For nearly a decade, Sadie Dupuis
has been celebrated for her literary lyrics, accomplished guitar playing, and embodied ethos of empowerment, whether with rock band Speedy Ortiz
or the pop-oriented solo project Sad13
, which debuted in 2016 with Lizzo co-feature “Basement Queens.”
It was followed by the self-produced Slugger,
featuring “Get a Yes,” a glitter-bomb of an ode to consent, and other bedroom Top 40 tributes centering feminism and inclusivity. But in the ensuing years, reconciling with a delayed processing of grief, Dupuis felt unable to create new music.
At the Frye Gallery in Seattle, a ghost spoke to her—or an approximation of one. It was an early 20th century painting of the dancer Saharet by German expressionist Franz von Stuck, one of many haunted-seeming gold-framed oil paintings in the gallery: washed-out faces, under-eye circles, expressions that told stories. Looking at these portraits, she related. And she started to write.