Metro Weekly

Sonia Rutstein Prepares to Celebrate 23

Sonia Rutstein, the prolific LGBTQ trailblazer behind disappear fear, is as committed to spreading love and compassion as ever.

SONiA -- Photo: Todd Franson
SONiA — Photo: Todd Franson

Sonia Rutstein has given a bold, contemporary makeover to one of folk music’s most revered standards, a song that long ago morphed into an iconic alternative U.S. national anthem.

In the process, the Baltimore indie folk/pop artist has also honored Woody Guthrie’s original intent with “This Land Is Your Land.”

The classic was written as a protest song, and its initial verses contained criticisms of the social and economic injustices of mid-20th-century America.

“I was at the Woody Guthrie Festival in 2017,” Rutstein says, “and I was on stage doing my soundcheck. I went over to the keyboards and I started playing that song, [but] in a minor key.” She also replaced the last line of the chorus so that “This land is made for you and me” became “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” a tragic plea uttered by too many victims of police brutality and racially motivated violence over the past decade, which also spurred the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Although Rutstein has performed that early modified take on the classic a couple of different times, she considered it incomplete until earlier this year, when she incorporated new contributions from fellow artists Hanne Kah and Lea Morris. In its finished form, the song has become known as “I Can’t Breathe,” and includes Rutstein reciting names of people murdered in police custody. It is further enhanced by what Rutstein heralds as a “choir of Hanne vocals” as well as deeply resonant lyrics and vocals from Morris, a self-described “soulfolk” artist of African-American descent.

In between the main verses of the chorus, Morris ever-so-gently interrogates the listener as she coos the following stanza:

Do you see me as I am?

Did you know this is my land,

Just as sure it is yours?

Why do you want me on all fours?

Released as a powerful music video in May, “I Can’t Breathe” also features on Rutstein’s new full-length set, Album 23, due September 23. As a recording artist, Rutstein goes by her first name paired with the name of her longtime musical project, stylized as SONiA disappear fear. As a title, Album 23 nods to the prolific singer-songwriter’s recorded musical output over the past 46 years.

Rutstein established herself in the mid-1980s as part of the harmonizing sister act disappear fear, alongside younger sister Cindy Rutstein. The Rutsteins quickly made a name for themselves on the national folk scene and in progressive political circles, propelled as much by their musical and lyrical bona fides as by the elder Rutstein’s status as an out and proud lesbian — back when that was nearly unheard of. This was the pre-Internet, pre-smartphone era, when music was a commodity but life and love could be free and uncharted, in ways all but unimaginable today.

Case in point: The young love that blossomed between Sonia and her future wife and career manager Terry Irons in the mid-1990s. At the time, Rutstein was a free agent, a fledgling solo artist following Cindy’s departure from the band, having moved to Washington state to raise a family with her husband.

“Terry and I were reminiscing the other day about how, when we first got together, we were just so crazy,” Rutstein says. “We would just take off our clothes and go onto the beach or the Baltimore harbor area. I mean it would be semi- to pretty dark, but we were insane. You’re just so in the moment of it, and it’s just so wonderful. And that’s how I knew that it was a blessing, not a curse, to be who I am.


“When you’re first falling in love, it’s just all-consuming in all the best ways,” she continues. “Nothing else matters, just what’s happening between you and that person. And you’re just outrageous.”

Recently, the pair decided, “We need to bring this back” — this being the spontaneity, the sense of adventure, and the novelty of an unexpected escapade. So the other week, off they went to Fargo, North Dakota, “to check out some lakes and hopefully go to visit a couple Indian reservations.” They also, not for nothing, have tickets to see P!nk and Brandi Carlile in concert at the Fargodome.

“We were looking at Madison Square Garden, we were looking at D.C., and it was pricey,” Rutstein says. “So I said, ‘Well, they’re playing in Fargo.’ And Terry’s like, ‘Hmm. Yeah.’ We got really great seats for a really good price — more bang for the buck, as they say. And we used frequent-flier points and just made a little vacay out of it. We’re out here for four days.”

Reached over Zoom in the midst of the rather spontaneous, immensely romantic getaway, Rutstein looked and sounded happy and content with the trip.

“Sorry I’m so animated — it looks crazy on Zoom,” she says as she gesticulates about her experiences with interstate cross-country travel. “Fargo is nice. The people are great, and the accents are awesome. It’s in the low 70s. It’s actually really hazy here because of the fires right outside of Winnipeg, so it’s not the best air quality.

