Over the twelve tracks, Wheeler personalizes the full spectrum of universal emotions, examines the human experience, and contemplates existential questions through blending vulnerable, honest songwriting with her own distinct "soul-gaze" sound–a combination soul and shoe-gaze.
While built out of personal experience, Songs of S + D allows Wheeler to observe the human condition through a necessary, discerning lens. With extensive instrumental and compositional knowledge, Wheeler uniquely melds genres, pushing beyond a conventional understanding of sound as she uses everything from electro-acoustic instrumentation, which she interpolates with analog and digital electronic processing, to metal tines of the African kalimba to the autoharp.
Throughout much of her work, Wheeler explores the porous, delicate lines between universal dichotomies such as good and evil, life and loss, and elation and devastation.
Songs of S + D distinctively asks what it might sound like to fuse the sounds that surrounded Wheeler in her childhood, from soul, to R&B, funk, and disco, with shoe-gaze. The album's recording process took place between Red Bull Studios Berlin and New York City, as well as Berlin’s Vox-Ton Studio. Wheeler expanded the record’s scope and quality with several collaborators including Melvin Gibbs, (electric bass) Marque Gilmore (drums, programmer) and Marika Hughes (cellist). Additionally, Joe McGinty and Kelvin Sholar added synths and synth bass lines, while Christian Prommer, Antonio Pulli, Simon Goff, Chris Tabron, and Evan Sutton engineered the recording. Veteran engineer Scotty Hard mixed the album, and Michael Fossenkemper mastered the recording.
Describing the meaning behind her LP, Wheeler says, “It’s a deeply personal album long time in the making. Inspired by my experience of having lived through 9/11 in New York City and the subsequent attempt to negotiate the aftermath of that time once I moved to Berlin, I began to write a series of songs addressing the larger human experience of life, loss, joy, ecstasy, sadness, and the connecting, universal condition, framed through the context of vivid, intimate vignettes. With a unique vocal, musical, and technological ability, Wheeler ultimately aims to connect listeners through finding common ground in the collective lived human experience. Wheeler explains, “While technology continues to evolve, the human voice remains constant in the singing of songs. With this project, I hope to share modern music with the world that speaks to our universal experiences and connect us through the simple, evocative themes in the narrative and emotional content of my songs.” Wheeler's expansive career includes work as a soloist, band member, featured artist, and even an immersive, multimedia performer. As a soloist, Wheeler has composed and performed her own pieces for Free Rotation Festival and New York’s Experimental Intermedia, Issue Project Room, and Bang on a Can Festival. Fact Magazine reported on her performance of one of her solo pieces called “Surrender to the Totality of Blackness,” which she presented at this year’s CTM Festival. Her journey also led her to collaborate and lead several band projects, including Wiremouth, Floating People, and BlowOut, in addition to her time with David Byrne on his tours throughout the U.S., Europe, and South America, and also, on The Late Night Show with David Letterman, where she made her television debut with Byrne. In addition to her appearance with Byrne on PBS’ Sessions at West 54th, Wheeler has recorded and played with countless musicians like Ryuichi Sakamoto, Chaka Khan, Vernon Reid, and more. Most recently, Wheeler performed at her official showcase at SXSW in Austin, TX on March 18th at The Hideout Theater, and shortly before that supported Jaimie Branch at Brooklyn's Baby's All Right on March 16th. Christina Wheeler's latest collection, Songs of S + D, intimately examines the human condition with intricate instrumentation and moving lyricism.