Zella Day has announced that her sophomore album, Sunday In Heaven will be released on October 14th via Concord Records. The album was produced by Jay Joyce (Cage The Elephant, Emmylou Harris), with additional production by John Velasquez and Alex Casnoff, and features additional playing by the likes of Autolux’s Carla Azar and Cage The Elephant’s Daniel Tichneor. Fans can pre-order Sunday In Heaven now HERE.
To coincide with the announcement, Zella Day has also released her new single, “Mushroom Punch“, which follows previous releases, “Golden,” “Dance For Love,” and “Girls” and “Radio Silence”. Described as a “psychedelic trip for the heart” by Day, “Mushroom Punch” is a full-throttle explosion, a song that showcases Day’s expansive voice like no other. An instantly-iconic video for the track, directed by acclaimed director Sophie Muller, is out now.
With every new album an artist makes, there’s an evolution, another chapter; for Zella Day—her new record, Sunday In Heaven, is a whole other book. It’s not so much that it’s a step away from her debut Kicker—although this new record’s richness, ambition, and bare-bones intimacy is significant. It’s that Zella has entered a new era personally, and the effect of this on her music is pronounced and powerful, creating an album that is lightyears forward in sound and scope from its predecessor.
When she began working on the album, Day penned some 70 songs for Sunday In Heaven that were ultimately whittled to ten tracks steeped in Cali blue skies and golden hour light. Some were written on a tablecloth in Ojai (“Almost Good”), some scribbled at her kitchen table, others came in a car driving down to Chino, where she spent the summer of 2019 demoing the album with her friend, producer/engineer John Velasquez. Eventually, in the middle of quarantine, the pair jumped in a Jeep Wrangler, driving cross-country to record with producer Jay Joyce, at his Nashville studio The Neon Church.
Hence, Sunday in Heaven was bred at the base of an altar. It’s a record that shrugs off any modern pop production flourishes that could tie it to a specific era by design. Jay Joyce’s expertise in effortlessly blending elements of all different genres helped Zella to home in on the voice she had developed — a distinctly Los Angeles inflection combining ease and beauty stretching from the pangs of self-growth and resilience. The album’s additional production by John Velasquez and Alex Casnoff allowed Zella to continue to stretch herself musically in new ways.
Sunday In Heaven is liberally sprinkled with ear-worm melodies (the sunny stomp of “Am I Still Your Baby?”; a kiss off to those who dared doubt her on “Last Time;” the skippy “Drink too much / Think too much” refrain of “Mushroom Punch”). Elsewhere, both “Girls” and “Golden,” with their breezy, 70s soft-focus sashay, emerged during two fertile days writing just outside Muscle Shoals, AL with John Paul White (Civil Wars), whom she had met ten years prior as a teenager. “Dance for Love,” a joyous ode to Roy Orbison, was inspired by a fleeting twilit moment where Zella danced down an empty street listening to Orbison with only her dog to bear witness. Elsewhere “I Don’t Know Where to End” is her “Easy Like Sunday Morning”-meets Sgt Pepper’s-era Beatles love-letter to Long Beach, California, where she partly grew up. At the album’s beating, tender center stands “Bunny.” Over sparse piano chords, a reflective Zella pushes through the swirl of self-doubt. As “Bunny” builds to a climax, her voice cracks, both bruised and defiant, “Let it all go, everything’s different now.”
Truly, if Sunday In Heaven is anything, it is the pure sound of a woman choosing how and who she wants to be in the world on her own terms; a record for moving forward out of darkness into light; for creating your own beautiful, sparkling reality exactly as you are. Heaven, indeed.
Experience Sunday in Heaven live at Day’s upcoming show at Los Angeles’ The Lodge Room on September 29th. Tickets on sale today at 11am PST HERE.