“A shout-out to the Delta,” she adds for good measure, referring to the hotel in which they’re staying. “It’s really, really nice and very LGBTQ-friendly. They’ve treated us very, very well.”

SONiA -- Photo: Todd Franson
SONiA — Photo: Todd Franson

METRO WEEKLY: We’re talking one month out from the release of Album 23. That new set has already earned praise from the likes of Mary Gauthier and Noel Stookey, better known as “Paul” of Peter, Paul & Mary. I take it you have some history with Stookey.

SONIA RUTSTEIN: Yeah. He actually was going to record a song of mine one time. We met backstage at the Kerryville Folk Festival many years ago, and we’ve just stayed in touch. I can talk about Paul for days, he’s a very nice person.

MW: Stookey is quoted in the official promotional sheet for Album 23 swooning over your vocals and calling attention to a couple of songs, including “Birthday Song.” Several of these songs are songs you started years ago but only recently completed.

RUTSTEIN: When I started writing that song, it was my girlfriend’s birthday at the time. It was in a memory, but it was a much closer memory to the experience of the relationship. And then I never finished it.

The title track “23,” is similar. I actually started that when I was 19 in my dorm room at Boston University because I was doing all these Joni Mitchell open tunings. I’ve revisited the song lots of times. It’s morphed into this very musical thing, with influence by Yes, which was a band that I loved back in the ’70s. That’s the kind of song I really wanted it to be.

We just played it live in a recording for the first time for Sirius XM radio, and that’ll be broadcast in September on The Village. I was like, “Well, do we have this?” “What is this?” There are strange measures, musically. It’s challenging. It was so spontaneous when I was creating it, and then the band had to just kind of move in there and figure out what I was doing. To recreate that is challenging because I just was really so much in the moment of it.

MW: Is it difficult going back to older pieces and reworking them?

RUTSTEIN: When I’m writing and the song doesn’t go away, it’s tugging at me, sort of like, “Finish this.” I really wanted to go down the path of where the song wanted to be. So I suppose I edited myself for the past few decades on that song and didn’t just take anything.

I didn’t totally answer your question. You asked me was it difficult to do that? And I suppose the short answer is, “No, it wasn’t.” When I’m working on songs that are going to live longer than me, it’s a lot of soul-searching, and I love engaging in that. I mean, it’s hard in that it’s just, “What’s really the truth there?” That’s painful and frustrating and challenging, but when you accomplish [that], when the river starts going the way it wants to go and the song gets in there, it’s very satisfying. So I love that. I love that about the process of writing songs.

MW: I like the imagery of a song following the course of a river.

RUTSTEIN: Yeah, it’s good imagery. I’ve used that imagery in different songs through time. Everybody knows what that is, and you kind of want to start there and then pick out the things you want people to look at or think about.

What’s really cool, too, is that the band of five guys from disappear fear’s 1996 album Seed in the Sahara are the same on this album. It’s crazy. I called everybody during the pandemic, because what else the heck do you do? I mean, there’s only so much walking you can do until you start to really, really miss people in your life — and realize how precious it is, of course, because of all the tragedies and people that we lost that we loved. So I reached out to each of the band members, and we did a group Zoom. And I said I was writing songs for an album, and I think that it would really work if all of us did it.

MW: What about your sister Cindy, who co-launched the band with you some 35 years ago?

RUTSTEIN: She’s not involved. She has very high expectations of herself, and singing is so demanding, to really jump in on this fully, no. We are still very close, we talk several times a week. She lives on Whidbey Island outside of Seattle — it’s really pretty where she lives, and she’s very happy there. But no, she stayed with me for a bit during COVID for about six months, and we did a little bit of fun singing.

MW: Did you record any of those sessions?

RUTSTEIN: We did the Facebook Live videos. I probably saved some of them. I think some of them are on YouTube and some of them are silly. We did a really cool Patti Smith cover “Because the Night” together — me, her, and Tony [Correlli], my engineer and good friend and talented producer, who plays great keyboards. He played the piano on it, I played guitar, and Cindy and I did the harmonies, and that came out pretty well. That’s on YouTube. And we did some Phil Ochs and we did some Joni Mitchell, and then we did some of my songs too. I think they’re on my YouTube channel.

MW: Do you have an upcoming date in Washington yet? Is a tour in the works?

