As Feist celebrated her 35th birthday earlier this year with an intimate dinner among friends, she was momentarily distracted by the intense flickering of a television in a nearby room.

The images were bizarre — motorbikes on a stage accompanied by pyrotechnics and music. Whatever it was seemed outlandish and jarring. What, she wondered, could be the spectacle?

It wasn’t until she got closer to the television that the frenetic, choreographed commotion made sense. It was the telecast of the Grammy Awards.

Only three years earlier, she was part of that scene, performing 1234, the song that would make the former indie artist a global sensation — in a different out-of-context performance. Now, watching the awards, the images she saw confirmed how surreal that experience had been — and how she just doesn’t fit into that poppy, musical world.

 

“The Grammys, and the magnitude of that spotlight, it wasn’t a place where I felt at home. Like what I do doesn't really happen there,” Feist said during a recent interview as she sat on a quiet patio at her downtown Manhattan hotel.

“It’s such a potent and brief moment, and it doesn’t really speak to the truth of what touring and being a musician is. It’s mostly fanfare, inflated and very intense. I wasn’t feeling very comfortable in that kind of setting.”

Now that Feist is releasing Metals, the follow-up to her breakthrough, heralded 2007 album, The Reminder, she’s back in her comfort zone.

Her fourth album has a darker tone, but still has that otherworldly, mystical quality that has made her one of music’s more original voices.

“It’s just heading into a much more personal and bold and more uncompromising direction, taking all kinds of risks, which I respect,” says her longtime collaborator Chilly Gonzales, one of the album’s producers and songwriters.



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