BER Lets Us in on the Healing Process in 'Halfway'
Photo: Lauren Kim
Great theatre is always about being able to pivot, adapt on the fly, and carry the audience at a minimum halfway with you. Turns out that mitigating a global pandemic while in London and transitioning to becoming a full-time artist at the same time requires a very similar skillset. Ber, the St. Paul-based artist, born Berit Dybing, has taken a period of turmoil and made it a tutorial on how to lose yourself, find yourself, and coalesce grand concepts into delightfully approachable stories. Ber’s ability to tell a rhythmically captivating high and low tale was made obvious from her debut EP, And I'm Still Thinking About That, with its breakout hit "Meant To Be," a delicious, mellow gumdrop of a duet.
During the pandemic, using the internet and its brittle proxy version of hanging out, Zoom, Ber, surrounded by trusted voices, began to evolve, or rather deconstructed into scaring herself, resulting in a more raw indie pop vibe, which sonically pairs perfectly with her emotive voice and keenly self-aware lyricism. Halfway is an uncompromising representation of a self-described "very messy state of my life," full of vignettes of a recent graduate, stepping onto life’s first platform only to find it unloved and teetering. But like all great turmoils, an artist can prop up the anxiety, discovery, "crying and real feels" into a work of art.
“I wrote this 6-song EP about not being over a boy that ghosted me (but really trying to be),” Ber shares. “They all come from that funny and uncomfortable place in between heartbreak/happy and paint a picture of how I felt when I finally felt like I was Halfway through my breakup.”
In Halfway, songs are a diverse reduction from hundreds of ideas, the best ones arriving as buoyant and rising gems like "Boys Who Kiss in Their Car," a punishingly coy song with some gnarly chorus guitars to punctuate the pain. It is a moment balanced by the more mellowly delivered but also petty and funny "Your Internet Sucks," a pulsating confessional that shows both Ber’s range and remarkable imagination for revenge. Halfway is just that, a point in time when a young artist starts to find her voice, delivering on her adept songwriting but flavoring it with a layered vision that spells long-term success. Whatever the length or future pivots, Halfway warrants a long listen, and be sure to spin it all the way through, it’s too poignant to be left half-baked.
Listen to Halfway below: