SHARON VAN ETTEN PAINTED BY SEBASTIAN BLANCK.
“Are you among the ones you love?” asks a new track from musician and painter Sebastian Blanck. Titled “Among the Ones You Love,” the song is a soulful blend of folk and rock, featuring none other than singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten. Over the acidic twang of electric guitar, Blanck and Van Etten’s voices meld, asking the listener to reflect on a lofty subject: the afterlife.
“This song was sparked by the idea of heaven,” explains Blanck, who imagined what it might be like to speak once more with someone who has passed away. “I’m not religious, and don’t believe in an afterlife, but I understand why it’s such a comforting hope to people. It’s a wonderful dream to think you can be reunited with someone you lost and still love.”
The concept initially came to life on canvas (in 2014, Blanck used the same title for a painting exhibition) but when set to music, took on new meaning. Blanck describes its progression as that of an “old spiritual,” which reaches its peak in a final refrain featuring Van Etten. “That’s when Sharon’s voice takes the song to another level,” says Blanck. “I’m a real believer in the duet format. I think it adds potency to the narrative of a song to have it sung from two perspectives.”
Collaborating with other artists is key to Blanck’s work (he’s also a founding member of the band Black Dice), and for him, visual art and music are undeniably intertwined. He painted every featured artist on his forthcoming album Convince Me—which will be released next month and includes “Among The Ones You Love”—and has made a habit of gifting his collaborators their portraits as a thank you. “At this point, I have made quite a few paintings of Sharon,” he says, adding that he “couldn’t be happier” with how this song came together. “I think her performance is extraordinary.”
CONVINCE ME IS OUT JUNE 16, 2017. SHARON VAN ETTEN APPEARS COURTESY OF JAGJAGUWAR. FOR MORE ON SEBASTIAN BLANCK, VISIT HIS WEBSITE.