LA-based artist, Queen Kwong, a.k.a. Carré Kwong Callaway, has shared her new single, “On The Run” from her forthcoming album Couples Only, out July 12th via Sonic Ritual. The new track features keys and synths by close friend of Carré, Roger O’Donnell of The Cure.
Speaking of the track, Carré said, “’On the Run’ is the song that inspired the record’s title, Couples Only. It’s a romantic, slow-dance-sounding song, but if you listen carefully, the lyrics are more realistic and self-aware. I spent a lot of my life confusing dramatic, whirlwind, fleeting romance with true love, but they’re not the same thing. Mature, healthy, loving relationships can be quite boring, and even though that’s what I want, it’s also what I’ve always run from.”
A few years ago, Carré was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and told she may only have a decade left to live. As a result of the condition, she’s prone to episodes where her lungs fill up with blood and she’s literally drowning. If that wasn’t bad enough, two months after her diagnosis, her husband jumped ship. Couples Only could be described as a divorce record, but really it’s much more than that. Carré’s third album is a fearless account of facing the worst betrayals and accepting the deepest losses; it’s the realization of one’s mortality and the impermanence of everything we know and cherish.
Assembling a notable cadre of contributing musician friends including The Cure’s Roger O’Donnell (keyboards), Swans’ Kristof Hahn (lap steel) and Blood Red Shoes’ Laura-Mary Carter (backing vocals) who appear on assorted tracks on the upcoming LP, Carré worked closely with friends and allies, including Joe Cardamone of The Icarus Line, and Tchad Blake (Arctic Monkeys, Elvis Costello, Fiona Apple), who mixed the record.
Couples Only was entirely improvised and recorded on the spot—nothing was pre-written lyrically or musically. For three weeks, Carré and longtime producer Cardamone crafted about one song a day, which would eventually be whittled down to the final 11 songs.
Interestingly, Carré hadn’t picked up an instrument for nearly a year before going into the studio. Instead, she was filling her time with other projects—after graduating from university with honors, she founded an all-natural skincare line, co-starred in American Primitive film series Quarentina, launched the immensely entertaining music podcast Never Meet Your Idols, and is nearly finished with her first collection of sculptural artwork scheduled to show next year.
“I don’t play music because it’s fun,” she explains. “It’s a coping mechanism. It’s for survival. I have to keep playing music because it’s my way of allowing myself to feel.”