Out now from Dora Jar: ‘Polly’ is taken from debut EP, Digital Meadow.
On her first ever project, ‘Digital Meadow’ digs into Dora Jar’s musical and emotional roots. Born in New York but raised in California, the 24-year-old’s early influences range from the rebel streak of Gwen Stefani and the dark drama of Stephen Sondheim musicals to her older sister, Lueza; who was born with cerebral palsy, and attended a music-focused, special educational establishment set up by Peggy and Neil Young (where Dora herself realised music was all she wanted to do in life). While the pair couldn’t communicate in a traditional manner, Dora says that the sisters had their own language, and a connection deeper than the conventional. The pair would watch movies on repeat together, including lots of Rodgers and Hammerstein films. “People make fun of musicals and how everyone breaks into song all at once, but actually life is kind of like that. I feel like there is a layer of life where even if it’s just a mundane moment, there’s a song going on. If life is a performance for the angels, which I think it is, there’s a layer of performance that I think we don’t even know that we’re doing,” Dora explains. “I think my sister really understood that, too. It’s kind of like she was meditating her whole life. She was just watching it all and accepting it all. She had to. She had a hard physical life, but I think she transcended it in a way that most people don’t get to as a result. She just witnessed and accepted. I’m still learning from that.”
Dora Jar started making music during a period where such philosophies were put to the test. After her sister died, Dora explored her grief through travel (moving to London, and her father’s family home of Poland), dabbling in magic mushrooms, and uploading little snippets of herself playing music to Instagram. She’s since found in producers like Felix Joseph, Ralph Castelli and Vron collaborators with whom she can let everything out, and transform herself. Again and again.
What’s emerged is Dora Jar’s debut EP, ‘Digital Meadow’ – an assured but remarkably eclectic body of work. The project was introduced by first single ‘Multiply’, which twisted influences of grunge, folk and rawly honest pop to breath-taking effect. Other EP highlights include ‘Opening’ (“caterpillars totally dissolve in the chrysalis before they form into a butterfly; I want to dissolve my sense of every day self everyday so I can fly”) and future alt-pop anthem, ‘Polly’, which is launched alongside the full project today. The results are variously existential – ‘Wizard’ was as inspired by Dora’s Halloween costume from when she was 7 as it was astrophysics – as they are deeply touching: ‘Garden’ faces up to your own toxicity and the search for divinity (“I am an absolute stan for Jung”), whilst ‘Quiver’ is that feeling of someone echoing through you, even if they’re not in your life anymore.
By the time ‘Digital Meadows’ closes on the resounding ‘Voice In The Darkness’, Dora Jar’s status as one of our most exciting new artists is in no doubt – not that she’ll stop there. “I am my truest form when I am changing shape, morphing sounds, and shifting my point of view. This project is an exploration of my impulse to shape-shift. That’s my ambition.” It’s all there, too, in the alias of Dora Jar itself: her Polish family name spliced in half, it leaves (as does ‘Digital Meadow’) a future open to possibility. “I want to leave the door ajar in my imagination. Let light seep through the crack.”