Shadow Works is the third mainstream studio album by Kerli, considering Utopia as her second, as it was intended to be. The album was released on February 22, 2019, via Seeking Blue.[1]


Years after the release of Utopia, Kerli realised that she didn't want to become the type of person she has always wanted to and that she didn't want to experience everything she always wanted to: who she has always wanted to be was not who she wanted to be anymore, "that identity was outdated". She confessed, in a vlog post on YouTube, that she used to cry almost every day for the life she was leading, which clearly didn't fulfil her needs.[2] She didn't know if she would ever write music again. Therefore, she decided to move to the Estonian forest, in order to comprehend her feelings and emotions and, ultimately, find a renovated tranquillity and peace, thanks also to the relaxation exercises she began to practice. She started the "slow strenuous process of looking at [herself] for the first time" and also found a way to "make art from [her] soul" again. Meanwhile, her long-time relationship of 9 years ended tragically and resulted in Kerli being absolutely heartbroken and humiliated. She began "a massive transformation process". After the Feral Hearts mini-era, Kerli decided to take a hiatus from all social media (although still posting on Instagram, sometimes) in order to "build a whole new [her]". She wanted to prioritize herself and her care again, making improvements step by step. Shadow Works is the result of this transformation process, it is the highest expression of the externalisation of Kerli's feelings and realisations that occurred throughout the years.


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Shadow Works is an exploration of my own shadow, it’s a collection of music designed to connect the listener to their own disowned parts and to honor their hidden self. I explore the feelings of victim-hood, co-dependence, lust, guilt and defeat. There are also frequencies that symbolize the eventual triumph over darkness. The vocal scapes that start, part and end the collection are designed to bring the listener into a meditative state so that Shadow Work can be performed.


In Jungian psychology, the "shadow" is an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself. It is the home of everything one does not want to see in himself or herself. Because one tends to reject or remain ignorant of the least desirable aspects of one's personality, the shadow is largely negative. There are, however, positive aspects that may also remain hidden in one's shadow. Because the shadow is part of one's unconscious mind, it starts to project out upon one's reality without one's awareness. Therefore, the shadow causes a lost of distortions to one's experience of reality, resulting in a loose of clarity and wisdom about the situation the individual is in. However, with processes like "shadow work", one can start to reintegrate those disowned and repressed aspect of himself/herself in order to regain awareness.[3][4]


Kerli revealed the official album artwork for Shadow Works from November 27, 2018, to December 4, through social media. The artwork was shot by Estonian photographer Jörgen Paabu. The cover depicts Kerli standing, in a black dress, in front of a full black background. She is holding two Ankhs, an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol that was most commonly used to represent the word for "life" and, by extension, as a symbol of life itself. The waxing crescent moon on top of Kerli’s head symbolises a new beginning, a moment where people can send their desires to the world, a positive message of hope. For the logo, some Greek letters are being used: "Ξ" instead of "E" and "Δ" instead of "A". Furthermore, the symbol for bilabial click "ʘ" substitutes the letter "O".

Through an Instagram post, Kerli revealed that it took her about 6 months to conceptualize, sketch and handmake everything shown in the cover arts.[5] All of the different materials, once gathered from USA, Estonia and Asia, were all transported to Kerli's Moon Temple, which served as a "headquarter" for the Shadow Works visuals. Kerli started the process of creating and manufacturing things, spacing from dresses made of foam roll to "super high boots with random silk fabrics tied around them".

Release and promotion

After scrapping the 2016/2017 album, Kerli decided to begin a new project. Via PledgeMusic her team announced that the first single, Savages, off the new version of the third album, was scheduled to be released on November 30, 2018, while the album was slated for release on February 22, 2019. Through an Instagram live streamed on January 5, 2019, Kerli confirmed that Better would be released as the second single off the album on January 18, 2019. The release date was confirmed on January 15. Kerli began posting image teasers on Instagram and other social media platforms on February 5 to announce Legends would be released on Friday 8. She also stated that a fourth single would be released along with the album; this fourth single, as of May 2019, has not been released yet. The day before its official release, the album was premiered via livestream on YouTube channel MrSuicideSheep.[6]


  • Savages was released as the first single on November 30, 2018. The music video was released on March 21, 2019.
  • Better served as the second single off the album, released on January 18, 2019.
  • Legends was released as the third single on February 8, 2019.
  • Upcoming fourth single. Through an Instagram comment, Kerli confirmed that a new single would be released along with the album on February 22, 2019. On February 25, the audio for One was uploaded to YouTube channel MrSucideSheep, which hinted its potential release as a single. However, the selection of One as the fourth single off Shadow Works has not been formalized. On March 11, Kerli posted on Instagram that MrSuicideSheep has posted audios for both One and Mimicry, marking their possible release as promotional singles.[7]


# Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. The Opening of the Way (Intro) Kerli Kõiv Kerli 1:51
2. Mimicry Kõiv, Even Sarucco EvenS 4:34
3. Everybody Bleeds the Same Kõiv, Andrew Richard Burns Crash Cove 4:02
4. Savages Kõiv, David Dahlquist, Sarucco Kill Dave 3:09
5. One Kõiv, Ago Teppand, Afshin Salmani Jéja, AFSHeeN 3:20
6. Purification (Interlude) Kõiv Kerli 1:04
7. Legends Kõiv, Christian Buettner, Josh Cumbee, Gennessee Lewis, Caitlin Morris, Marcello Pagin, Salmani Cumbee, AFSHeeN 2:58
8. Where the Dark Things Are Kõiv AFSHeeN, Varien 3:40
9. Better Kõiv, Burns Crash Cove 3:44
10. Giving Up the Ghost Kõiv, Trevor Christensen Said the Sky 4:12
11. Tuleloits Kõiv Kerli 6:08
12. Shadow Works (Outro) Kõiv Kerli 3:43

Credits and personnel

  • Ago "Jéja" Teppand – composer (5)
  • Andrew Richard "Crash Cove" Burns – composer, producer (3, 9)
  • Afshin "AFSHeeN" Salmani – composer (5, 7), producer (5, 7, 8)
  • Brian Malouf – mixing, programming, mastering
  • Caitlin Morris – composer (7)
  • Christian Buettner – composer (7)
  • Cyrus Saidi – executive producer (4)
  • David Dahlquist – composer, piano, guitar, programming (4)
  • Even Sarucco – composer (2, 4)
  • Gennesse Lewis – composer (7)
  • Josh Cumbee – composer, producer (7)
  • Kerli Kõiv – composer, vocal producer, lead vocals, background vocals, recording, piano (4), guitar (4), programming (4)
  • Kill Dave – production (4)
  • Marcello Pagin – composer (7)
  • Nicolas Karl "Varien" Pittsinger – producer (8)

  • Gerda Miller – makeup
  • Jörgen Paabu – photography, design
  • Jörn Wallenwein – raven image
  • Kaja Seppel (Ilusalong Intersalon) – hair stylist
  • Kerli Kõiv – creative direction, styling
  • Liina Heck (Ilusalong Intersalon) – hair stylist
  • Urmas Lüüs – black iron ankhs

  • Cyrus Saidi – manager

  • Afshin Salmani (SESAC) (5, 7)
  • Atlas Music Publishing (4)
  • BMG Platinum Songs (5, 7)
  • BMG Rights (7)
  • Brill Building (7)
  • Copyright Control (ASCAP) (3, 9, 10)
  • Cumbee Publishing (ASCAP) (7)
  • Fly A Kite Music (5, 7)
  • Genstar Music (7)
  • Kite Kid (ASCAP) (7)
  • Kobalt (ASCAP) (7)
  • Tiny Cute Monster (all)
  • TONO (NCB) (2, 4)
  • Seeking Blue (all)
  • Small Victory Music (BMI) (5)
  • Soundish (5, 7)
  • Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. (BMI) (all)
  • With Guts Publishing Skip To The Hook Music Brill Building Kobalt (ASCAP) (7)


Chart (2019) Peak position
American iTunes Chart 36
Australian iTunes Chart 51
Brazilian iTunes Chart 22
US Heatseekers Albums (Billboard) 24
Canadian iTunes Chart 62
Italian iTunes Chart 82

Release history

Region Date Format(s) Label Reference(s)
Various February 22, 2019 Digital download, streaming Seeking Blue [1]
March 15, 2019 CD (limited edition) [8]
Estonia March 28, 2019 [9]



  1. 1.0 1.1 ‎Shadow Works by Kerli. Apple Music, iTunes Store (United States).
  2. YouTube: The real reason I've been in hiding.. OfficialKerli. December 21, 2018. Retrieved on December 22, 2018.
  3. YouTube: Shadow Work Explained - Jungian Psychology - Carl Jung. The Diamond Net. December 10, 2016. Retrieved on December 22, 2018.
  4. Wikipedia: Shadow (psychology). Retrieved on December 22, 2018.
  5. Instagram: "So many of you guys have asked, so I wanted to talk about my fashion...". OfficialKerli. January 25, 2019. Retrieved on February 1, 2019.
  6. KERLI Announces YouTube Livestream of New Album 'Shadow Works'. February 19, 2019. BroadwayWorld.
  7. Instagram: "One + Mimicry are now up...". kerlimusic. March 11, 2019. Retrieved on May 5, 2019.
  8. Shadow Works (Limited Edition Compact Disc). Bandcamp. Retrieved on March 23, 2019.
  9. Kerli - Shadow Works CD. Apollo. Retrieved on March 31, 2019.
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