Paramore’s Hayley Williams is releasing a solo album, PETALS FOR ARMOR

Watch a music video for her new song, ‘Simmer’

Paramore’s Hayley Williams has released a single, “Simmer” – the first track to be taken from her debut solo album, PETALS FOR ARMOR, which will arrive on May 8.

“Simmer” was produced by Paramore bandmate Taylor York and co-written with touring band member Joey Howard, while its video is directed by Warren Fu. York and Howard appear across other parts of PETALS FOR ARMOR too.

“I’m so ready and so incredibly humbled to get to share this project,” Williams says in a press release. “Making it was a scary, empowering experience. Some of my proudest moments as a lyricist happened while writing PETALS FOR ARMOR. And I was able to get my hands a little dirtier than usual when it came to instrumentation. I’m in a band with my favourite musicians so I never really feel the need to step into a role as a player when it comes to Paramore records. This project, however, benefited from a little bit of musical naïveté and rawness and so I experimented quite a bit more.”

She adds: “I made this with some of the closest people to me. Their respective talents really shine bright throughout the record. I like to think we all make each other better and the result is something that sounds and feels exactly as I’d hoped it would. Now that it’s time to put it all out there, I can finally exhale. I’m excited to let people in to experience a different side of myself that I’ve only very recently become familiar with.”

This isn’t Williams’ first solo song – she’d previously contributed a song called “Teenagers” to the Jennifer’s Body soundtrack, and she covered Tegan and Sara for a compilation in 2017 – but she’s never recorded a full album before. The solo project was highlighted as one of Dazed’s anticipated albums of 2020.

Explaining the meaning of the album title to BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac, Williams said: “It’s part of a lyric in ‘Simmer’. A while ago, I went to this cranial-sacral masseuse. Maybe a lot of people might consider that a kind of woo-woo witch doctor, but I’ll take any help I can get. I was laying on her table and I started having these weirdly creepy visions of flowers growing out of me. And not in a beautiful way. It was very painful and very grotesque, but I kind of realised in that moment there was a lot that was trying so hard to grow out of me and it was going to hurt to do it.”

She continued: “I think, for me, it’s somewhat of a mantra to try and stay soft in a really, really hard world, and feel pain and let all of it come to you and try and put out something that can redeem it all, even if it’s ugly at first. The lyric is ‘wrap yourself in petals for armour’, ’cos I kept feeling like the way for me to protect myself best is to be vulnerable, and be OK with having a lot of pain at certain times and also feeling a lot of joy at certain times.”

Watch the video for “Simmer” below.