Mason Zgoda says she writes songs for shy people, for the pensive or perhaps those who see life as an old, romantic film. The songwriter’s sophomore EP, Postcard To The World, takes listeners into the metaphorical longings of Zgoda’s heart, with a fascinating combination of hopeful instrumentation and wistful lyricism.
People who take note of the simple aspects in their surroundings, drawing them into the ponderings of their heart, often produce some of those most inspiring art. Zgoda does this with these tracks, establishing herself as an honest writer in the acoustic indie pop space.
The Nashville based artist gave us a deeper look into her inspiration behind this latest project, with a genuine sense of ease in the midst of what can be the turbulent process of independent artistry.
With this EP coming as your sophomore release, how would you describe the differences in your writing style and even persona as an artist now, versus your debut project?
My persona as an artist is the thing that has changed the most. I grew up feeling very intimidated by the male musicians I was surrounded by. Some of them had a way of making me feel that I wrote “chick music” that didn’t matter, and I carried that around for a long time and felt like a fraud. By the time I recorded my first record, I had decided that femininity is cool, and I leaned into it heavily. I was inspired by the girl groups of the 1960s, and I wore retro eye makeup, peter pan collar mini dresses, and kitten heels. My music was quirky, witty, and fun with an element of melancholy. As I got older I relaxed into myself more and subsequently, into my image more. At first, my idea of what was cool changed: I went from wanting to be a Shangri-La to wanting to be Jane Birkin. But then, the whole idea of being “cool” became less and less important to me. Timelessness, quality, and longevity became my focuses, and I saw that the source of those things has always been authenticity, and that my music had contained that all along. For that reason, the music between these two records is really still the same: honest, open hearted, indie singer songwriter with a retro flair, only my recent release comes across as a more confident, and sonically solid manifestation of those qualities because I myself have developed a quiet confidence in my message, my ability, and even my own taste that I had never had before. I think anyone who deals with self doubt, social anxiety, or fear will connect with me and with my music.
What is the storyline behind this EP? Are the tracks stand alone ideas, or did you write them with the intention of releasing them as a joint project?
I knew I wanted to make a record, and I scheduled studio time months in advance, thinking I would have a plethora of songs to choose from by then. I didn’t. I had Poltergeist, which I had written three years earlier and later became the first single off the EP, but everything else was just not my best work. My producer told me to try again. Somehow, I got a wave of inspiration like magic, and in about three weeks I had written all the rest of the songs on the record. While they weren’t intended to communicate a single idea, two common threads are woven throughout: fear and a hopeful romanticism. Strangely, as by emotional alchemy, combining the two creates yearning. The whole project possesses that undercurrent of yearning.
On a more general note, what does songwriting look like for you – is there a specific aspect of the writing process you start with, and how did that play out with this project?
I’m really a lyrics girl and always have been. Before I wrote the songs for this record, I had been in a state of writers block for over a year. For that whole year, I committed to writing something, anything, everyday, even if it was just a nice word I wanted to use in a song whenever one decided to appear. So, I had stacks of yellow legal pads that I was just filling with lyrics. Then, when inspiration hit in the form of chord progressions and melodies, I had all those words I could draw from, and the songs fell naturally and perfectly into place.
Where are you hoping this EP lands you as an artist? Are there any specific goals you set for yourself as you went into this release?
My only goal with my career is to find my tribe, the people who think and feel like me or even who simply have the same taste as me, and get my music in their ears. I want to connect with that listenership that will grow as I grow and get excited when I drop something new, the kind of connection I have with some of the lesser known artists I love.
The ideas you set forth with these songs draw out many emotions from listeners, both by the sonic pallet and the lyrical content. What do you hope those who hear the EP walk away thinking, feeling or pondering?
For several years leading up to this project I was deeply lonely. So lonely that sometimes I couldn’t sleep at night, because the sadness in my heart was so loud. So I would get up and sit on my front porch steps in the dark and look at the moon. For the length of time I was looking at the moon, I was not lonely. Maybe these songs can do that.
What can we expect to see from you the rest of the year and how can listeners best support you right now?
For the rest of the year, I’ll be attempting to tour as things start to open up little by little. I always say if you want to support me, send my song to someone you think will like it. Then tell them to send it to someone they think will like it. I’d love for you to follow me on social media so we can connect and chat (like I said, I’m all about finding my tribe), but if you want to help me in my career, I’m a big believer that word of mouth is still the way people find good music.
“Postcard To The World” release date: 04.23.21
Image credits: Abigail Lewis