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Bess Atwell on her latest album, 'Light Sleeper'

Bess Atwell
Leo Sartain
Courtesy of the artist
Bess Atwell

Bess Atwell's third album, Light Sleeper, is sort of a full-circle moment for her. The Brighton, U.K., singer-songwriter started writing music when she was a kid, and found a major influence in Taylor Swift. So when Aaron Dessner, The National band member who has also produced for Swift, reached out to Atwell and wanted to produce her record, she jumped at the chance.

While it might be easy for those big names to overshadow your project, Light Sleeper is the first album Dessner has worked on in years that he didn't help write; Atwell's personal songwriting stands on its own.

In this session, Atwell talks about how she connected with Dessner; about recording the album at his studio in Long Pond, N.Y.; and about how this album sees her embracing more feeling and vulnerability.

This episode of World Cafe was produced and edited by Miguel Perez. Our senior producer is Kimberly Junod and our engineer is Chris Williams. Our programming and booking coordinator is Chelsea Johnson and our line producer is Will Loftus.

Copyright 2024 XPN

Raina Douris, an award-winning radio personality from Toronto, Ontario, comes to World Cafe from the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), where she was host and writer for the daily live, national morning program Mornings on CBC Music. She was also involved with Canada's highest music honors: hosting the Polaris Music Prize Gala from 2017 to 2019, as well as serving on the jury for both that award and the Juno Awards. Douris has also served as guest host and interviewer for various CBC Music and CBC Radio programs, and red carpet host and interviewer for the Juno Awards and Canadian Country Music Association Awards, as well as a panelist for such renowned CBC programs as Metro Morning, q and CBC News.
Miguel Perez
Miguel Perez is a radio producer for NPR's World Cafe, based out of WXPN in Philadelphia. Before that, he covered arts, music and culture for KERA in Dallas. He reported on everything from the rise of NFTs in the music industry to the enduring significance of gay and lesbian bars to the LGBTQ community in North Texas.