“I always look at past records like prom dresses,” explains San Francisco based singer-songwriter Debbie Neigher. “At the time you thought you were just the star — you felt so awesome, and you thought that you were wearing the most beautiful dress in the world…And then, you look back at photos, and you’re like, ‘How did I walk out of the house in that?'”
Neigher has been a songwriter in the Bay Area for around seven years, and right now she is in a period of transition. After touring piano-based music for almost a decade, she came to the point of reflection. “I just realized a few years ago that I hadn’t…actually listened to that type of music in a long time. It was kind of just what I’ve always done…I just wasn’t actually inspired by that kind of music anymore,” confides Neigher.
So she did what all good musicians do at these moments: she changed. Out went the carefree piano melodies, in went a synthesizer. “I made a rule for myself that I wasn’t allowed to use any piano!” she says. This new vision led her to her latest moniker, Lapel.
A few hours before our interview she shares her as-yet-unreleased album under the new name. The difference is stark — there’s a fusion of genres: pop, R&B, dance. Whereas her previous albums sounded more organic, this album feels like a melting pot of ideas wrapped in a blanket of electro samples.
Among all this change, she has not disregarded her old music — as much as it is a dress she may not wear at the moment, Neigher remains proud of the work she created. “Every record is a snapshot of wherever you were in life,” she says. “I still am really, really proud of my past records because that’s who I was…I still think that the production is great and the songwriting is good. But there’s always a little bit of cringe; a healthy little sprinkle of cringe.”
The third song on the album is called “Less of a Woman.” It is a conversation between two women about reproductive rights and choice. “I felt like I really wanted somebody to tell me, or just women in general, that your reproductive choices or abilities