RUTSTEIN: The first date that I know of after the album’s release at this point is October 7, which is the Upper Chesapeake Bay Pride Festival in Havre de Grace, Maryland. It’s an outdoor thing, and it’ll be the band, and I’m excited about it.

I think there will be a tour. It’ll be in clumps in the U.S., but we will be doing a tour in Germany. We’re trying to bring the guys in for a week or two weeks of shows there in the spring with this album.

SONiA -- Photo: Todd Franson
SONiA — Photo: Todd Franson

MW: You seem to always go to Germany in the spring.

RUTSTEIN: Yes. Springtime in Germany. It’s something I never thought was going to happen with my life, because I’m an American Jew, and I was brought up that we don’t go there, but it’s wonderful. And truthfully, Germany is the most Jewish culture as a culture that doesn’t know its Jewish in the world — it’s so much about detail. And it’s so weird. I feel like I’m in this position that nobody knows except me because I’m Jewish and I’m American, and I have a history of Ashkenazi Judaism. So I’m going there and I’m going, “Oh my God. This whole culture is what this is supposed to be when it can work.” So it’s an amazing country. I love it. And they love music and they love me. So it’s a perfect fit.

MW: You were a trailblazer as an out LGBTQ musician, a lesbian performer way before that became a thing — launching your career in the mid-1980s roughly at the same time as the Indigo Girls and a full decade before Melissa Etheridge generated much mainstream fanfare with her public coming out. But certainly coming out remains a challenge all these decades later. And even the young queer Sonias of today no doubt struggle with coming to terms with their sexuality, just in different ways than you did.

RUTSTEIN: Yeah, definitely. Because I mean, my experience of my life is what my experience of my life is. And part of the reason for me coming out was that there wasn’t anybody that was just doing what I wanted to do. I just wanted to do pop/rock music and say what I needed to say as an artist. I always say, “If Joni Mitchell had been gay, maybe I wouldn’t have written songs because I could have lived through her experience.”

Plus, I did have something to say musically that was different. I wanted to rock more and share my experience, which included the experience of coming out. And I kind of want to say, when you do come out, all the world is gay.

MW: Earlier this year, the state of Maryland officially designated February 18 as “International Disappear Fear Day.” That’s something you’ve been celebrating for years now on what is, not coincidentally, your birthday. Explain the rationale behind that.

RUTSTEIN: It seemed like it would give people an opportunity everywhere to participate and kind of look at that for themselves. It was very, very awesome, to have the state of Maryland recognize the concept with a certificate and a resolution.

The other thing about them recognizing that is that it confirms that Maryland is so supportive and so progressive, when so many places want to go back to some sort of — I mean, I won’t even compliment it by saying Neanderthal, because it’s not Neanderthal. It’s not even to that state of education.

The recognition gives it more credibility, certainly. And it becomes a platform for more things that we can do. I would like to go to the state of Maryland to create funding for a music festival that would be about disappearing fear, which would be about human rights, which would be about sustainability. We would run it in a perfectly clean energy way. We would run it in a way that worked for people who are differently abled. It would be the full spectrum of humanity. It’d probably be all vegan. I know that’s not a spectrum, but there are enough McDonald’s around to handle non-vegan festivalgoers. And we’d really make it be multi-denominational.

Speaking of that, I am going to be performing in a mosque, which I’ve never done before. It was created by a woman who escaped from Turkey, and it’s in Berlin. And that’s going to happen on my next tour of Germany. And another awesome thing that happened in Germany [earlier this year] was that I got to lead a Friday night service at a synagogue in Freudenthal that hadn’t had a Shabbat service since November 4, 1938, which was five days before Kristallnacht. So that was awesome, and it was an amazing experience. Most of the people were not Jewish. There were like three or four other Jewish people there from another town. It was such a beautiful night. It was so, so cool. And people came up and shared experiences when they were young and the war was happening and how the changes happened.

I like it when I can do things like that, because music — this is going to sound so corny — but it’s the song of the soul. And let’s get the river metaphor back in here: Music is how we as people become a river, I’ll say that. It’s how humans become the water — not the rocks, but the thing moving through. So you don’t get hurt, you don’t crash, you just keep experiencing the new things that are there.

MW: Well, sometimes you do get hurt.

RUTSTEIN: But if there’s water, you don’t.

MW: If we’re not listening to music, then there’s no water, and that’s how we get hurt — is that kind of what you’re getting at?

RUTSTEIN: Yeah. And that would be painful.

