PREMIERE: Dallas singer-songwriter Vanessa Peters gets “Better” on new single

Vanessa Peters, in a black shirt and gray pants, stands against a light yellow wall

Vanessa Peters
Photo: Rip Rowan

Indifference to outside opinions has rarely sounded as lovely as it does on singer-songwriter Vanessa Peters’ latest single, “Better,” which KXT is pleased to premiere below.

The Dallas-bred and Italy-based singer-songwriter makes her attitude plain from the opening lines (“I’ve spent nearly all my life worrying about/What other people think of me/And even though it’s better now, I can’t say that I’m free/But it’s better”), which rest comfortably against a spacious sonic backdrop, full of gently rolling drums and chiming guitars.

The single is taken from Peters’ forthcoming studio album, Flying on Instruments, which drops via Idol Records on Feb. 23. Instruments, co-produced by Rip Rowan and Joe Reyes, is arriving just two years after Peters’ previous LP, 2021’s Modern Age, and is a return to a more handmade, rootsier sound, to hear Peters tell it.

“This album is pretty introspective … perhaps a bit more similar to [my album] Foxhole Prayers than Modern Age, thought there are some catchy pop/rock gems in the heart of the record, especially ‘Pinball Heart,’” Peters said via email. “This album was written and recorded at a time of enormous upheaval, both on a personal level but obviously at a societal level too.

“The pandemic almost kept us from recording and releasing Modern Age (and definitely limited our ability to tour it), and damned if it didn’t nearly keep us from recording this record, too. We also sold our house and our recording studio and moved halfway across the world while making this record, so, yeah, there was a lot going on.”

That outside tension isn’t apparent on the frequently gorgeous Instruments, which unfurls across nine tracks, and reinforces Peters’ standing as one of the sharper songwriters with roots in North Texas.

As for what lies ahead in 2024, Peters said she recently performed a few dates on the East coast, and has full band dates in support of the Instruments release scheduled throughout Europe.

“We’ll likely be back in Texas later this year [but we’re] still hammering out all the details,” Peters said. “We’re also getting our new studio up and running, so hopefully we’ll be starting a new album by year’s end. Lots to juggle at the moment, but it feels good to be creating art and sharing it with others.”

Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on X (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.