Older and wiser

Indigo De Souza on self-trust, nature and being your own best friend

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“The subjects of my songs are heavy, and that’s how I also feel in the world,” says American-Brazilian singer-songwriter Indigo De Souza. Credit: Levi Saderholm

Big, existential question marks have always punctuated Indigo De Souza’s music — and she’s starting to make peace with the fact that most of them don’t have answers. 

“Just being alive and existing is one of the greatest questions, I guess. Making music brings purpose to my life. Writing a song that expresses anything true to me is somewhat of an answer,” she says. “I definitely don’t have the answers, and there’s something kind of beautiful about just naming that.”

That sort of radical acceptance is the throughline on the 26-year-old’s third album, All of This Will End. De Souza’s latest Saddle Creek Records release has been called her most optimistic, but whether that’s really the case, well, it depends.

“I think that’s true, but I think it also just depends on who you are and where you are in your life. I think it could change for me too, depending on the day,” De Souza told Boulder Weekly ahead of her April 2 show at the Gothic Theater. “Because everything will end, everything is precious. Also, it could mean because everything will end, nothing really matters.”

On 2021’s Any Shape You Take, she sings “Was it something I said? / Was it something I did?” with a tortured desperation. But on All of This Will End, many of her introspective lyrics are colored with a wistful acceptance: “There is nothing I can do / When the winds of change blow through / There is nothing I can say / to make you stay.” 

Those winds of change have transformed the Asheville-based songwriter, too, in the six years since she released her debut LP, I Love My Mom

“I think I’ve become more trusting of myself in a lot of ways but then also a lot more jaded. The subjects of my songs are heavy, and that’s how I also feel in the world,” she says. “I feel like I have my feet on the ground way more than I did when I was young, but I still also don’t have my feet fully on the ground. And yeah, that’s OK.”

Taking up space

All of This Will End, the third album from Indigo De Souza, has been called the 26-year-old songwriter’s most optimistic. Courtesy: Saddle Creek

That self-trust manifested in the creation of the album itself, her first that she co-produced with Asheville producer Alex Farrar — who’s worked with fellow local breakouts Wednesday and MJ Lenderman — as she navigated how much she “wanted other people’s opinions to matter.” 

The result is an album that’s more sonically diverse than previous efforts and just as disarmingly earnest. Oscillating between bright, synth-y pop tracks (“Smog,” “Time Back”) and grunge-tinged, cathartic songs like “Always” and “Wasting Your Time,” she recorded the album over several months during the pandemic, the first time she experienced the freedoms of living alone. 

“Just being in solitude and feeling like I could make whatever sounds I wanted, or think or say whatever I wanted — it felt like I could take up as much space as I needed to,” she says. 

But De Souza doesn’t do it all alone. She’s currently collaborating on a pop-focused album with Elliot Kozel, who’s worked with big names like Lizzo and SZA. And like her previous two album covers, De Souza’s mom painted the artwork for All of This Will End

ANGELLA CHOE “As crazy as life can get, it feels like nature is always there to hold us,” says Indigo De Souza. Credit: Angella Chloe

For De Souza, the art represents the struggle between the natural world and the one we’ve built: “How much nature is a part of us but also how much we ruin it and how much we fight against it — I really just was feeling a sadness around that and wanted to depict that in the painting.”

The natural world — and our impact on it — is a grounding force throughout her music, too, as she runs her fingers through the water or looks up through the smog. 

“Nature just feels like the center of everything, and it feels like it has a lot to teach us and a lot of ways of healing us and it is just so innocent and organic,” she says. “And it’s true. It’s like, very, very true. As crazy as life can get, it feels like nature is always there to hold us.”

De Souza sees herself in nature too. “When I was younger, younger and dumber / Built like a flower,” she sings on the culminating ballad of All of This Will End

Despite all her growth, De Souza doesn’t look back on who she was before with contempt. The song is a love letter to her younger self.  

“I would probably tell her that the most important thing above everything else is to love yourself and have to find a centeredness and groundedness and to be best friends with yourself,” she says. “None of the other connections in life are possible without that.” 

ON THE BILL: Indigo De Souza with Humbird. 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, Gothic Theatre, 3263 S. Broadway, Englewood. $25