The sun had set behind the hills of LA. It was still light enough that the oranges and pinks resonated in the dusk's horizon, casting a glow on the lady of the lake. Toronto artist, Lydia Ainsworth was far from home - in a different country and timezone - as she stood alone in front of Echo Park Lake's famous "Nuestra Reina de Los Angeles" (Our Queen of the Angels) art deco statue. It was as if she spoke to her, comforting the wandering artist with her compelling stone.

That's where the idea behind her sophomore album was born. In the afterglow.

Your brand new album, Darling of the Afterglow is slated for release this week and it's been a long time coming. And it's refreshing to call you at home. It seems you're really hands on throughout this whole process, behind the scenes.

I guess so. I mean, I don't have a manager so, yeah, I am. I do have a great team though. I have great booking agents and the labels that I'm working with are great. They're very helpful. But I try and do a lot of hands on stuff too.

With all that investment of time and energy, how are you feeling leading up to the release?

I feel good. It does feel like it has been a while and I've been touring from when Right from Real came out and I've taken a little break from that, so I'm really looking forward to going back on the road. I've actually never done a North American headline tour before, so this will be my first. And that's really exciting. I [went to] South By South West and then in mid-May, I'll be going on tour for my first North American tour.

Why now? Why is it the perfect time to release your sophomore album?

Well, I feel like my album and the process of making it, there were many times when I was like, 'I'm done, I just want to get it out.' And, for various reasons, I kind of had to put a hold on releasing it. I was also trying to find a home for it in Europe and the UK, so shopping it around took some time. And then, in that process of shopping it around, I ended up writing more songs that I felt like really needed to be included and so things got delayed a little bit longer. Finally, when it was done, record pressing takes a long time. There were a few months there where it was completely done and I just wanted to get it out. But why now? It's just the time that both labels decided to releasing it and all the artwork was finished. It took some time to get it all wrapped up and mastered and even the ordering of the songs took some time to figure out. I'm just of the mindset that I just want to release something immediately once it's done but things take time.

The name Darling of the Afterglow really hints that we're in for something conceptual. How would you put that energy and that place into words?

It's very literal in the sense that I wrote the song 'Afterglow' and it was inspired by a moment that I had in LA walking around this lake in Echo Park. There's a statue called the Queen of Angels who is really this beautiful art deco statue. And I was feeling really alone and out of my element. In a way, I feel really creative in those moments of unease. I like to be challenged and out of my element. That's where I get my best ideas, I guess. It was a moment where the sun had just gone down and I was standing in the afterglow of the sun looking at this statue. It was as if she was singing to me the lines of the song that I was about to write. In the song 'Afterglow,' which the album is named after, this statue was singing to me in a way that was really comforting. The lines of the song go something like "Hey little love, you're the darling of the afterglow. Take what you want, take what you need," as if she was offering me comfort. So, that's how I drew the album title, from that song.

And what made you so uncomfortable in that period of your life. What made you feel uneasy?

I think just being away from home and being away from a network of friends and family. Trying to finish my album. Trying to connect with people was difficult at that point in time. And also, in general, in my music, I think I'm always on this search of communicating with other people. And looking for a different way into these questions of loneliness and isolation and how to better connect with people. I'm interested in the internal dialogue that we have with ourselves and the way we edit and censor ourselves and struggle to make ourselves understood. I guess all of those things filter into my work.

This is your sophomore album, your second time around, so how did you approach those themes and concepts differently this time around when working on the new project?

Having never toured before my first album and having only played a shows leading up to it, I learned so much after the album came and getting to sing in front of an audience. I learned so much about using my voice. I just felt more confident going into the studio. I knew I wanted to make a more vocally centred album in a way. Or just to use my voice as more of the focal point where on Right from Real, I was using tons of layers and I was recording in a bedroom. It was just a different approach to using my voice.

Darling of the Afterglow is out March 31 via on Bella Union.