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Photo Courtesy of Emma Swales, The West Georgian

Athens’ Dream Pop: Diving into Avery Draut’s Night Palace

Entering the music industry is unconventional and risky, but also a leap of faith. Many people often struggle with turning their passion for music into a career, especially when the path proves to be uncertain and ever-changing. This was the case for Avery Draut, a University of Georgia alumni who decided to take that chance.

Emma Swales

Entering the music industry is unconventional and risky, but also a leap of faith. Many people often struggle with turning their passion for music into a career, especially when the path proves to be uncertain and ever-changing. This was the case for Avery Draut, a University of Georgia alumni who decided to take that chance. 

Soon after graduating from UGA in 2016, Draut finally found the time to sit down and let her musical creativity flow. This led to the creation of Night Palace, a whimsical and psychedelic indie band guided by Draut’s angelic and captivating vocals. 

During her time in college, Draut changed her major several times in hopes of finding something that fits her best. She stated that it was hard to choose a degree that aligned with her creative energy and passion for singing, rather than a major that supported a more stable career path.

“I started as a visual arts major, I switched to journalism and tried theater,” said Draut. “I was just all over the place since I have so many interests that either compete or collide in a nice way. It took a minute to figure out that I actually wanted to pursue a music degree.” 

She began her musical journey and stayed busy in school with opera performances and singing recitals. Once she graduated college, her schedule cleared, and Draut was left with all of the time to focus on herself and to finally make her own music. 

“I found that I started hearing melodies and jotting down lyrics,” said Draut. “I had to get over thinking that I couldn’t write songs. I had so many friends who had been writing songs for so long and so many friends who were poets and writers. I thought to myself, ‘those people do that, I don’t do that’ and I had to kind of get over that hurdle.”

After getting comfortable with the idea of creating music, Draut quickly found a love for songwriting, and it soon became an outlet for her creative energy. In 2022, she began to form Night Palace’s debut album, Diving Rings.

The album features 11 songs that are filled with dreamy synths and magical melodies that create a soft and hazy atmosphere. Draut explains that the album features heavy orchestral qualities that help create the perfect dream-pop listening experience. 

“When this project started it was a little punkier, trimmed down and a little bit less lush,” said Draut. “We started playing shows and as I grew as a person, I wanted the songs to grow too so they became a little softer and formed what Night Palace is now.”

Diving Rings proved to be a successful debut for Night Palace and set a solid foundation for the indie-pop band. The band continues to grow and Draut expressed hopes of new material being released in the near future. 

“We have this album that’s done and so I’m hoping a label will want to put it out,” said Draut. “That will hopefully be in the next few months. In the meantime, we have released a live video for our song ‘Nightshade,’ which we played at Terminal West in Atlanta. I think it kind of pushes out the edges of Night Palace. It goes a little darker and more atmospheric and we are starting to feel more ourselves.”

Night Palace is moving forward and will continue to play shows around Athens and Atlanta. After looking back at her progress, Draut is happy to see the growth of her music and where her songwriting journey has taken her. 

“These songs on Diving Rings were the first songs I had ever written, and I think I had my whole life to bubble up and kind of congeal these ideas,” said Draut. “I started having these melodies and lyrics come to me and I just started writing. I came later to it than a lot of people but from there, it just grew. I have become more a part of the songwriting and music scene in Athens, Georgia which is so magical.”