How would you describe your music to any person who may have never heard it before?
Salli: I would describe my music as hard to describe! I always get a bit stuck when people ask me that. It’s because I don’t stick to just one genre or musical style. The closest description would be indie, pop, alternative, and folk with catchy melodies and deeply personal and insightful lyrics that people can relate to. People often tell me that my songs feel instantly familiar like they’ve heard it before, but they can’t describe how or where.
I like all kinds of music and all my different influences come out so each song sounds different – but my songs also have a unique sound that ties them together. Beat Magazine described my first album ‘Revolving Doors’ as ‘genre-spanning.’ Same could be said about my latest album ‘City Life.’ It has tracks like ‘Stars and Snowflakes’ and ‘My First Morning Without You’ that delve into my alternative, shoegaze influences, ‘Golden Days’ which is a folky ballad, ‘Toronado’ has a jazzy, lounge feel to it and ‘Patience’ could almost be soul pop.
What are your musical influences?
S: My musical influences are so varied! My biggest influences would be Aimee Mann, Liz Phair, Sharon van Etten, Stevie Nicks, Neil Young, Beth Orton, Suzanne Vega and Burt Bacharach. (There is a cover of a Burt Bacharach song on the album.) I like everything from indie, alternative, pop, classic rock, folk, electronica, dance, R&B and even jazz. I love and listen to all kinds of music and they all somehow come out in my songs.
What are your musical inspirations? S: I find inspiration in everything around me, from the mundane to the profound. I am constantly writing songs – in my head, in my journal, on scraps of paper or on my voice memos. My song ‘Apartments’ was inspired by walking around and noticing the rapid pace of new apartment buildings going up in my neighbourhood. ‘For All the People,’ which is the opening track on my new album, came to me one morning after I had been up almost the entire night watching the news about the invasion of Ukraine and other stories of people being subjugated or struggling to survive. My latest single ‘Stars and Snowflakes’ was inspired by a line from one of my favourite classic films ‘Moonstruck.’ I find there is a song just waiting to be written all around me and from the things I see. If given the chance, what musician(s) would you like to collaborate with? Rather this is to either write a song or be featured on a track.
S: I would love to collaborate with Wild Nothing. I think Jack Tatum is exceptionally talented, and I just love the sound of all of Wild Nothing’s songs. There is a unique style that just permeates through every track and reminds me of the feel of some of my songs, too. And my other favourite artist right now is Noah Reid! It would be nice to do a duet with him.
What’s the song/album about?
S: I am especially proud of having just released my second album ‘City Life.’ I feel like this album has a more mature and confident sound. It also has an edgier sound, with more electric guitars throughout. Many of the songs have common themes about life in the city, such as ‘Apartments.’ I wrote the song as a response to the rampant overdevelopment in the city threatening to ruin the character and heritage of the neighbourhood forever. (I noticed on Noah Reid’s new album he has a song called ‘Another F@ing Condo’ which has similar sentiments.) For me, ‘Apartments’ started the whole concept of writing about life in the city for the album. The songs ‘Toronado,’ ‘Euclid,’ and ‘Hello Again,’ all explore city life from different angles. I think that is where I channel my journalism background – I like to observe and write about things from different perspectives.
What’s something you hope people take away from the new song(s)?
S: I hope listeners can take away something really personal from my music. I like to write songs from a personal perspective but in a way that’s also universal so that people can relate to them. What makes me really happy is when I get a message from someone telling me they have listened to my music and how a particular song really resonated with them, or that they could relate to the lyrics or the message of the song. Many of my songs are also quite ambiguous and can be interpreted in so many different ways. My song ‘Blindside’ from my first album, I wrote about deception and being fooled by someone or something you least expected. But a lot of people tell me they thought it was a love song! I love how people can interpret my songs in ways that mean something to them.
Which songs on the album were the most fun to write and which were the most challenging to write?
S: As mentioned earlier, ‘For All the People’ which is the opening track on my new album, came to me one morning after I had been up almost the entire night watching the news about the Ukraine and stories about struggle and injustice. When I woke up, the song came to me almost fully formed, especially the chorus part. The rest of the song just flowed from there and I finished the lyrics in just under an hour. I love it when a song just flows easily – it’s like it was meant to be born right at that moment. It’s so much fun when that happens! The challenging ones haven’t made it on the album – I’m still working on them!
Do you have any favourite song(s) off the new album?
S: If I had to choose, my favourites would be ‘For All the People’, ‘Apartments’, ‘Stars and Snowflakes’, ‘My First Morning Without You’ and ‘Euclid.’ And I hope listeners like them, too. Do you have any favourite songs to perform live? Could be your own music or even a cover. Any reason why?
S: During the pandemic - I remember it was very early days when people were just learning about COVID-19 and there was so much uncertainty all over the world. I was in lockdown at home and wrote my song called ‘Traces’ which is on my first album ‘Revolving Doors.’ I was going through so many emotions at the time and I picked up my guitar and played around with some chords. Then I started channelling what I was feeling about the world at the time, about being in lockdown and unable to be with loved ones, and the uncertainty of this deadly virus that we knew so little about. The song pretty much came out in about 20 minutes, lyrics and melody. I love performing this song as it is quite an emotional song and is a way for me to really connect with the audience. If you could perform a show this very second anywhere in the world, where would it be? Is there any particular venue(s) or city/cities that comes to mind? S: I would love to play at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in Soho, London! It’s such an iconic place with so much history. Another one would be the Warfield in San Francisco. I saw so many artists perform there while I was living in San Francisco. It’s an institution in the music industry where so many big names have played for decades. Not to mention the building itself is quite beautiful.
What do you currently have planned for the remainder of the year?
S: After I finish a major project like an album, I take a rest to ‘fill the well.’ This is what I call taking the time to replenish the creative stores and fill my head with new inspirations and ideas. My next album could sound totally different!
Thanks for the time today. Is there anything else you may want to add before you go? S: Please check out my music on your preferred platform – Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, you name it! Or on my website: salliedwards.com. Thank you for the opportunity to be featured in your blog!