• Ben Pagani

The Road to Lily Konigsberg's New Single "Owe Me"

Photo By Jonah Peterschild. Design by Britt Miller

Lily Konigsberg of her own solo fame along with groups Lily & Horn Horse and Palberta released a new single titled “Owe Me” on Wednesday.

The song was written over two years ago but took a detour while Konigsberg has spent time touring and recording lots of music. She is excited to share it with the world. It is the first single promoting her upcoming compilation LP "The Best of Lily Konigsberg Right Now" which drops on May 21.

“It’s like you owe me something,” she sings with a voice that glides over your mind. It is wonderfully produced and mixed. Every second of the three and a half minute song has a new and exciting entity to offer.

Konigsberg has a brilliantly creative mind filled with musical genius. That is part of what makes this new release so special. Despite taking a back seat to other ventures, this masterful piece unveils what her brain can come up with. A brain filled with instincts that helped her out en route to releasing this new single.

That same thought process brought one of her paths to a screeching halt.

Lily & Horn Horse was touring the country with the indie-pop band of Montreal. She and Matt Norman make up the ‘Horn Horse’ portion of the group and were rocking out every night. Things had been going wildly well. Wharf Cat Records expedited seven-inches to sell on tour. They sold out at the merch stand quickly. That was a high point for her.

Unfortunately, it was early March 2020.

“Once we got to Chicago, I was really getting vibes,” she says. “This monitor guy did the elbow thing and everyone around me was talking about COVID-19. I was like, we got to go. We got to go.”

With two tour dates left, she made an executive decision. Lily & Horn Horse were dropping out of the tour.

“The tour manager called me,” she says. “‘Guess what? You made a great decision!’”

The next show was canceled 30 minutes before doors opened in Nashville.

By Konigbserg’s estimates, it would have taken her and Norman 24 hours to get back to their native New York City from there. The trip from Chicago was only 11.

That bump in the road did not stop Konigsberg from having a killer 2020. Her solo EP “It’s Just Like All The Clouds” released in March right before the pandemic. Lily & Horn Horse released an EP titled “Republicans for Bernie.” She also delivered “Laugh Now Cry L8r,” with singer and songwriter Lucy in September. Then, in early 2021, Konigsberg and her band, Palberta published their eighth album “Palberta5000” to critical acclaim.

“Owe Me” is the next step in the exciting upswing she has been on in recent years.

“I wrote it in Petaluma, California, like two and a half years ago,” she says. “It's more like a dance song. And I would sing it live with Matt. There was a basic recording that I made myself on GarageBand. The song just sat around. And then Matt added some keyboard-like riffs and touched up the beat. Then the song went to sleep for another year.”

That was until co-founder of Wharf Cat Records Trip Warner asked if she had anything else up her sleeve. She sat down with friend and producer Nate Amos from the Brooklyn duo Water From Your Eyes to finish “Owe Me.”

Photo by Jonah Peterschild

“I wrote every part by myself, but I use the skills of other people to enhance it,” she says. “I made it and they helped me make it the best banger possible.”

The song begins with a tight beat and transparent sounds; her voice is just an exclamation point. It is welcoming and complemented by the instrumentation.

“It’s like the wind against my skin is blowing me down,” she sings before a gust of high winds that sound like you are standing in an alley between two brick walls on the cloudiest autumn day provides a noticeable and empowering blow between your ears.

The song has several similar effects throughout. At one point she thanks “the audience” for coming to her show and receives applause. It concludes with rainfall that washes away a tune that feels like a wonderfully dreamy bedroom bop. It is beautifully layered with many musical elements including a hypnotic scale subtly being played over and over again in the background. Those elements, combined with the gentleness of her voice, welcome even the most casual listeners to walk away with an experience.

Konigsberg wants to reach the whole world with this song which she self describes as a “banger.”

Once while touring with Palberta, she crossed paths with one town so far off the grid that she is certain no one there will ever listen to her music.

“Our car broke down in Clarendon, Texas,” she says. “No one's ever heard of Clarendon, Texas. It's a six by six radius. Block town. It's very small. No one ever leaves. Everyone knows each other's last name and everything about each other. We had to stay there for a day."

A town like that may not be ready to hear the progressive style she plays so well and routinely.

“We were aliens to the people there,” she says. “We had to stay in a motel overnight. We went to a restaurant and this 16-year-old waitress was terrified of us. And we didn't even I didn't even look as crazy as I do now. I had dyed blonde hair at the time. But it was just that we gave off this completely different vibe than everyone in the town.”

'Crazy' by her account means sporting a new and awesome blue buzzcut.

Photo by Jonah Peterschild

Her passion for writing and performing has propelled her to share different songs with people across the country. When she was two years old she wrote her first song while swimming in Florida. She has been writing music ever since. To say she is ready to share her new single two years after first penning it would be an understatement.

“I was ready in 2018,” she says. “I was like ‘I'm ready. I'm gonna do it. Now. I'm gonna do the thing I have wanted to do since I was two.’ Now I'm really doing it.”

This new year is exciting for her to actually be “really doing it.” She announced a compilation LP featuring this single and all of her solo EP's. Several forthcoming plans with Palberta will be announced soon.

No matter how many people listen or see her perform, she still wants those she encounters to share her music.

“Take the idea and tell everyone,” she says.

In case you ever find yourself in a town like Clarendon, Texas, maybe you should exchange Konigsberg’s music with the people you meet. After all, you owe her something.


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