Eliot Sumner finally feels good about rock ‘n’ roll again.
The youngest daughter of Sting and Trudie Styler signed a multialbum deal with Island Records when she was 17 and released an electro-pop album under the name I Blame Coco in 2010.
But the 25-year-old former Burberry model didn’t feel comfortable with any of it - the band name, the music or the way her image was being glossed over and manipulated. So she did the only thing that made sense - start over.
Ditching nearly everything surrounding that first album, Sumner reinvented herself, releasing a new debut under her own name in January. And while the 12 songs on “Information” still retain a solid pop sensibility, Sumner’s growth as a lyricist and songwriter is exponential.
Dark, timely, and loaded with synth-filled Krautrock overtones, “Information” not only showcases Sumner’s amazing voice, its maturity promises bigger and better things to come from the multi-instrumentalist songwriter.
But first things first. Next up are appearances at the Jimmy Kimmel show, SXSW, and New York’s Governor’s Ball, starting with a five-date North American tour that kicks off March 5 in San Diego at the Soda Bar.
Eliot Sumner + guests
When: 8:30 p.m. March 5
Where: Soda Bar, 3615 El Cajon Blvd., City Heights
“I’m excited,” Sumner told DiscoverSD by phone from her London flat. “We played 33 dates across North America last year, but we were supporting. Now we have a chance to do a little headline tour and the songs have only gotten better. But the live show, to me, should always be about more than just playing what’s on your album. And I can’t wait to play again.”
To ensure fans were not confused by the transformation, the singer eased them into it slowly. Sumner released two EPs and a handful of videos ahead of “Information,” so there were no real surprises when the official LP was released last month.
“The previous project was such a departure from what I’m doing now,” she said. “I didn’t want to just put an album out and say ‘that’s it.’ By putting out tracks and giving out free songs, it gave me a chance to start a fan base again. And that felt like the right thing to do. I’m really happy with the way things are now, and I’m going to keep putting out EPs and records.”
That is, when the current string of live dates wrap up. And if the last few years have taught the musician anything, it’s that the process takes time to get right. So while there’s no real timetable for the next release, just moving forward naturally should make things easier.
“I’ve started writing songs again,” Sumner said, “which is good because I think the hardest thing to do is finish something once you’ve started. And now I have total freedom to do whatever I want. And I don’t feel the pressure of any other songs that I’ve committed to. I don’t know what the next album is going to smell like exactly. But I’m working on it.”
Scott McDonald is a writer, on-air personality and consultant with 15 years of experience in the San Diego music scene. He has interviewed hundreds of artists, from the legendary to the underground, for print and television. Follow McDonald and his melodic musings on Twitter @eight24_ or Instagram @scotteight24. Send your music musts to firstname.lastname@example.org.