Anna Mieke will release her enchanting new song “Mannequin” and its beautifully shot, cinematic video, directed by Anna Heisterkam. The third single off her forthcoming album, Theatre—due out November 18th via Nettwerk—Anna Mieke says “Mannequin” was lyrically inspired in part by a Jane Kenyon poem, “Otherwise.”

“The first line of the song is one that repeats in the poem. There’s a feeling of being an observer, a witness, of being observed in performance, a play, and the rituals of moving through life. An acknowledgement of things coming to an end, and how nothing is meant to stay the same. A kind of imagined underworld exists in this song, too: it lives in a hot climate and I imagine a jungle, desert, tropical birds when I hear it. There’s a sort of darkness present: porcelain eyes, staring; blood; being consumed; a gun,” she explains. “I’d barely finished writing the song and hadn’t practiced it a whole lot when we recorded it, and Matt and Ryan, who play on the live core take, had barely heard it before, so there’s a sort of tension there—a hanging on to an edge. One reference I had for the arrangement of this song was the music composed for ‘Peter And The Wolf’ by Sergei Prokofiev.”

In the video, Heisterkamp adds: “It’s an assemblage of how it felt to listen to this song over and over with different lines standing out each time, and how it feels to move to a song someone has described to you before you listen to it properly. I wanted to look at the stark contrast between nothing and something slight, the feeling of falling and watching someone fall, distortion of the natural.” Theatre is now available for pre-order, and its previous single “For A Time” earned support from Cool Hunting, Guitar World, and more.

Theatre envelopes listeners in the warmth of Anna Mieke’s world, radiating with an intense heat that lies closer to the desert or the jungle than her hometown of Wicklow, Ireland. It’s the surreal soundtrack of a vast personal plain steeped in nostalgia, family, memory, death and dreaming—where gritty reality and romanticism meet. This duality is the thematic core of the album, but it’s ultimately more about sensation than theme. “Perhaps the music enables some form of dreamlike movement towards an imaginary place,” Anna Mieke says. “I’m just creating a sound world to escape to, built from moments in time. I hope it reminds someone else of their own experience…memories of youth infused with an intense warmth, like that childhood sensation of summer.” 

With influences ranging from Talking Heads and The Mamas & the Papas to Orchestre Baobab, Nusrat Ali Khan, West African kora and traditional Brazilian dance, the album’s vivid soundscapes mirror Anna Mieke’s lush and adventurous upbringing. A captivating artistic statement, Theatre finds Anna Mieke at her most assured and poetic as she contributes a challenging, exciting new voice to alt-folk.