Chelsea Wolfe was a good girl. The Sacramento singer-songwriter still is actually.
"I don't think I've ever been a rebel - I've always considered myself a good person," Wolfe says. "I believe in honesty and kindness and integrity and kindness.
"I have a dark side that I keep to myself - I only show it through my music. The rest of the time I'm very happy-go-lucky."
Certainly, with its ethereal dirge of guitars, keyboard and strings floating beneath a mournful voice, Wolfe's music is anything but cheerful. Still, its roots have somewhat happier origins.
The 20something Wolfe's been making music since she was nine and she and her sisters crafted "gothic hip-hop" songs in her country musician dad's home studio.
"They were hilarious but some of the songs were kind of awesome considering we were so young," she says.
Now, she adds, it seems as if she's "been writing songs forever."
It took her years to get them out of the house. Wolfe didn't start performing live until 2005, a year after she returned home from Capetown, South Africa where she'd been attending bible school and working with children.
Today, Wolfe says, her Christian faith is still part of her music.
"There are a lot of themes that relate to spirituality," she says. "It inspires the things I write."
Wolfe is currently at work on a new album. It will be, she says, "grittier" than her first CD, 2006's "Mistakes in Parting."
"I'm working with a friend (Sacramento musician) Scott McChane but it's mostly self-produced," she says. "I'm using some of the original demo tracks for the songs so rather than having everything sound so sparkling clean, it has a much more personal sound."
Style: Ghostly folk-pop
Behind the song: Wolfe's new album follows a delicate thread of self-doubt.
"It's about feeling you're going crazy, like you're lost in your head, attempting to fit into a normal world," Wolfe says. "This song is the first track and it sets the mood. I wanted it to be droning and spacey and moody."
"Underwater"'s narrative draws on the story of the writer Virginia Woolf's suicide by drowning.
"I wanted to explore her situation - what drove her to walk into a river with stones in her pocket," Wolfe says.
"I wanted it to sound like what it felt like when she went underwater."
See her: 7 p.m Saturday, March 14 at the Blackwater Cafe (912 North Yosemite, Stockton).
For more information: www.blackwatercafestockton.com/
Listen to "Underwater" here: