written by Maria Arroyo
Letitia VanSant releases her heart-wrenching and empowering sophomore album, Circadian, today. What was just supposed to be a 2-song EP turned into a full-fleshed album about some very important topics in her life. She actually recorded most of the songs only two or three times to keep things as authentic as possible.
She said, “people are going to either like my singing or they’re not, and splicing and dicing to get the perfect take would probably hurt more than it helped.” Reading her bio alone made me into a fan. Everything that she stands and fights for is spilled into her music, making it impossible to keep from falling in love with the album.
Letitia VanSant is an indie and folk singer/songwriter from Baltimore, Maryland. Circadian touches on topics that range from a large spectrum of her own personal accounts. She explores and shares her experiences with everything from politics to depression and sexual assault. She talks about different people and moments in her life, one being a songwriter by the name of Jimmy LaFave, who died and left a mark on VanSant. The title Circadian is actually inspired by the inability of fireflies to find mates due to light pollution.
Diving straight into a very tough personal memory is her song “You Can’t Put My Fire Out.” Throughout the song, there are hints of some reverb-soaked vocals that create a sort of whisper in the recording. Her vocals soar above all the instrumentation, and her story follows right behind. This song is the story of her personal encounter with sexual assault. Even now, this topic is very sensitive to many people. I always think the job of a songwriter is to tell your story in hopes that someone out there can take something away from it. It’s songs like this that remind me why I became a songwriter, and right off the bat, she has inspired me.
Her next song, “Tin Man” is about the problems that men in this society face. Growing up, most boys are taught that showing emotion is a sign of weakness. She explores this idea and shows that it’s these very ideologies that can create problems down the road. These same expectations show themselves in their future relationships. It’s almost as if she is telling a story from a women’s perspective, but in order to understand how we got there, we need to see it from the men’s’ point of view as well. Her storytelling abilities are not shy in this song, and really continue to show just how much she is offering to the world through her music.
VanSant seems to take a lot of influences from pop-country and contemporary artists. Her incredible storytelling abilities along with her beautiful vocals work hand in hand in these genres, so it’s no wonder her stories come across so smoothly. “Spilt Milk” is another favorite for me because it takes this concept of a very simple phrase, and turns it around on itself into something more. Her concept shines exceptionally bright in this song with lyrics like “some things are worth fighting or… some things are worth dying for… Sometimes spilt milk is worth crying for, but I was too careless to know…”
Letitia VanSant is so much more than just a woman who writes songs. She stands up for all that is good and wholesome in the world and does it authentically. She is not afraid to tell her story and wants to share her views with the world. This album truly is a game-changer and has become a favorite for me. She resurfaced so many emotions and memories that I thought I had buried deep in my mind, but in the best way. She has a way of connecting to her listeners in a way that feels honest and personal. This album is truly something special and has the potential to change a lot of lives for the better.