listeners out of the doldrums with its sonic and emotional crescendos. “This is about kind of coming out of the darkness, coming out of addiction and coming out of beating yourself up,” the 39-year-old musician said while introducing the song. “There is this light that happens, like this crack of light that comes through your cave and it’s like… this song is about that moment where you start to come out and you start to feel different.”
She further explained the “roller coaster” of feelings she regularly experiences during this quarantine when a fan asked about how the “A Thousand Miles” singer felt being cooped up at home with her family. “It’s like a roller coaster where there’s days where you feel pretty good and you’re like, ‘I can do this. I’m going to figure this out when we get out of this…’ And then there’s other moments in quarantine where I think we’re all like, ‘Holy hell, this is unlike anything I’ve ever done in my life.'”
Carlton continued divulging about the album release process amid COVID-19: “It’s been a little strange to release a project during all of this, ’cause it’s like shows like this are the only moments I get to connect with you. But you’re not there. I’m just looking at like this black stick, but I see you here, so that’s kind of cool.”
Watch Carlton’s full Billboard Live At-Home performance below and donate to MusiCares here.