Duffy continued her slow-burn return to music on Friday (June 19) with the release of the emotionally wrenching ballad “River in the Sky.” The gentle piano and voice track emphasizes the British soul singer’s crystal blue vocals, which glide from a crying emotion to a hint of hope as she asks a question without a clear answer.
“Like a river in the sky/ Why, oh why do we cry? Do we cry?” she sings on the pleading chorus amid verses about being alone and afraid in the dark, full of doubt and yearning to be released from pain as she praises someone who helps her through a difficult time.
In April, Duffy explained her nearly decade-long retreat from the spotlight after sharing a harrowing account of being drugged, raped and held captive by unnamed assailants. At the time, the “Mercy” singer said she was feeling safe now, but was not sure about returning to music.
“What follows remains to be seen … I know this much though, I owe it to myself to release a body of work someday, though I very much doubt I will ever be the person people once knew,” she said. “My music will be measured on the merit of its quality and this story will be something I experienced and not something that describes me.”
Following the previously released radio-only track “Something Beautiful,” “River in the Sky” is only available on Duffy’s Instagram for now. The singer posted a simple message with the new track, “For the better days to come.”
Listen to “River in the Sky” below.