Figuring life out far away from home, thousands of miles away in a different country, is admittedly terrifying but undeniably exciting. It’s a kind of journey Muri is all too familiar with – one that she continues to navigate and one that informs how she redefines her world on her own terms, both as a person and as a musician.

For many, she’s the dynamic violinist-singer of Filipino indie-folk troupe The Ransom Collective. However, Muriel Gonzales has already been forging her own musical path as Muri in recent years, weaving together a vibrant string of violin-infused indie/bedroom pop tracks like her debut single “Thunder” and 2022’s “Letters.

Now, after a nearly two-year pause, Muri is officially back with her latest single “Afternoon”, released this June 7 — a track inspired by her experiences of navigating living abroad in Paris and London. She is set to unveil her debut EP sometime this year as well, armed with a fresh musical perspective while continuing to remain true to the experiential storyteller that she is.

Ahead of the release of “Afternoon,” Billboard Philippines connected with Muri to gain insight on her new single and soon-to-be-released EP, ask her for advice on performing with a group alongside forging one’s path as a soloist, talk about her upcoming shows in Europe and in Southeast Asia, and more.

muri afternoon new single the ransom collective

Courtesy of NYOU Consultancy

Billboard Philippines: Congratulations on your upcoming new single “Afternoon.” Alongside it, you’re also working on your debut EP, also set to be released this year. Take us behind the scenes. How’s it coming along? What has the process been like? What can your listeners expect from it?

Muri: I’ve previously written my music mostly remote from Europe while working with musicians from the Philippines, primarily as it was during COVID. This time I wanted to do things differently and experience creating music in Europe while collaborating more in person. I’ve written my songs mostly in Paris, but probably recorded in at least four different locations in France.

It’s been fun working with my team and the people I’ve met here including my producer Sacha Arnaud, Tamino Edener, and Davide Ruffini who helped work on this track. I also loved being in the studio here — my favorite has been Audioscope in the 15th arrondissement which we booked for the day and was a huge studio full of analog equipment and had a plush retro vintage vibe.

It’s been some time since my last release and I’ve listened to and been inspired by a lot of new music and different styles. The new music will definitely be different from my previous songs, in that I’ve really pushed myself to try new things and techniques. But at the very core it still reflects my voice and who I am. I write to create a story and want the listener to experience what the journey of the song feels like.

muri afternoon the ransom collective

Courtesy of NYOU Consultancy

You’ve mentioned that you wrote “Afternoon” based on your experiences of living abroad and figuring your life and career out by yourself. What about these experiences has positively impacted the way you approach your music?

Living abroad has its ups and downs. It unlocks new opportunities but also moments of deep loss. You’re constantly taking in new information and redefining yourself. And in a world away from home, you have to carve out your own world. Being away has given me access to new sentiments and feelings. It’s also exposed me to new ways of making music and challenging my own perception of what music should sound like. It’s really pushed me to understand and get to know how I am as a person and as a musician.

Musically, I feel it’s helped expand my horizon of what music can be and motivates me to keep experimenting and creating.

muri afternoon new single the ransom collective

Courtesy of NYOU Consultancy

In relation to the last question, ultimately, what do you hope your listeners take away from listening to “Afternoon” as well as the upcoming EP?

While living abroad, I was constantly comparing here and home which created this sometimes dark cloud of bitterness, desolation, frustration, without really realizing that that was an unhealthy thing to do. And it really takes a lot out on you, until you realize you can redefine your own reality for you.

“Afternoon” is kind of that journey. Both the dark and the good that you find when you lean into it differently. Whether that’s realizing there’s something or someone you’re missing — whatever it is that may have given comfort — and is now gone. It’s seeing what or who is in front of you that shifts your whole perspective.

This touches a bit on the whole theme of the EP which is about loss and rebuilding. And it’s something we all experience in our lives, whether that’s living abroad, or grieving and recovering from any other life experience.

“Afternoon” will be your first release since 2022’s “Letters” as well as the remix of “Thunder” with LUSTBASS. Since releasing these tracks and now working on your debut EP, how would you describe your growth as an artist?

I think I’ve allowed myself to really step out and explore a new sound and style. To work from a blank canvas and with all the new inspiration I’ve been getting living here and to collaborate more confidently and spontaneously in a more dynamic songwriting and recording setting. I’ve also worked much more closely with the more technical side of writing with the mixing and mastering engineers as the main artist of my songs rather than as a band member.

You’ve juggled being a member of The Ransom Collective and being a solo artist for some time now. That being said, performing with a band and venturing out as a soloist are two very different endeavors as a musician. For those who are also looking to do the same, what are some valuable lessons you’ve learned over the years that you believe would be helpful advice?

We’re all constantly evolving and growing. Don’t be stuck to one sound or one identity. If you feel yourself changing, let your music change with you. Dig deep within you and you’ll find your songwriting flows better when you’re being authentic rather than when you’re conscious of being compared to others or even previous versions of yourself. Be open to new ideas and new versions of yourself, and trust your voice will always be there.

With the announcement of the release of “Afternoon,” you mentioned that you have plans to perform your new songs in Europe and Asia later this year. What can we expect from these forthcoming shows?

I’m excited to perform my new music live and have a few plans for shows across both continents. I’ll be performing at the annual Fête de la Musique here in Paris on 21st June and have a few shows planned for Manila and around Southeast Asia.

Listen to Muri’s “Afternoon” below: