Today, Becca Mancari announces her new album The Greatest Part, coming June 26. Along with the announcement, Mancari releases her second single, “First Time.” The song is sonically upbeat but emotionally heavy, featuring a beautiful melody juxtaposed with its painful story. This follows the release of the album’s “shimmering” (Rolling Stone) first single “Hunter,” which greeted traumas from her cult-like evangelical upbringing with vivid and unflinching melodies.
Of “First Time” Mancari says, “‘First Time’ was a song that I did not at the time have the strength to write when I started, but as soon as the first line of the song came out of me I knew there was no going back. I came out years ago, but never really told my story. When touring people started coming up to me after shows to tell me their own stories of coming out and how hard it was for many of them to do so, I wanted to write a song that not only is my story, but also a story that many others share. I wrote it from the perspective of looking back at my younger self, asking her, ‘Did you find your way out?’ I don’t think you have to be queer to relate to this story though. I think a lot of us have childhood pains that we carry into our adult lives, and my hope is that when you hear this song you feel less alone and that you do indeed find your way out.”
Produced by Paramore drummer Zac Farro, The Greatest Part marks a significant sonic evolution for the Nashville-based songwriter, expanding beyond the homespun rootsiness of her critically-acclaimed debut to incorporate a grittier, more experimental palette, one fueled by explosive percussion and fuzzed out guitars. The lyrics are similarly raw and intrepid here, peeling back old scars to explore the emotional and psychological turmoil Mancari weathered growing up gay in a fundamentalist Christian home, while at the same time examining the ties that continue to bind her to the family she loves. It’s that dichotomy, that friction between grief and joy, pain and forgiveness, sorrow and liberation, that lies at the heart of The Greatest Part, Mancari’s captivating new collection.
Mancari’s musicianship has been praised by NPR for its “exquisite self-awareness” and hailed as one of the year’s best by Rolling Stone, who applauds her “confident vocals [and] spacious, hazy production,” yet the The Greatest Part is her most vulnerable work to date. “This record was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write,” says Becca Mancari. “At the same time, it was also the most freeing.” Though self-reflection is nothing new for Mancari, The Greatest Part finds her digging deeper than ever before, excavating new layers of her psyche in an effort to make sense of where she’s been, where she’s headed, and most importantly, who she’s become.
Born on Staten Island to an Italian/Puerto Rican family whose strict religious beliefs bordered on the cult-like, Mancari spent much of her childhood wrestling with issues of identity, belonging, and her sexuality. After college, Mancari set out on her own, following the wind from Appalachia to Arizona, from south Florida to India, drifting in search of purpose and community. She eventually found both in East Nashville, where she garnered widespread acclaim for her strikingly honest songwriting and emotionally riveting performances.
Mancari is set to perform “First Time” and more live this Friday May 8 at 5:00PM EST via Nashville Scene‘s “No Contact Shows” and Mancari’s YouTube channel. And this September, Mancari will open for longtime musical collaborator Brittany Howard, whom she performed with as part of the supergroup Bermuda Triangle. Tour dates below with more to be announced. Tickets and more info at www.beccamancari.com/.