With the same honeyed voice and enchanting, finger-picked acoustic instrumentals, singer-songwriter Bedouine returns with the release of her new album Waysides. A harmonious blend of her tried-and-true style, Bedouine is a master of her craft, seamlessly interweaving the gems of Laurel Canyon, the self-appointed capital of the 60s music scene, country crooners and the varied eclectic styles of psychedelic folk. Filled to the brim with folk stories for the modern age, Waysides was surprisingly never intended to be an album at all.
“Waysides was a little bit different from my other work because it really started as a casual idea. I really wanted it to be an offering to people who are already fans of Bedouine,” she says. “I thought it would be an intimate thing to share like, ‘Here are a bunch of songs that I was never going to release.’ Given that I was not going anywhere for a while, I decided to put them together and make it a little package for people, should they be interested.”
The hundreds of thousands of streams on the album prove that people are definitely interested. Born Azniv Korkejian in Aleppo, Syria to an Armenian family, Bedouine (derived from the Arabic word “badawī,” a nomadic Arab of the Arabian, Syrian or northern African deserts) has been somewhat of a nomad herself. As she came of age in Saudi Arabia, her family ended up winning a Green Card lottery and eventually settled in Boston, and shortly after, Houston. Driven by work and dreams of working in sound-editing, Korekjian traveled to places like Kentucky and Georgia, experiences that all led her to Los Angeles, where she is currently based.
“The day I drove away from Texas to go towards my college in California, I stopped in the morning at a pawn shop to grab a guitar because I realized that I wouldn’t be able to go to my friend’s house to play their guitar,” says Korkejian. “Having my own guitar pushed me towards playing music. I was really just teaching myself, and it was a way to write songs. I didn’t necessarily want to get really good at the guitar; it’s still that to me. I like not knowing what I’m doing. I love having a beginner’s mind.”
Her adventures as a wanderer gave way to songs like “The Solitude,” “Forever Everette,” “I Don’t Need the Light,” and “Sonnet 104”—songs that range from dreamy ballads to downcast lilts to Nick Drake and Elliot Smith-esque instrumentals that capture Bedouine’s sound. The album gives listeners a euphoric peek into her personal world, some of the songs being over a decade old. Over the years, the songs evolved and shaped into the gorgeous melodies of Waysides.
“My songwriting process can really vary from song to song. It’s a pretty intuitive process, so I don’t really have one formula. I just like to explore an idea, usually it starts with a phrase or maybe a melody,” Korkejian recalls. “It can be as short as a sentence. And I’ll just sit down with it, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It always starts with a small seed of an idea. Songwriting was always a hobby of mine, but I never fully expected it to become a career.”