Erica Reese Spirals Through Shoegaze on Hooky New Single “Pretty”

“This song feels like I’m finally leaning into my ‘sound,’” says Jacksonville singer-songwriter Erica Reese about "Pretty." | Courtesy of the artist

Ahead of her set at this weekend’s Winterland Six music festival, Jacksonville’s own Erica Reese has shared a shoegazing new single, “Pretty,” produced by her Coastal Creature collaborator Parker Dixon.

Awash in oceanic guitar tones and unflinching vulnerability, “Pretty” finds Reese’s narrator seeking external validation in what she knows deep down is a futile effort to fill some internal emptiness. “I’ve never hated myself more, but at least you think I’m pretty,” she murmurs in the song’s glittering bridge, as if all too aware of how little that kind of affirmation means when it’s coming from anywhere but within.

Even only as an instrumental, “Pretty” would be aptly titled—its woozy electric guitar riffs dart and shimmer like loose change tumbling to the bottom of a swimming pool, while Reese’s reverb-soaked vocals evoke a similarly sunny summer daze. A forceful dual guitar break reflects the song’s sense of emotional catharsis, as if both Reese’s narrator and “Pretty” itself are leaving no stone unturned.

“This song started out more like a spiraling monologue,” Reese recalls in a statement. “Parker Dixon and I began recording the song still half written, because we loved it so much. The chorus came later, from an old note in my phone that fell into my lap one day while we were recording. Production wise, I was inspired by shoegaze tones. Parker used a quarter as a pick to accomplish the screeching lead guitars.”

“This song feels like I’m finally leaning into my ‘sound,’” Reese added. “Ethereal reverb, synth pads, layered drums. Mild sarcasm. Lots of emotion.”

Reese takes Winterland’s main stage this Sunday, Feb. 25, at 1:30 p.m. ET. You’ll find the sixth-year festival in downtown Jacksonville’s James Weldon Johnson Park.

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