Jane Siberry is no stranger to singing with fellow Canadian k.d. lang, which made their collaboration on "Living Statue" from Siberry's upcoming new album Angels Bend Closer -- premiering exclusively below -- a no-brainer.
The two had previously joined forces for the 1991 single "Calling All Angels." As she was working on "Living Statue," Siberry tells Billboard that, "It sounded like about three-quarters of the way through the song a new voice would sound good coming in. I thought of k.d., having already done a song together, and she said yes. She came to Toronto and walked everywhere and played soccer with my dog. We already knew that for us to sing well together we had to be proximal. When we did 'Calling All Angels' we were in vocal booths, but this time we came out into the big room and stood together, and that allowed us to see each other, and I think you know a lot more about what to do when you're close to someone like that. I thought it worked out really well."
"Living Statue" itself was inspired by Siberry's visits to a particular church in northern Ontario, and a desire to add something to the music performed there. "I kept thinking 'These songs are not right,'" Siberry recalls. The words weren't quite right, so the truth didn't show up as a stronger voice. So over a long period of time I wrote a hymn that I hoped would fit into a normal hymn book, with the hope that it could be sung by a village choir in northern Ontario and that it would hit the right buttons for lifting the vibration and the energy level and the beauty level."
Angels Bend Closer comes out Nov. 18 and is Siberry's first official album in five years, since reclaiming her own name for 2011's Meshach Dreams Back after recording for a time under the moniker Issa. The 15-song set features plenty of Siberry's ethereal experimentation, but many of its tracks are widely accessible, which was part of her creative goal for the album.
"I really wanted to make it a more universal record than normal, so I kept the songs all very wide, mostly about family and love and nature and things like that, and kept my quirky side to a minimum," Siberry explains. "I usually get a feel with each record what notes on the piano it's suppose to cover. This one just felt like it was time to make a record of things that are familiar and hopefully believed and helpful. I think at a time when everything around us is sort of topsy-turvy and sane is called insane and vice-versa, it's the right time for something lush and beautiful and wider."
Siberry has two U.S. shows planned to launch Angels Bend Closer, on Nov. 17 at Amoeba Music Hollywood and Dec. 2 at the New York Society for Ethical Culture's Concert Hall. She's hoping to play more shows in the new year, though in April and May she'll be herding sheep in north Wales.