MW: On that note, I know it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, being so out publicly in the early years of your career, and being one of the few go-to queer acts.

RUTSTEIN: Yeah, we were the band they called when there was issues in Laramie, Wyoming — before anyone even knew of Laramie, Wyoming, before Matthew Shepherd’s tragic murder in 1998. Before all of that, there were issues there four years before, might even have been longer than that. And we were the band they called. Disappear fear would come and play for everybody, and it really opened up the college scene.

I’ve been censored plenty of times, but we were censored when we played at this college in Texas. We were told we couldn’t have anything gay on our T-shirts or say any “gay” words, nothing homosexual. They didn’t tell us that until we got there. And we were like, “Do we still want to do this show?” And Cindy was like, “Yes, disappear fear is not just about the gay, it’s about everybody. And clearly if they’re censoring us, think about the kids on campus. We need to be there more than ever.” So we did it.

And also the reality side of it was that they were paying us a chunk of change. And in those days, what we would do is, we’d have a college gig that would sort of fund all the other gigs. We were on tour with the band, but they only wanted me and Cindy to sing. They just wanted a duo, not the whole band. So you’re still paying for hotels and gas and food for seven people or whatever every night that you’re away.

I didn’t want to do it, but Cindy really did, so we did. And a little bit more than halfway through the concert, I look at Cindy. Her back is to the audience, but she’s completely crying, really crying. Her nose is all red, there are tears streaming down her face, and she says to me, “Sonia, this is so wrong. This is so wrong.” And I said, “We’re here. We’re doing this.” I said, “And for the word lesbian, just use the word European,” because we were going to do the song, “Sink the Censorship,” which has the word lesbian in it. And I go, “Pull yourself together,” like a very comforting, warm, older sister.

And she was like, “Okay.”

And so she turns around and she’s doing it, and we’re starting the song and I’m singing the song, and I’m like, “You know what? She’s right. These kids, they need” — we weren’t that much older than them — “they need to really hear us.” And I said, “You know what? We’re not allowed to do this song here, but if you really want to hear the song, follow me.” And I unplugged my guitar, and I jumped off the stage with Cindy, and the crowd came with us. I said, “Follow me outside. We have to be off the campus,” because we still wanted to get paid for the gig, and we signed off that we wouldn’t do it on campus.

And security met us and separated me and Cindy and the crowd. I was taken to one side, and she was taken to another side. And that was it. There was no playing anywhere else, nothing else happened. But we sold out of merch. We sold out of CDs and cassettes and whatever else we were selling.

But it hurt us in that we didn’t get to play other places or other southern colleges.

MW: Well sort of on this topic, I don’t know how much you know about the band The 1975.

RUTSTEIN: I love that band.

MW: Are you familiar with the controversy they provoked in Malaysia?

RUTSTEIN: He kissed someone else in the band on stage.

SONiA -- Photo: Todd Franson
SONiA — Photo: Todd Franson

MW: Frontman Matt Healy did it from the standpoint of being an LGBTQ ally, saying, “This is fine. Everybody should feel free to kiss and love whomever.” That’s his thing. And so he did that in Malaysia, where any expression of homosexuality is a crime. As a result, the concert was stopped and the remainder of the festival was canceled. Apparently, the festival organizers are now preparing to sue the band.

As a singer-songwriter who performs all over the world, I wondered what you thought about this. How much do you take into account the culture that you’re in when considering what you sing or the actions you take, the messages you convey?

RUTSTEIN: This is what I think: You hire a band, you hire a performer, you know what you’re booking, it’s your responsibility to do the research. If they didn’t want The 1975 to perform in Malaysia, then they shouldn’t have booked them. So it’s the complete responsibility of the promoter.

I once got booked for this — I won’t tell you what it is because I don’t want to dis them because I think it’s a great organization, other than the fact that they canned me two weeks before the performance, and I had everything worked out. They said I was too political. I was really upset. But if they cancel, we have a 30-day termination clause, which most bands do. If the contractor breaks it within 30 days, you still get paid even though you’re not playing. So I was able to pay my players and stuff for it, and they could do whatever they wanted that night. And we weren’t on tour — it was a big event that was happening in D.C.

And I was like, “You knew that when you booked me.” But I was involved on issues around Iraq, and it was during the primaries, and they thought, “These are not the right optics for us.”

