MESSAGES FROM APHRODITE, Lauren Monroe’s third album—and her second in collaboration with acclaimed producer Jim Scott—widens the aperture opened by its predecessor, 2021’s Under the Wolf Moon, bringing her musical and spiritual vision into even sharper focus. The title, which references the ancient Greek goddess of love in its myriad aspects, signifies the emotional expanse of Monroe’s songs, to which she brings a rarefied degree of insight and compassion, enabling her to nimbly plumb the depths and scale the heights of the human condition in her songwriting. That may sound like a tall order, but Monroe is singularly well-equipped to handle it. The New York-born, California-based polymath conducts parallel careers as a gifted singer-songwriter and a renowned mental-health advocate. She approaches these intertwined roles with equal passion, her nuanced understanding of human behavior informing her music, which she sees as “a heart-based experience” that is “not just about listening—it’s about feeling and connecting.”

Please share a story that includes a happy memory as an artist and has hugely impacted your artistry. When I was 6, I started writing songs and performing for my family and neighbors. I’d stand on the picnic table in the backyard of our family home in Queens, NY, and belt as loud as my little lungs could muster. I knew at that age I wanted to be a singer-songwriter, but it was an elderly neighbor named Arty that really impacted me.