The body of work is a collection of four songs that have been building in Wilcox’s mind and notebooks for a period of nearly six years and represent an introspective examination on themes of love, honesty, disillusionment, and the realization that at the end of the day, all we’re left with is ourselves.
When I spoke with Wilcox, she had just had the misfortune of losing her beautiful, teal blue guitar at a show in Charlotte the night before. I expected her to be angry.
Instead, she expressed gratitude for everyone who was helping to spread the word and offering instruments of their own: “It’s a moment to really appreciate how beautiful the universe is and how wonderful your community is,” she said. “And I feel very loved and supported and seen.”
It’s clear that Wilcox is the type of person who practices finding and acknowledging the sliver of goodness in a bleak situation, a kind of thoughtfully considered, group-minded positivity that has sprung out of a season of renewal for the artist (over the course of a few years, Wilcox decided to abandon alcohol and set aside an abusive relationship).
“My creative inspiration absolutely comes from life experience and from things that have happened to me and it’s usually my way of processing it,” said Wilcox. “I’ve been doing a lot of inward observation and nurturing and healing and just re-centering and finding out who I am again.”
This reflection is clear throughout It’s Okay, which presents a progression of thoughts of longing, yearning, and, ultimately, being ok with, as Wilcox puts it, “being your own number one lover.”
The EP is rich with incisive lyricism, rugged truthfulness and stubborn optimism, Wilcox’s undeniably sexy, soulful, warm honey vocals, and toothsome Americana instrumentation. The songs were written in a different chronological order than they appear on the EP, but Wilcox decided to place them in a specific lineup to best represent her train of thought.
Recording It’s Okay was a labor of love that saw its roots in bandmate Steven Cathcart’s basement during the pandemic. The process took Wilcox and her crew longer than initially expected, due to both the events transpiring in Wilcox’s own life and the loss of loved ones to Covid-19.
“Compassion and gentleness with yourself along the way. I feel like that’s what this EP really had to teach me…it’s ready when it’s ready. It wasn’t like anybody else’s timeline was bigger than mine. Right? But with other people releasing things I felt behind,” she said of her thought process during recording.
“But then I realized, no, you’re not. This is ok…you’re not in competition with anyone, just with yourself, trying to be better than you were yesterday. That’s it.”
This kind of honesty, both with oneself and others, is a trait that Wilcox values highly, both in terms of creating music and playing it live. She aims to be just as open onstage in the hopes that it might offer a bit of encouragement to the listener.
“I try to be extremely present with myself. I love to share my experiences with people and be honest and kind of give people a little bit of context with the songs because they can connect with them a little bit more,” she said. “The more honest I can be onstage, I find the more honest other people are able to be with themselves and not feel so alone.”
With a busy fall schedule that includes a performance at New Hampshire Women’s Folk Fest, as well as other stops throughout New England and Canada, Wilcox is looking forward to sharing her songs in unfamiliar environments, gaining a fresh perspective.
“Sometimes it’s like when you feel stagnant you gotta shake it up a little bit in order to kind of challenge yourself, and I feel like perspective is one of them,” she said. “And so right now I feel like that’s what this tour is gonna be kind of doing for me is like I’m about to embark and really get to experience a whole different region.”
Wilcox is also excited to be surrounded by a bunch of fellow badass women.
“Babes supporting babes,” she said. “That is what it is all about.”
Stream It’s Okay by Darby Wilcox and the Peep Show below.