And I’ll tell you another experience I had, this one with Lea DeLaria, who is a fantastic comedian besides being a great jazz singer and a great actor. She’s a very talented person. I love her. And she was performing right before me at Las Vegas Pride. I was backstage, she was backstage, and they came up to her right before she went on and said, “Oh, there are children here, don’t use the word, ‘Fuck,’ in your set.” And she was like, “What?” That’s how she is. I mean, she says “fuck” if not every other word, at least every other sentence. And she was just like, “Well, then I’m not going on.” And she didn’t. And I went on early.

And it was Las Vegas. It’s the responsibility of the parents, too, at a certain point — if they don’t want their children hearing or being exposed to something, don’t take them. She wasn’t booked to be a G-rated thing. I mean, they knew who she was. But anyway, at the end of my concert, I did my song “Sink the Censorship,” and the original title of the song was “Sink The Fucking Censorship.” It was a song that was an ode to Jesse Helms. And I said, “Sink the fucking, fucking, fucking censorship,” and it was a shout-out to Lea.

As an artist, I’m always going to stay true to who I am. And do I have to monitor that? I think you need to be thoughtful and considerate. But I think Matt Healy kissing on stage is fine. I think it’s perfectly fine. I think it’s great. It means he should do more kissing on stage.

MW: But they were in Malaysia. It’s an interesting dynamic because of where they were. I mean, the country is so anti-gay that maybe they just shouldn’t perform there.

RUTSTEIN: Well, right. Don’t perform there, or don’t get… The people who booked them know that. So unless they wrote that they… When we did the concert where we were censored, we agreed to be censored. We agreed to not have gay stuff on our T-shirts.

MW: Would you agree to that kind of censorship now?

RUTSTEIN: No, I don’t think I would compromise. I won’t compromise my lyrics like that. That’s my branding. I mean, that’s who I am. And I would have to say that that’s The 1975’s branding. They do the kiss on stage, you know? That’s going to happen. So that’s what the promoters bought.

People who are gay or who are in the minority have had to fight to have fair laws for some reason, because of perhaps a paternalistic society that has marginalized people for no reason other than being gay, or being differently abled, or having beautifully colored skin instead of boring beige. No, if I’m that voice, then I’m that voice, and I’m not going to not be that voice ever anywhere.

But I wouldn’t in countries that — I’m going to honor the contract, and I’m not going to sign a contract that would ask me to self-censor or moderate my act. But I bet that wasn’t in the contract. I’m just guessing.

MW: Some of the Malaysian bands that didn’t get to perform are also considering suing The 1975, not the festival organizer or promoter.

RUTSTEIN: That’s who they need to sue. Not the band. The band did the right thing. That’s who the band is. And shame on those other artists for not backing The 1975. I mean, music is about connection, connection of people. And the people that shut it down, that stopped that river, that’s wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. We all need to feed in the river, we all need to swim in the river.

MW: Yes, or else we get hurt.

RUTSTEIN: Exactly, exactly. They’re breaking that off. It’s so simple.

MW: What’s the status of your memoir?

RUTSTEIN: Terry has finished her read on it. We’re hoping that it releases next year.

MW: So you finished your first draft? That’s a big deal.

RUTSTEIN: Yeah, definitely. It’s baked. It was so much harder than I thought it was going to be. I mean, my first — we call it my first draft. It’s really not my first draft, it’s probably my tenth draft.

There was a lot of anger at first, and I was like, “Man, I’m an angry, bitter person.” So that was not the vibe, that full vibe. I mean, there are certain experiences that I have and that partially is still in it, but it’s definitely, there are different colors in it now, not just anger colors. It’s a better book. It’s definitely a better book. And I guess that is also through the aging process. I started it six years ago. And Terry had the publisher and everything all lined up, but she had no book. So it took a while. And one summer, four summers ago, I guess when I really, really started to write it, I just would go to the library every day and I would just write.

MW: Do you have a title?

RUTSTEIN: At this point it’s The disappear fear Story. As you might imagine, I’ve gone through a lot in my head that have all been, no, no, definitely not, no. But I’ll keep it simple.

And I was just “Threading” a few minutes ago, and someone was talking about how, through AI, they re-created the Pink Floyd song “Brick in the Wall.” And I was just like, “Oh, my God.” Because they did it through someone’s brain listening to it. That’s how it got recreated. And I was like, “Man, I’m glad I was born in 1959. I’m glad I listened to songs on the radio in the ’70s, when the DJ was stoned. And I’m glad when Terry and I were on beaches and out in public, falling in love, in the ’90s. I’m glad it was before the internet, and before all of that.”

