Editors’ Notes As the old saying goes, artists have their whole lives to make their first album, and just months to conceive their second. For Montreal singer-songwriter Amélie Beyries, that prospect was doubly daunting given that she had already lived several lives prior to releasing her 2017 debut, Landing, at the age of 37. Beyries was a relative latecomer to music, having worked in PR before two battles with cancer in her late twenties prompted her to process that experience through song. But with that chapter of her life closed, Beyries’ second album was something of a blank canvas, and it took her some time to figure out how to fill it. “I was going through some very anxious moments, asking myself, ‘Am I going to be able to do this?’” Beyries tells Apple Music. “I really wanted to take my time and do the best songs. I needed to sit down and I needed to reflect and I needed to work.” On Encounter, inspiration ultimately came from a happier place—namely, a new relationship Beyries entered after the release of her debut. However, her intimate, incisive observations about romantic dynamics are counterbalanced by more sorrowful stories about loss, trauma, and the fragility of the human condition in an age of social-media-amplified political strife. And with that expanded perspective comes a more eclectic musical palette—spanning anthemic, festival-ready indie pop, ’70s-style orchestral soft rock, idyllic psych-folk, and grungy dirges—that lends her most tender affirmations a feeling of urgency, and her most rueful ruminations a therapeutic sense of uplift and catharsis. “I've realized this album talks a lot about death, and I also talk a lot about love,” Beyries says. “There's a balance between singing about this amazing loving relationship and the fear of losing people that you love. We are all going to suffer at some point in life, so why don't we embrace it? There's something very nice about going through it—like, when you really work hard, it is like suffering, but you are so proud of yourself after, because when you work hard, you get better results.” Here, Beyries offers her track-by-track assessment of how she got them.

What We Have
“A good friend of mine came into the studio and we started talking, and she had lost her lover from cancer. They wanted to get married before she died. And after my friend left my studio, I was like, 'Whoa, that's hard.' I don't really think when I write; I get very intuitive. I really like to be transported by whatever I'm feeling at the moment. I was just putting myself in her shoes, because she was telling me her girlfriend didn't want to die—she was not ready, she was not at peace with it. So the song is like a conversation between one lover who talks to the other one on the other side.”

Closely
“‘Closely’ was something I had started in 2010. I had a riff, I had the vibe and atmosphere, I knew the subject, pretty much. But there's so much that came in after. I had a very good friend who lost his dad from a heart attack—boom, just like that. And it really shook me. So I mixed in a lot of things I was going through. ‘Closely’ is about the lies we tell ourselves: Why do we keep on doing work we don't like? Why do we keep relationships that are not nurturing? When someone dies, you zoom in on something very basic, like, ‘Oh my god, now I need to do what I really want to.’ Obviously, I went through that kind of feeling when I was on the verge of maybe dying, and never knowing if the cancer is going to come back. So the fear of having hard conversations, the sudden death of someone you love—it's all crossing around on 'Closely.'”

Over Me
“This song is mostly about being very overwhelmed by life in general, and not being able to grab on to anything around you—you're losing control completely, and you have to accept that. Sometimes in your life, you're fucked, you're lost. Your own vision is off, it's not working anymore, you're paralyzed, and you need to let go.”

Keep It to Yourself
“You can be in a relationship where you fight with someone, but after that you think maybe it's a good thing, because you grow. Hard conversations are not comfortable, but they’re like growing pains. Some relationships are harder than others, but they can be really nurturing. 'Keep It to Yourself' is saying, ‘What happened between us is going to stay between us, but at the same time, I'm going to keep it to myself to help me grow, and this experience is going to be something brighter for me.'”

Into You
“You need to search for the right balance between being challenged by your lover and being able to live your life in the most happy way possible. When you meet someone that you're deeply in love with, there's this aspect of fusion where you just want to be with that person every second of your life. And this song really speaks about that perfect moment when you meet someone that really loves you as much as you love them.”

Out of Touch
“This song is describing the pure joy of falling in love—nothing more, nothing less. It's about being happy to be in this relationship and just feeling super grateful for it.”

Graceless
“I've been following US politics for a while now and I have a lot of friends who are journalists who are very, very worried. It's so disturbing, it's just like a bad dream. In my worst nightmare, I never would've imagined someone doing what Trump is doing. And 'Graceless' is asking: 'Are we going to survive that? Are we going to trash our planet? Are we that stupid?' It's a song about the lack of balance, the feeling of being manipulated by rich, crazy guys who are completely disconnected from basic human emotions and needs.”

The Story of Eva
“This has a grungy Nirvana influence. It’s a very dark story about a friend who confessed she was raped. This was back in 2015, and I started the song at that moment, because I was so shocked about what she told me. I finished it last year. And it was haunting me—you can't believe someone could do that. She was very, very young—an age where you can't imagine it could be happening. The abuse of some men on women is something that keeps me awake at night. I can't understand how you can be stronger physically, and abuse someone that is not, like a child or animal. So this is a very hard and very dark song, but I needed to get it out.”

Great Green Eyes
“I have a good friend who's an amazing musician, and we said to ourselves, ‘We should write a song together!’ So I went to his studio, and we started talking and drinking a glass of wine. I started playing guitar and I just started describing him. He always wears a hat, and he has great green eyes, so I mixed that with a trip I took to the Grand Canyon where I was overwhelmed by the immensity of it. I remember telling myself when I got there, ‘My brain is not able to process how amazing this is!’ So this song is like a breath of fresh air.’”

Nous Sommes
“I wrote this song with my good friend Maxime Le Flaguais. I write with him in French, because I'm not very confident writing in French. It's just not comfortable for me, and he's so good at it. We wrote this song two years ago. 'Nous sommes' means 'we are.' Maxime is someone who reads a lot of philosophy and is trying to understand every aspect of a human being, and trying to be very gentle and compassionate about what we are. We are completely crazy and stupid, but we also are amazing and super-extraordinary beings. So this song is about a mother who looks at her child and thinks, ‘You're a complete mess, but you're a marvel.’ It's a little reflection on what we are as human beings—we have dignity, but we're also horrible.”

Anymore
“I was doing this fundraising show, and there was this artist there that had cancer pretty much in the same time I had it, and she told me she had a relapse and she had to go through chemo again. And when I got out of the venue, I was just devastated. I was thinking to myself, ‘If it happened to me, would I go back through chemo?’ So I started going back to this period in my life where I couldn't get out of my bed, and you're so tired that you can't even get angry anymore. There's this irony there: You don't go outside, time is just completely torn, and you're wondering, 'Is this real life? Is this a dream? Is this a nightmare?' Time stops and it becomes very elastic and weird. This song is like an impression of that. It's about acceptance: Get on your knees and pray for the best.”

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