Premiere: Lily Donat Shares New Single “Build It”

Aug 30, 2022

By Caleb Campbell

Photography by Natasha R-Austrich

LA-based indie pop singer/songwriter Lily Donat debuted last year, sharing a diaristic songwriting style that fuses indie pop and folk in newly catchy and emotive forms. She shared her first two singles, “Supernova” and “Most Important Man,” last year, and followed this year with her latest track, “How It Feels.” Tomorrow, Donat is back with another new track, “Build It,” premiering early with Under the Radar.

“Build It” is intended as a song of hope and reclamation, finding Donat searching for divine beauty in the natural world. The track is a twinkling synth pop ballad, carried by a crystalline vocal performance, expansive synth beds, and warm melodies, along with lyrics that feel like a contemplative prayer. Donat’s lyricism sees her reclaim the natural world for herself, pushing back against the memories that had colored her worldview一“I have a spark and he didn’t kill it/The world is so beautiful/And he didn’t build it.”

Donat says of the track, “I started writing this song on the back of a motorcycle, looking up at redwoods. I started to feel the divinity of nature, and it felt separate from any people or memories associated with it; the trees were beautiful and perfect on their own. That’s when the lyric ‘And he didn’t build it’ popped into my head, and it resonated deeply. This song is a celebration of wildness, adventure, and femininity that is separate from the boyfriend you traipsed through the woods with, or even the patriarchy that is so embedded in our culture, and aims to dull the untamed feminine force that blooms with nature. Originally more solemn and folk-y, the song became an optimistic pop banger in the studio. Stefan Mac, a great previous collaborator, produced the song.”

Check out the song early below. You can also read Donat’s Q&A on the track here.

Lily Donat · Build It

What was it like working with Stefan Mac on this track?

Stefan is a frequent collaborator. I love working with him. It was in the studio that this song became more pop and less folk, and way more upbeat.

Can you elaborate more on the overall message behind “Build It”?

I wrote this song when the power of the world around me started to feel bigger than a person. I was literally staring up at the trees and thinking, he didn’t create them, why do they remind me of him? Sometimes in our own attachment, we start to believe certain people hold the key to the universe, and they just don’t. This song is also a bit of an F the patriarchy moment.

What are you listening to right now?

I think it’s cool that Kate Bush is so popular right now. I grew up listening to her, my mom was always a fan! Also, “So Unimportant” by Ethan Gruska and Bon Iver is a song I heard recently. The production scratches an itch in my brain. It’s so good.

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