In recent years, increasingly open conversations on trauma and self-care have cast new cultural significance over the concept of healing. No longer reserved for physical health or petty personal drama, healing is now viewed as a path to self-actualization – a confrontation of our emotional baggage that can include heartbreak and disappointment, as well as complex social anxieties surrounding identity and day-to-day existence. Boston-based newcomer Anaís Azúl knows these truths to be self-evident, and their debut single aptly titled “Healing” is a baroque and disarmingly earnest musical embrace inviting the listener to process and release pain as a means to inner liberation.
Reminiscent of hyper-twee early aughts chamber pop, yet without an ounce of pretense to be detected, “Healing” finds remarkable balance between its lush orchestrations and powerful message of compassion. “The salt of my tears has healed all my wounds,” sings Azúl as they unpack heavy and tangled baggage of identity that comes with being a non-binary, first generation Peruvian-American.
The video for “Healing” further explores this spiritual unburdening, as Azúl delivers most of their poignant words from the comfort of a cherished pink armchair, quaintly named Hilda. Cameos from friends and musical collaborators foster an atmosphere of community, while anonymous hands pat, caress and assist Azúl in shaving their head, providing literal support as the final vestiges of gendered confinement are stripped away.
Anaís Azúl wrote “Healing” in 2016 while a Boston University CFA Fellow at Boston Medical Center. A press release for the clip explains how, “Anaís developed a collaborative musical care practicum to surgical patients in English and Spanish, under the supervision of fellowship director Moisès Fernández Via.” It’s not unusual for music to act as a vehicle of catharsis, but as “Healing” has demonstrated, it can also be wielded for physical restoration and rehabilitation.
Watch the video here: