Angel Olsen's latest album Big Time was partly recorded after the indie singer-songwriter lost both of her parents and came out on social media.
While it was really hard going into the studio three weeks after her mother's funeral last year, Olsen tells Music 101's Jana Te Nahu Owen she needed to not be in her own head.
"I was like 'let me just try it and see what we can do'."
The songs on Big Time didn't "need a lot of fluff", Olsen says.
"I was trying to do more musically, in the past. On this record it's very stripped-back, the instrumentals, I make [the songs] more about what's being said, you know."
Big Time is accompanied by a short film co-directed by Kimberly Stuckwisch, who made the video for Olsen's hit duet with Sharon van Etten - 'Like I Used To'.
Stuckwisch incorporated some of Olsen's dreams about her mum as a 1950s high school student into Big Time Film, and on the week-long shoot, Olsen learned how to drive a stick-shift down a steep road and fake-drown herself in a bathtub.
Last year, as well as working on her album and grieving, Olsen came out as gay on social media.
She says her friends are excited for her and she now "feels a little bit more free".
"It took a while to come out, you know… everything came to the surface during my time of reflection, things that I hadn't registered came to the surface.
"I'm open to anyone if they can connect with me, you know what I mean."
Angel Olsen on RNZ:
Listen - Angel Olsen in session