The search for order in the midst of chaos can lead to satisfying art. Then again, some pretty impressive art can result from knowing when to go with the flow.
“Into the Wild,” a nine-track album that will be released Friday, reflects Charlottesville singer-songwriter Nathan Colberg’s quest for a new start and his openness to the discovery of art along the way.
“When I started off the album, I didn’t have much of a plan for a cohesive body of work,” he said. “I sort of poured everything I had into each song. I kind of realized I needed a plan to pull all this stuff together.”
The album’s title, “Into the Wild,” is a nod to the near-constant changes that have shaped Colberg’s life and music over the past few years. “That’s what the time has felt like to me — trying to start a career in music and trying to start a new life with my wife,” Colberg said.
Colberg graduated from the University of Virginia in 2017 with a degree in public policy; he and his wife, Rachel, tied the knot in August 2019.
Many of the new album’s songs capture “a lot of change, and a lot of processing of that change,” he said. “Music has been really valuable for that.”
As Colberg took a closer look at the songs he’d written, he discovered the unifying element he’d sought.
“A lot of the songs are an attempt at bringing peace into this situation,” he said.
He also noticed a shift in his creative approach.
“A lot of my writing in the past was very introspective and personal,” Colberg said. “A lot of the songs on this album were written for other people. It kept things fresh for me, and it got me thinking in new ways.”
As Colberg wrapped up the album earlier this year, he planned for a spring release filled with shows up and down the East Coast.
When the pandemic brought live performances to a halt, he dove into creating new music. The solitude of quarantine has suited his creative process, and he has been prolific.
“On the creative side, it hasn’t changed much,” he said. “I spend so much time isolated when I write. I just kind of cave up in my studio.”
As he tried to come up with a new album release plan, he realized there was no need to wait until life felt more normal.
“Now, I’m sitting on more new music, and I didn’t want to just wait until COVID was done,” Colberg said. “I would rather just put the music out and let people enjoy it.
“Originally, I was going to wait it out and release it in the fall, but, obviously, stuff is still shut down.”
As the album reaches listeners, the Colbergs are in the process of moving to Nashville, Tennessee, for fresh opportunities and a new adventure together. This bittersweet time is bound to tug on some heartstrings that will inspire some new songs in the future.
“I’m kind of saying a sweet farewell to the place I know and love,” Colberg said, “but we would love to kind of immerse ourselves in a different songwriting community.”
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