Azniv Korkejian is still getting used to her career as a singer-songwriter. For the first time, Korkejian (who goes by the stage name Bedouine) is managing the responsibilities of pursuing a full-time career after the release of her self-titled album. “I was fazed with this kind of newness, when it comes to decision-making and being my own boss,” Korkejian tells Apple Music. “The insecurities that come from being a person that has to make a lot of decisions and be very collaborative, something that used to be so private and personal. And the insecurities that come from projecting what people may think of you because of that.”
On her second album, the Syria-born, LA-based songwriter adds new flourishes of instrumentation to her hushed acoustic folk. Led by her delicate voice, “One More Time” and “Sunshine Sometimes” use slide guitars, bass viola, and brushed percussion to guide her arrangements. Lyrically, Korkejian likes to describe natural images and how they influence our emotions and experiences, like on “Bird” and “Hummingbird,” where she uses simple and direct bird imagery to illustrate the feeling of fleeting love: “I would have tried to replace those metaphors because they’re so commonly used, but I went against my better judgment,” she says. “So I embraced that. The 'killjoy' part of the album title is me leaning into those things that you might be insecure about and owning them like a badge of honor.”
Korkejian added orchestral elements to embellish songs like “Dizzy” with composer/arranger Trey Pollard—who’s also worked with Natalie Prass and Matthew E. White—directly inspired by classic French film noir scores: “I’ve always imagined it like being in a film. Like there’s a heist happening and it’s really dramatic, and people are running away in slow motion.” “Dizzy” builds into jazz-pop, presenting a new challenge for Korkejian in terms of how the song would take shape. “I always prefer to be understated,” clarifies Korkejian. “Even with the orchestration, it still feels so tasteful to me. The only thing you can do is really honor the songwriting and let it come to fruition case by case, and keep the larger context in mind.”
Korkejian also adds humor into her songs—the bossa-nova-tinged “Echo Park” may comes across as a critique on the increasingly gentrified Los Angeles neighborhood, but it’s actually about how she couldn’t comfortably sit and work at her favorite café anymore. “It started as a joke. It touches on how it’s changed so rapidly in the nine years I’ve been there, so it’s an observation of the newer generation—which you can argue I’m part of that echo chamber,” she explains.
Even if Korkejian had a stricter deadline to write Killjoy—unlike the luxury she had for her self-titled album—she felt less intimidated with the changes that came her way. “There’s good things and there’s paralyzing things that can come off of that,” she explains. “Thankfully, I’ve always written steadily. So when I went into the recording process, I was pretty familiar with what I was going to record. Having become familiar with what it’s like to release a record and tour—and being in the midst of touring—made me more self-aware than the first record, for better and for worse.”