Vancouver-based indie pop artist Michaela Slinger just released her newest single “Just This Once”. Michaela is known for crafting songs that exist at the intersection of pop, indie, and singer-songwriter. Her stop-you-dead vocals and poetic observations about love, aging, and selfhood feel at once timely and timeless, and the new single is a synth-pop anthem with a retro feel.
The artist recently talked to ai love music about what was it like writing and producing “Just This Once”. Keep on reading to find out why the theme of freedom was so important to feature in this song. And, find out how it was like working with Ryan Stewart (Carly Rae Jepsen, Simple Plan, Tyler Shaw) on “Just This Once”. Listen to the song, read the interview, and let me know what you think in the comments!
Hey Michaela, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. What have you been up to lately?
It’s great to chat with you! I’ve been spending a lot of time at my producer’s home studio in North Vancouver recording my sophomore EP. I’ve also done two recent trips to Toronto for two different shows, an acoustic mini-tour down the East Coast of the US, several weeks writing in Nashville and LA, and lately rehearsing for a bunch of upcoming summer festivals.
What got you into music and when did it begin to transition from a hobby into a career?
I think I was just born into music. It wasn’t really just a conscious choice—it’s always felt innate to me and captures my attention like nothing else. When I was a kid, I had no doubt that I would pursue music as a career, but I paused that for a bit to go to university and embark on a full-time job. That lasted less than a year, and in 2018, I decided to take the leap and figure out how to pursue a music career in a real way.
Let’s talk about your recent release “Just This Once”. How did the song come about?
‘Just This Once’ is the first single off my sophomore EP, and also the first song I ever wrote with Ryan on the day we met last summer. We’d shown each other a few ideas, and then he played that short effective keyboard loop that you hear at the very beginning. I was hooked, and we wrote from there.
What artists or musical genres have been inspiring your songwriting most on this current project?
There are always so many inspirations swirling around, both consciously and subconsciously. Holly Humberstone, Griff, HAIM, Maggie Rogers, Harry Styles, Joni Mitchell, Madi Diaz, First Aid Kit, John Mayer, Fleetwood Mac—the list could go on.
Can you tell the inspiration behind the song?
‘Just This Once’ captures a desire for freedom I couldn’t indulge during the pandemic. The lyrics tell a story of the frustration I was experiencing with someone I love. At that point in COVID, I think everyone was kind of exploding and re-evaluating their life, and I totally had that hunger for complete honesty. I thought, “If we actually don’t know how tomorrow will look, you might as well get everything out of the shadows and into the light.”
This song has vibes that are similar to the indie-pop sound of bands like The 1975. What inspired you to take on this sound and did it come naturally to you?
I don’t tend to fixate too much on any specific references when I’m writing. Like I said, your influences are always in the room with you, but this was just the sound I naturally gravitated towards and put forward for my second project—evolved, mature, left-of-center pop.
How was working with Ryan Stewart?
Amazing. He’s such a pro. He plays every instrument and his love for music and production is evident every time we’re together. He’s totally meticulous and does everything in service of crafting the best song possible.
What is one thing you want listeners to really listen for in your music?
Lyrics. I don’t waste words in my songs, and I love the challenge and gift of trying to be both poetically specific and universal in three minutes and thirty seconds (or less).
Any future plans?
Many future plans! I’m gearing up for 6 festivals this summer around Vancouver with my band, planning the release of more singles and the full sophomore EP, and looking ahead to booking a tour for the fall or spring. I’m also craving more writing trips to Nashville and LA, and possibly exploring different music markets like London!
Make sure to check out Michaela Slinger at the following: