Fawn Fritzen had originally planned on releasing her new album, How to Say Sorry and Other Lessons, in the spring and touring in support of it. But like so many other artists, she had her summer derailed by COVID-19 and had to completely reimagine her album release and promotional plan. Fritzen had decided her third album should be all original material, and not include interpretations of jazz standards like her previous two records. The music for her new release had been floating around in her head for years as she gradually chipped away at writing new songs, but the real groundwork was laid in March of 2019 at a Jazz in the Hall show in which Fritzen was featured.
While Fritzen’s new music contains themes of guilt, shame and regret along with mostly personal lyrics about a broken marriage and the mistakes that led to it, she was also inspired by certain current events, like the #metoo movement, when writing.
“This is the kind of music I want to write, about these kinds of issues,” she says over Zoom from her living room. “These are things that affect all humans and that we need to have conversations about.”
“The music felt like a bed I could spring across or a cloud I could walk on,” she says.
Using her feelings to create music and help her out of the mental space in which she felt trapped was therapeutic for Fritzen, but she was surprised to see how much listeners were able to apply her lyrics to their own lives and situations, despite the words being personal, and often very specific, to Fritzen herself. At the core of the music and the chronicling of Fritzen’s experiences, there are messages that can be applied to any individual or the world as a whole. Themes of self-love, self-acceptance and repairing mistakes all come out in her lyrics, complementing the darker themes and giving them a hopeful perspective.
“I wanted to hear people tell my stories and hear me admit how badly I’ve failed, and know that even with all that shame and all those terrible failures, you can still come back,” says Fritzen. “In spite of making mistakes, you’re still worthy of love and you still deserve happiness.”
How to Say Sorry and Other Lessons consists of nine songs that Fritzen co-wrote with her fiancé, David Restivo. Five were recorded live at Fritzen’s Jazz in the Hall performance, and the other four were recorded at Selkirk College in Nelson, B.C. Fritzen was joined by a host of musicians and backup singers from Victoria for the sessions. Because of travel restrictions and the inability to tour, their plans as a combo were cut short. This meant shows had to be cancelled and plans to tour Ontario were scrapped. Instead, Fritzen has devised new strategies to promote her new music without simply waiting until concerts and tours become feasible again.
With live shows being put on hold for an as-yet undetermined amount of time, performance artists have been in a tough place, especially those who rely on touring as their main source of income. Fritzen says she is lucky to have a day job that she was able to continue to work at, but still wasn’t willing to push aside her artistic life when she had looked forward to sharing her new music.
Livestream concerts have become a popular way for bands and artists to still “perform,” and Fritzen is working on presenting her own twist on the livestream show to celebrate her album’s release this summer. With the record dropping on Friday, August 21, Fritzen would have had her release concert the next evening. She’s committed to still making that happen, but the concert will instead be hosted over Zoom. By using Zoom as opposed to YouTube or Facebook, Fritzen is able to see her audience to make a better connection with them, almost as if she were performing for them in person.
The Zoom release concert will feature footage from Fritzen’s Jazz in the Hall show, filmed by Brendon Preston of Something Shows, and will also involve Fritzen and Restivo performing in their living room.
“I think it’ll be cool and fun and a little different from what we’ve been seeing in terms of broadcast shows so far,” says Fritzen.
How to Say Sorry and Other Lessons comes out August 21 via Chronograph Records. Fritzen’s release show over Zoom will take place on August 22. Head over to www.fawnfritzen.com for more details.