For Manhattan’s Allegra Krieger, the most propulsive inspiration comes from ephemeral moments in everyday existence. Minutiae have their own lustrous beauty that captures Allegra’s gaze, and after each reflective instance, another track from Precious Thing is born. Backed with a gorgeous tapestry of classical strings, keys, pedal steel, and more, each track from Precious Thing is an extended moment where Allegra has found a beauty so fleeting it risks going unnoticed.
The skill Allegra’s noticing eyes and discerning ears possess are immediately apparent on the record’s opening track, “Wake Me If I’m Asleep,” whose awakening instrumentals blossom into a propulsive, vocal-forward call. Allegra’s crystalline voice is the record’s load-bearing wall, necessitating the listener’s full attention as the instruments settle in. The lyrics are stark, calling forth memories one by one and allowing them ample time to grow into full-fledged narratives.
Before Precious Thing was released back in March, we hopped on Zoom with Allegra to talk about Floridian memories, hearty meals, and solo road trips. Additionally, Allegra captured her latest excursion to see friends and family in northern Florida – check out our conversation with those photos interspersed below.
Slumber: I love this quote from the album bio: “At the heart of this album is a young, working woman asking ‘Do you see this right now? I can’t be the only one.’” Can you elaborate on how that headspace manifests for you?
Allegra Krieger: I also loved that writeup that my friend Melissa wrote – I felt very seen by it. She got it the way that I wanted anyone to get it. In this album, and on my newer stuff generally, I’ve switched gears and want to dial into the small details of daily life. I focus on abstraction and reflection on how beautiful, how sad, how meaningful these details can be. I’ve been thinking a lot about memory and how these small, visceral memories of a moment that can seem long gone can still be tapped into. When you tap into that moment so deeply, it can bring newfound meaning to the front.
Slumber: On your Bandcamp page for Precious Thing, you genre tag the record with “small,” “openness,” and “stories.” How do those tags come to life for you?
Allegra: I made this album in 2020 and since then, I’ve been writing a lot of short songs and I had a habit of just putting them up on Bandcamp for brief moments of time. I think that Precious Thing is the entryway for me into that honest, hyperrealist songwriting I have gotten into. My life is pretty basic and normal – I have my job, I have my apartment, and like anyone, I have everything in between. So I’ve been trying to write that experience honestly and relate that in a way that other people can identify.
Slumber: You mention that so much of the writing and recording dates back to 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic – how did the pandemic affect your creative processes?
Allegra: This album was written 2019 into early 2020, and during that time I was in this relationship that I felt was unraveling. With the pandemic, so much felt heightened and brought a lot of things to light. So when I recorded the album, I felt like I was escaping my current situation. It’s funny how the songs are little memories of that time right before the pandemic and into the very beginning of it. Now, I see that I knew the relationship was over before it was over.
I didn’t write a whole lot during the pandemic itself; I wasn’t in a place to write, but I wrote “Precious Thing” in April and chose it for the title track because it embodies that theme of watching something leave and wanting to hold onto it. With the pandemic, lots of people’s daily lives were shattered in a big way and we all had to think about what was important, what was nourishing us. I wasn’t super creative in the pandemic, but some things came about, and recording the album was such a release for me.
Slumber: Oh yeah! For Precious Thing, you traveled all the way to Marin, CA from NY to record. How was the experience of recording in such a disparate atmosphere?
Allegra: It was weird! My intention initially was to go on a road trip with my partner at the time and some friends. It fell through and I decided to go by myself. It was very eerie driving across the country, sleeping in my car, and stopping in places to walk around all alone.
Nothing was happening; there was still this uneasiness around the country. When I got to California, I had a wonderful time recording. It was on the coast and it was the first time in a while that I’d felt that feeling of joy. I ended up staying in California for a couple months and then drove back to the east coast. I needed a change in perspective. It was really nourishing.
“I've been thinking a lot about memory and how these small, visceral memories of a moment that can seem long gone can still be tapped into. When you tap into that moment so deeply, it can bring newfound meaning to the front.”
Slumber: What is the story behind the photo on the record’s cover?
Allegra: That is from my childhood in Florida. It’s my Dad throwing me up in the air. The picture was taken by my Grandpa. I love that photo. I think that photo is, for me, so big because I look so happy and joyful and scared all at once, and I think it was captured perfectly. I think the album itself reflects on loss, memories, and trying to hold onto these moments when something happens and then it’s gone. I like that picture a lot and see the throughline between the picture and the album.
Slumber: You’ve been open about your staunch Catholic upbringing across your discography – what kind of music were you exposed to in that upbringing and how has it influenced what you make?
Allegra: My Mom taught children’s choir in church, so I was around music through her. She’s a really beautiful singer. I also played classical piano and took lessons in the church. The music I listened to growing up in Florida was heavily country and my mom listened to a lot of Christian pop. My Dad listened to a lot of ‘70s singer-songwriters like Neil Young. There was a mix of devotional music and rock songwriters. I’m sure that had some sort of influence on my musical taste. I didn’t get into music outside of my piano until really late in high school. I found my own influences from exploring different avenues around.
“I think that Precious Thing is the entryway for me into that honest, hyperrealist songwriting I have gotten into. My life is pretty basic and normal – I have my job, I have my apartment, and like anyone, I have everything in between. So I’ve been trying to write that experience honestly and relate that in a way that other people can identify.”
Slumber: Can you tell us a little bit about what you captured on camera for this feature?
Allegra: I think I left my camera in Jacksonville, but I have all these photos on my phone. But I was in Florida for my friend’s wedding; I played piano for the ceremony. It was very interesting. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a lot of those people. The wedding was in Gainesville, then I went to Jacksonville and stayed with my parents’ friends. We rode bikes on the beach. I captured memories from my time there and the coast.
Slumber: Is there a particular song that you’re excited to perform live / have most enjoyed performing live?
Allegra: Yeah, I love playing two of them and “Precious Thing” is one of them. If I’m in the right zone it makes me feel very emotional. I also like playing “The Circumstance.”
Slumber: If you could invite anyone, dead or alive, to a Precious Thing release show, who would you invite?
Allegra: One person I would invite because she was such an inspiration for this album and musically overall is Judee Sill. I feel like her music has this holy quality. I love all the arrangements on her records. I think her song “Lopin’ Around Thru the Cosmos” is the most important song to me and I would love, I would be honored, if she were present for the release show.
Slumber: What’s a good meal or beverage to pair with Precious Thing?
Allegra: If you drink alcohol, some red wine! And a single steak. But if you don’t eat meat or drink, that’s pretty exclusionary.
Slumber: Portobello steak and grape juice?
Allegra: Or sparkling water. I feel like the fizzy bubbles go through the head nicely.
Slumber: What are some things you hope listeners get out of Precious Thing? What have you gotten out of it that surprised you or gives you energy?
Allegra: I always feel very comforted at the end of the record because it feels so dreamy while grasping at air and then it ends with “Walking” which feels hopeful and realistic. I just hope that people feel comforted by it in some way or gather the sense of release I feel.
Check out Allegra Krieger’s record Precious Thing, out now via Northern Spy, below: