What a difference two years can make. In 2011, honey-throated singer Alela Diane married her longtime significant other, Tom Bevitori, moved into a Victorian fixer-upper in Portland, Ore., and invited him to write, record and tour with her new backing band, Wild Divine. But there was no happy ending to the fairy tale. In short order, she separated from her spouse, filed for divorce, disbanded Wild Divine and met a new, nonshowbiz beau named Toren. Two weeks ago, she married the man, with whom she is expecting her first child. In between she penned the mother of all breakup albums, the unflinchingly honest "About Farewell," with acoustic jaw-droppers "Before the Leaving," "The Way We Fall" and "Nothing I Can Do."
You were with your ex for seven years. What went wrong? In a nutshell, there was some alcoholism on his behalf, and some realizing that it's not a good idea to be the dutiful wife of someone with a major drinking problem for the long haul. But I was the enabler, and it's not a great role to be in. And I just turned 30 this year, and as I was getting closer to there and thinking about all the things you think about — having kids and all these things — it was just like, "This isn't going to be the thing that works. I can't help this guy." And you hear threads of that all over the new album.
Given that it was your decision, how did you get the guts to leave? Actually, I started writing these songs. Things had not been feeling great. We toured for the better part of 2011, and the whole band was sort of on that [alcohol] bandwagon, and I just felt like everybody's mother. So I wrote most of these songs before I decided to leave him. And it was almost like the songs were the messengers — they told me what I had to do. And I really couldn't sing these songs for anyone unless I followed through on what they were saying. So, yeah, it took some serious guts to make a decision like that. But it all paid off in the end. I'm in a much better place now.
But from the "About Farewell" title track, it sounds like it was an amicable parting. You know, it was rough for the better part of 2012, trying to navigate separating gracefully, because I really wanted to end as friends. And we've managed to do that — we're on very good terms, and the divorce went smoothly. But of course, he's no longer in the band. I went solo with this one, for obvious reasons.Alela Diane
Where: Chapel, 777 Valencia St., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $15 to $18
Contact: (415) 551-5157, www.ticketfly.com