Rowena Wise’s ruminations on love, alienation, and self-empowerment are fast catching attention. Hailing from the Western Australian surf town of Margaret River, Wise’s musical journey began at a young age. Together with her mother (a folk musician from Chicago) and father (a luthier who builds the custom guitars she plays today), they performed as a family band throughout her youth, playing folk festivals all over. Now, grown up and living on the opposite coast in Melbourne, Rowena is on the precipice of something exciting of her own.

With her debut album ‘Senseless Acts Of Beauty‘, Wise is opening her songbook up to the world. Inspired by the strong storytelling sensibilities of 60s folk icons and making a sound that sits her snugly alongside the likes of Aldous Harding, Julia Jacklin, and Waxahatchee, Rowena found her spark during a down moment while traveling at the end of a relationship.

A new zenith, her songs are full of emotional depth, and by allowing a searing honesty to run throughout, she’s being true to herself and the listener, holding space for all of life’s wonder and mess. Over the album’s ten tracks, she offers heady ruminations on love, loss, and alienation yet counters them with warmth, courage, and empowerment.

Working closely with producer Robert Muiños (Didirri, Julia Jacklin, Little May) and her band Rich Bradbeer (bass) and Jess Elwood (drums), they recorded the whole album live in Melbourne’s Rat Shack studio. Often capturing a track in one take, this approach allowed them to bottle the raw energy of the performance, lifting Rowena’s whispy, powerful vocals to help make an evocative listening experience, as if the storytelling is being delivered by a close friend. This is music that reflects new perspectives, consolidated after navigating heavy life experiences and hard lessons that informed a new direction, artistically and personally, for Rowena to move forward.

“The name ‘Senseless Acts of Beauty’ is an ode to the senseless act of doing something despite the odds being stacked against you.” Rowena says, “I think that really rings true for where I was at when I wrote these songs. The growing pains of my adulthood were laced with self-loathing and disenchantment. I loved someone who hurt me very deeply. It was the kind of relationship that messed up my sense of self and the way I related with others. It made no sense to love like that, but I did, and I can only learn from the experience. I’m stronger for it.”

Speaking of the recording process, she furthers, “My producer Rob gets a song’s storytelling right and he’s good at cutting to the chase, quickly finding the bones of the song to help the artist build a body around it. It was so refreshing to have that energy surround us. I experienced both the height and the alienation of my own emotions while making this record, and while I wrote these songs with the feeling that I was lost and isolated, I came out of recording them feeling elated, like I’d found something. In making a record like this, you can’t help but dissect and magnify every detail in a way that feels like you’re tearing something apart. But that’s how I created an album that really allowed me to tell the story in my own voice. That’s a kind of senseless act of beauty too.”

Release: May 24th, 2024, Beloved Recordings