Thelma, the musical project of Brooklyn’s Natasha Jacobs, had just released her debut album last year when she received a double diagnosis of thyroid cancer and a genetic joint disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, conditions that affected her vocals and her ability to play guitar. Rather than let any limitations hold her back, Jacobs began writing synthesizer-heavy songs that explored new facets to her voice. The result is her bold, escapist new album The Only Thing, to be released on February 22. Stereogum announced the record today and premiered its fantastical first single “Take Me to Orlando,” a song inspired by the Virginia Woolf novel Orlando, which Jacobs read while she was recovering from surgery.
Jacobs says of the book, “One quote that stuck out was ‘Illusions are to the soul what atmosphere is to the earth. Roll up that tender air and the plant dies, the colour fades. The earth we walk on is a parched cinder. It is marl we tread and fiery cobbles scorch our feet. By the truth we are undone. Life is a dream. ‘Tis waking that kills us.’ Although this quote makes a somewhat dangerous statement out of context, I do feel that the illusions we seek hold many important truths about who we are as people. With all this on the mind, while feeling very stuck and lonely during my recovery, I wrote a song about and for an imagined lover whom I named Orlando.”