Lady Lazarus is the solo project of Melissa Ann Sweat, a singer-songwriter, artist, and creative writer from San Jose, Calif. currently living in Austin, TX.
Since her first release, Mantic in 2011, Lady Lazarus has received significant attention for her singular brand of spirited and enchanting, “dream folk-pop” composed for mainly voice and keyboard/piano. Among Lady Lazarus’ influences are Tom Waits, Guided By Voices, Joanna Newsom, Bill Callahan, and Vashti Bunyan; she has garnered comparisons to the latter three, as well as to Cat Power, Grouper, Regina Spektor, Daniel Johnston, Erik Satie, and Philip Glass.
In 2013, while living in Los Angeles, Lady Lazarus self-released her second album All My Love In Half Light to wide acclaim, including an LA Weekly feature, a 7.8 album review from Pitchfork, NPR music video premiere, and more. A highlight of the year was opening for Youth Lagoon on two nights—one at the historic El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles.
Just before moving to Joshua Tree, in January 2014 Lady Lazarus recorded a new album of songs almost entirely on baby grand piano and for the first time in a professional studio, L.A.’s Pacifica Studios. The new album features—also for the first time—instrumentation by Producer/Engineer John Keller and orchestral percussion by Gary Mallaber (Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, Steve Miller Band). Later that year in May, All My Love In Half Light was re-released worldwide on vinyl, CD, and digital by LebensStrasse Records, garnering new accolades from Fader, Clash Magazine, BBC Radio 6, Impose Magazine, and others.
Lady Lazarus released her latest album, Miracles, on March 3, 2015 on her new label, Queen’s Ransom. The album received praise from The New York Times, Consequence of Sound, Magnet Magazine, AltSounds, Diffuser, and many more.
Read some press highlights from Lady Lazarus’ career below.
“For her third album, Melissa Ann Sweat, a.k.a. Lady Lazarus, was inspired by her journey in overcoming depression and addiction, and moving in a positive direction.” –The New York Times
“Melissa Sweat delivers the best album of her career so far.” –Consequence of Sound
“8/10″ -Magnet Magazine
“…an emotional and spiritual reawakening…” “86%” –AltSounds
“We’re really enjoying ‘Miracles’ and the rest of the tracks from this new session with Lady Lazarus.″ –Daytrotter
“Diffuser is beyond excited to premiere a gorgeous new track from Miracles…” –Diffuser.FM
“…there’s an intensity to her performance which echoes that within the music…” –Clash
“Grandiose and minimally arranged… an intriguing taste of more to come on the full-length LP, Miracles.” –Flood Magazine
“…languid and surreal…” –NPR
“As Lady Lazarus, California dreamer Melissa Ann Sweat crafts intimate miniatures, mostly for solo voice and piano, then slowly drowns them in oceans of reverb… It’s impossible to decide whether the music is constantly changing or totally still, a strangely placid kind of tension that never fails to draw me in.” –Pitchfork
“Sweat introduces her aptitude for creating singular songs, soaring beyond what her previous work foreshadowed.” –Consequence of Sound
“In choosing the moniker Lady Lazarus for her musical output, Melissa Ann Sweat has ensured that her recorded work be set apart from the mundane.”
“As Lady Lazarus, Melissa Sweat joins a line of female artists including Joan Didion, Cat Power, Sylvia Plath, Fiona Apple and Joni Mitchell, for whom the act of creation is less a hobby and more a lifeline of confession and catharsis. On her recently released sophomore album, All My Love in Half Light, Sweat presents a suite of experimental surrealist pop, both minimal and deep, as haunting as it is enchanting.”
“Hear Lady Lazarus’ beautiful, ‘Wonder, Inc.’, a lovely and chilling cut off Melissa Ann Sweat’s All My Love In Half Light.” –SPIN
“In her hauntingly primitive music, bloodless conflicts were waged: between the liquid weightlessness of dream-pop and the earthy tactility of folk, the cloudy drift of Erik Satie and the lightning pulses of Philip Glass. ‘Lapsarian’ the lead track from Lady Lazarus’… All My Love In Half Light, resolves those conflicts in dramatic fashion.“
“…this time she sounds clearer, grander, and more in control of herself and the world she’s creating.“
“Her debut album Mantic was released in 2011 to a flurry of critical acclaim…” –Paste Magazine
“The minimalistic song structures here and classic instrumentation, together with Sweat’s voice, are what make such imagery palpable. An elegiac quality pervades the work, steeped in the melancholy of a ghost adrift on the marshes of Wuthering Heights…” –PopMatters
“Mantic thrives on the sense of being alone with the last voice in the world. Lots of people use music to try and escape their living rooms, but Lady Lazarus seems more interested in inviting us into hers.”
“Her work’s hushed and homemade, ambitious, affecting, and oddly polished in its specificity.” –Stereogum
“Like listening to the upcoming James Blake record, Mantic shows the magic that space can create. And Lady Lazarus, whose name likely comes from a Sylvia Plath poem, knows how to use lack of sound to accentuate the actual sounds.” –Beats Per Minute