I think I would’ve become a fire scientist or something if I was growing up now, I think that’s what I would become, not a singer-songwriter. Somebody’s got to figure out how to put out these fires.

Sonia: Album 23
SONiA disappear fear: Album 23

MW: How different is promoting and performing your music now, from radio airplay to touring and performing, compared to when you started?

RUTSTEIN: It’s very different. It’s also different since the pandemic. People have their pandemic standard and then their other standard of things. But especially people are more aware. But the main thing now is the phone and our screens. It’s weird because in some ways I feel further from people who live closer to me and closer to people who live further from me. Isn’t that strange? And I think a lot of people feel that way.

It definitely affects the live music industry. The industry of course has changed. Basically, music is free now. People used to have to buy music, a tangible thing. Streaming has definitely changed things. I’m paid one one-thousandth of one penny, or $0.001, for each play on Spotify, compared to $20 per CD sold. That’s a big difference.

MW: There’s also the challenge of searching for your music, as there are a number of female artists who also go by your same mononym.

RUTSTEIN: Yeah, you can’t just search for “Sonia.” You have to search for “SONiA disappear fear.” It’s crazy. And at first Apple Music didn’t cross reference us at all. It would say, “If you like this artist, you’ll like Tracy Chapman.” I’m like, “What about disappear fear?”

MW: Earlier you said any future disappear fear Festival would probably serve vegan food or highlight veganism. That begs the question, are you vegan?

RUTSTEIN: No. I am only partially vegetarian. I will have meat every now and then. I do love it, but it’s clearly not a smart thing to endorse, to put too much money or time or body into because it’s so not healthy, it’s bad for the environment — it’s always been bad for the environment — and it’s morally just too sad. So I dial that way, way, way, way back. I eat lamb and I eat ribs, and I love it, but I don’t have it too much.

MW: Are you still kosher?

RUTSTEIN: I am mostly kosher, but not when I’m traveling. At home, I call it American kosher. Because it’s cheating. You can eat non-kosher food on paper plates like I did growing up. We would bring in Chinese food. I don’t think we brought in shrimp and we didn’t bring in pork fried rice, we would bring in chicken fried rice, but the chicken wasn’t killed in a kosher way. The main thing about meat being kosher is the cleanliness — that it has the Rabbi’s blessing and that there’s no blood. There’s a big thing about no blood I’ve been reading.

MW: It’s good to remind yourself of those kinds of things every now and then, to refresh yourself on whatever it is that you’re believing.

RUTSTEIN: Oh, yeah. That’s what being Jewish is about. And Christian, too. If you’re going to church every Sunday, you’re getting stories from the Bible. And we’re studying the older ones from the Torah. And this happens to be, we’re in the last few weeks before the new year, so we’re in the Book of Deuteronomy, which is numbers and laws. So you are reminded about them.

MW: Speaking of, you’re big into numbers, or at least the number 23 at the moment, given the year and the upcoming album.

RUTSTEIN: I am totally into numbers. It’s kind of a silly, crazy thing. Some people see the days of the week like colors, I read numbers all the time, like license plates, and I make up things. There’s some truth in it, and a lot of imagination.

MW: Maybe that’s also some influence from your zodiac sign. International Disappear Fear Day is February 18, also your birthday, which makes you an Aquarius — but a last-day Aquarius.

RUTSTEIN: Yeah, I’m almost Pisces. I’m on the cusp.

MW: But as a fellow Aquarius — born February 10 — you’re much more that sign than you are Pisces, if you ask me.

RUTSTEIN: Yeah, I definitely am. And my nephew Dylan, who sings and plays keyboards on some tracks, he’s at the very beginning. He’s January 28, and he’s much more Capricorn — he’s much more grounded, and he’s much stronger, take-no-prisoners. We’re much more, I feel, open–

MW: Even flighty, or airy. I mean we’re an air sign, but we’re officially water bearers, so we work with that element as well.

RUTSTEIN: That’s so perfect, too, because we were talking about water in the river. It comes out of that.

MW: So it all comes together.

RUTSTEIN: Yes, it does.

Album 23 by SONiA disappear fear will be available for sale and on streaming platforms on September 23. It can be pre-saved now on iTunes and Spotify or preordered at

Follow Sonia Rutstein on Threads at

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