Unbroken by Aura Davis is a genre-bending song that reminds me of rock, but includes an undeniable pop element. And for that reason, it reminds me of early 2000’s pop-rock. But how does Aura herself describe it?
Ques. How would you describe the sound and vibe of Unbroken?
“Unbroken, in my opinion, brings together two things that I love the most – rock’n’roll & emotional songwriting. The sound to me is very melancholic, yet not cliche. Unbroken is definitely a game-changer for my music.If you listen to my other releases you’ll find multiple personality things going on. Unbroken is the first song that sounds exactly the way I want Aura Davis to sound. The song came incredibly easy and just felt more perfect with every minute we worked on it. There is more than just one guitar. The cold guitars that we added help create an atmosphere of melodic rock movement. And that makes me love it even more! “
Our Shared Fandom
So Aura Davis was always an artist at heart; she was writing poetry at 9! Her mental health struggles kept her away from music for some time, but at 22 she poured all her energy into what matters most. She stands for the straightforwardness of pop artists like Lennon Stella and Julia Michaels for their lyrical prowess. However, her music is inspired by progressive, melancholic rock. She quotes Porcupine Tree as one of her favorites, and I had to ask her about that!
Ques. You are a fan of Porcupine Tree, and so am I! How has their music impacted your life? And what are your favorite songs from the band?
“Porcupine Tree has not only affected my life, but I probably wouldn’t be here anymore if it weren’t for them.
“Ten years ago I found them, and at a point in my life where I didn’t know if I wanted to be alive or not. It was a really dark place. No matter where I turned, I just couldn’t see myself fitting in. There were many other things that lead up to that point of course, but I constantly felt ‘I don’t really feel I belong.’ That is when I heard Stop Swimming from the album Stupid Dream. And I have been a fan ever since. The whole first verse of that song feels accurate for me and the feelings I carry around all day. The whole concept of ‘maybe it’s time to stop swimming’ is an impulse I find deep within me every damn day.
“Another song that really does it for me is Blackest Eyes off an album called In Absentia. Musically, it is aggressive yet calm. Or just look at what they did with Hate Me. The saxophone part that Theo Travis brings into the solo part just takes you places. And just like Steven always says, ‘happy music makes me fucking miserable.’ “
Unbroken is a confident track – while there is a turmoil of emotions, the singer does not want to be fixed. She only needs comfort and support until she is in a position to hold her own once again. Once she is unbroken, she can build herself back up. It is quite clear that the lyrics come from a very personal place. Aura has not been shy from talking about her mental health struggles, so how does it impact her music, and the song Unbroken specifically?
Ques. You have not been shy from talking about her mental health struggles, so how does it impact your music, and the song Unbroken specifically?
“I have always been very open about my past and I will continue to do so if people ask me about it. Having foughtdepression most of my life, I am doubting myself and my actions pretty much all the time – my own worst best friend. Perhaps that has a lot to do with the fact that I’m just a total perfectionist at basically almost everything. I am incredibly hard on myself, and don’t really allow myself to celebrate small victories from time to time.
“That’s something I have been learning over the past couple of years. It is absolutely fine to feel like shit, but it is also absolutely fine to step back and take a moment to be proud of yourself. Music and writing, in general, have always helped me to cope with my feelings (which sometimes reaaaally drag me around.) I just write everything down. Literally whatever I have going on in my mind ends somewhere on a napkin or a paper. Further, I struggle a lot with anxiety.
“So when I was little I had this book that said ‘the more you face your fears the less scary they become.’ And well, the only thing I could do back then (I was 7 or 8 or something), to ‘face my fears was to write them down in front of me. And damn, it helped and still does. Writing became a habit. It’s not something ‘I actively do’ – because I really do it all the damn time. I also do it when I don’t. And that is basically how my music is impacted by my mental struggles really. I always say if I didn’t write, I wouldn’t sing.
“Unbroken talks a lot about someone who feels broken pretty much all the time. Someone who just can’t seem to getthings right anymore, someone who does stupid shit to keep them from going crazy, someone who constantly goes for weird actions no one ever could understand. It is about someone who is lost somewhere between the light and the dark. It is basically me saying “you can’t change how broken I am – but you can hold me while I try to fix it.” “
Musically, the song has a core beat and an electric/acoustic strum that is consistent. Many other instruments come and go gently. You can tell that each layer has been carefully added to bring out the emotional currency of the lyrics. One such element is the anticipating violin sound in the pre-chorus.
Ques. What is your process in the studio, and how do you go about building your tracks?
“You know, that depends. Oftentimes, I sit and write either on acoustic or electric guitar, and mostly never in the studio. I play around with melodies and chords or start from scratch with lyrics I had written. I just play for fun and when I come up with something I feel is worth exploring, I start to record what I do. Mostly just on my phone. I mostly try to finish the song on just one guitar. And once I am finished or even halfway there, I take it to the studio for further production ideas. Mostly other layers of instruments come in later.
“There’s no exact order or rule on how this process works. At times you work through the night, go back to listen to what you created the next day, and delete everything in the blink of an eye. And sometimes, that next day ends up being the day a song like unbroken is born. You never really know what happens and that’s what I love about the studio work.
“Just recently I started to write while recording. Which is a totally new way for me to explore my storytelling and combine it with musical emotions. So we produce a demo and I write lyrics while we’re writing the music. There’s a song called ‘Time’ which I’ll be releasing later this year. It was one of the songs that started and ended very quickly – in the studio, from beginning to end.
“Can’t wait to hear Time then! And it’s time for my final question to Aura.”
What’s next for Aura Davis?
Ques. What and when can I hear from you next? What’s in store for all of your listeners in the days to come?
“I have a few more songs to release this year. My next release will be a song called “Haunt Me”. It is a solid pop/rock ballad with a lot of unexpected drama I’d say. It will be yours this Fall. If everything goes the way I planned – we will also have another music video for it.
Other than that – I started to write my debut album now. Songs are just pouring out of me right now and I cannot stop myself from writing. I can’t really say anything specific about it yet, but it will have a lot of female-rock-indie-don’t-you-dare attitude to it. 😉“