For a budding musician, what could be more serendipitous than a Grammy Award right at the start of their career?
That is the position singer-songwriter Foxes found herself in back in 2014, when her work on Zedd's "Clarity" nabbed the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording. Nearly 10 years after its 2012 release, the generational anthem still manages to make crowds go gaga.
"I was like, 'Oh, wait a minute. I’ve just been writing in a bedroom, and I’m suddenly in LA holding a Grammy! I don’t really know how to deal with this!'” reflected the Brit in a recent interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
"I don’t really think I was a pop act," she remembered. "The major label I was with put me in a box...I was trying to be the thing I wasn't."
Today, "Clarity" has amassed a whopping 396 million streams on Spotify alone. Foxes' acoustic version has garnered an additional 12.5 million plays. But as much as the track was a blessing for Foxes' career, it also became a pressure-packed pigeonhole she just couldn't seem to shake.
And so after two wildly successful albums and a viral cover of Pharrell Williams' "Happy," Foxes decided to take a lengthy hiatus in 2016.
"Am I actually happy like this?" she thought at the time. "For me, it’s more about the art you’re making, rather than the popularity you’re creating."
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Foxes was ahead of her time. While creative breaks may now be wildly accepted—and even encouraged—they were certainly not the norm seven years ago. Still, Foxes took a pause with her eyes wide open, knowing that it very well may have been the end of her career, she said.
Luckily, in 2020, she emerged unscathed and renewed.
First came "Love Not Loving You," a dance banger interwoven with indie rock, dance-pop and disco. The song was followed by a slew of lyrically complex singles, and now, Foxes is gearing up for the February 11th release of her third studio album, The Kick. The record's most recent single, the feel-good anthem "Absolute," is out now via [PIAS] Recordings. Infectiously upbeat, it pairs a four-on-the-floor dance beat with bouncy drums, dazzling synths and a honeyed chorus.
Yet while the breathy, crystalline vocal tone of "Clarity" remains, Foxes' new work feels reinvigorated and fresh.
"This time I think I wanna lose control," she sings on "Absolute." "Is it moving you, moving you, moving you?" And her fans are reacting better than ever, as quantified by last year's Spotify Artist Wrapped figures.
"The pressure's been taken off, and I feel like I'm now writing songs that really feel real," Foxes added. "They're coming from a place that's where I was originally at. It also allowed me to go off exploring different sounds and different ways of writing."