Alina Baraz comes through with her follow-up to Urban Flora with The Color of You, a nine-song project that gives listeners a taste of what the singer-songwriter has been working on as of late. Baraz shared a handful of songs in 2017 while spending part of her time on the road perfecting her stage show, and if The Color of You is an indication of what she has planned for her debut album, fans are in for something special when the time comes for it.
Complex premieres the video for "I Don't Even Know Why Though" on release day, and we also spoke with Baraz about her new project―which she's calling a prelude―and what it's like working with Khalid. You can check out the video above and our Q&A with her, along with a stream for The Color of You, below. It's also available on iTunes here.
It’s been nearly three years since the release of your debut project. What would you say has most influenced your songwriting or direction musically since Urban Flora?
I think my style of writing has changed/evolved drastically. When I was writing Urban Flora, It was more of a reflective state. Which I think tended to be a little biased, I wrote it the way I wanted to remember the relationship.
For the prelude, the collection of songs was more true to the moment. It was like a subconscious stream of thoughts. When something happened I went to the studio in that moment and captured my exact mood for the day. I didn’t try to depict it I just sang what came out of my mind.
What inspired the title for The Color of You?
I have always been infatuated by colors. I better understand myself in color. For example If I can’t understand my mood I’ll switch through a color light until it matches up with my thoughts.
But in this case, something came into my life and I couldn’t define what it was and what I felt. It felt like a color that didn’t exist. So it’s me trying to interpret and understand a color I’m seeing for the first time.
The video for “I Don't Even Know Why Though” takes viewers on a journey that matches the audible senses of the track. How was it bringing this song to life in visual form?
Of all the songs on the project this was easiest to understand.
The night before I wrote this, I was frustrated and kind of fed up with a relationship/situation in my life.
I went into the session with this same energy spilling over and my exact mood came out with the song. Every time I listen to it now, it brings me back.
“Floating” is your second collab with Khalid (after “Electric”) and based on these songs it sounds like you two have found the right balance. What’s that process like working with Khalid?
Khalid is one of my favorite people to work with. In general, one of my favorite people. It's the purest thing. I used to think it was his age, but the more I got to know him I really think it's his artistry and mentality.
I immediately thought of him while making the track and sent it to him. He came to the studio and we finished it that night.
Creatively we have a special type of sound that blends when our vocals are together.
You recently had a back and forth with Joey Badass about a potential collaboration. Is that something we could hear soon?
I am a huge fan of Joey Badass. You'll just have to wait and see.
How does The Color of You, if at all, prep listeners for your upcoming debut album? Or do you see this project as a standalone moment in your catalog?
I don't think it is a standalone. I don’t think it’s meant to live on its own, it’s an exact timeline in my life which is what makes it so special to me. It's very attached to me growing as an artist. And in a way it is very much a prelude to what’s next.
It sounds foolish now, but when I wrote Urban Flora, I felt a burden to talk about the negative in my relationship. So I made a conscious decision to only reflect on what made me fall in love and not out of it.
On this project I don't really hold back.
On what makes this project special, is you get exact moments and thoughts of my life. I love blending poetry and songwriting, but TCOY is more like a subconscious stream of thoughts. And for the upcoming album it is much more of a reflective state of mind.