Monica Guardado on “Virginia,” Platonic Friendships, and Crafting Her Sound


By now, autumn has been thoroughly hygge-fied: we’ve come to associate the season with cozy cardigans, pumpkin spice lattes, and blankets of red and orange. It’s easy to forget the lonely, overcast parts of autumn, the parts defined by a steady decline. In autumn, the sun sets earlier and earlier each day; the streets are strewn with dead, desiccated leaves; eventually, your breath hangs suspended in the cold air, and your cardigan can’t quite keep you warm from the coming winter.

“Virginia,” the new song by the Nashville-based singer-songwriter Monica Guardado, doesn’t directly touch upon these themes. But “Virginia” is decidedly autumnal all the same, striking that perfect balance of reassuring warmth and minor-key melancholy. Guardado’s piano chords are rich with longing and regret, and her voice is as sweet as it is sorrowful. 

The lyrics reminisce on good times past, where the song’s narrator and the titular friend/lover/partner would wait for each other to arrive and kiss beneath falling leaves. But those good times are gone, like the green leaves of summer: when Guardado asks Virginia “where do you go at night?”, the unspoken answer is “away from here.” Still, a warm, comforting horn solo comes in after the second chorus, and there’s hope that, just like trees in spring, this love can renew again.

Is there a story behind “Virginia” that may not be obvious to the listener?

I wrote “Virginia” following the end of an almost decade-long friendship, and I had this gaping hole of grief that I felt from having to walk away from it. It was from that place that I wrote “Virginia,” and allowed myself the freedom to explore the overlap of nostalgia, romance, and heartbreak in romantic and platonic relationships. Often we speak of these feelings with a relation to a lover or a partner, but I feel like our culture doesn’t do justice to how central friendships are to our emotional lives.

There’s a real lush, lovely sound to this song that’s almost cinematic. How did you craft this song’s particular atmosphere?

The lyrics definitely drove the surrounding music. Writing this song was a tender and visual experience, so my producer and I went to great lengths to craft a sound that felt soft and enveloping – to draw the listener into what I was saying. The percussion was at first the toughest piece of the puzzle to figure out, but once we brought in an incredible drummer, he was able to tap into the essence of the song which allowed all the other elements to fall into place.

Your influences include artists like Regina Spektor and Sara Bareilles, but you really take the effort to make this sound your own. What would you say is the defining element of your sound, in one word?


Where do you plan to go from here?

I’m in the process of recording my first EP! So I hope to release that by early next year.


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