I recently had the chance to speak to Canadian Indie Pop singer-songwriter Michaela Slinger about her musicality, her musical background, and her latest single “Make You Sad” via email. What is Michael Slingers’ newest song all about? And, what was it like to work with Polaris Prize listed and JUNO-nominated Louise Burns and with JUNO award-winning Kevvy? Find out below!
Make sure to check out Michaela Slinger’s newest single “Make You Sad” down below. It is a song that has a “Maggie Rogers meets Joni Mitchell vibe“. Let me know what you think in the comments!
Please introduce yourself. What has your musical journey been like?
I’m so happy to chat with you! I’m Michaela Slinger, an indie-pop musician based out of Vancouver, BC. I’ve grown up in this region my entire life and I’m definitely a West Coast gal through and through.
I’ve been singing since I could talk, and I performed publicly for the first time at age 3 when I sang the national anthem in front of 18,000 people at a sold-out NBA game. From there, I started in musical theatre, voice and piano lessons, dance, and film and TV. I loved it all!
My focus shifted to songwriting and singing in high school, but I was still pretty shy about sharing my own music. I went to university and started working full-time for a non-profit right when I graduated—I thought I’d be able to keep music as a hobby, but I realized that my little 3-year-old self knew what I really wanted. I ended up leaving that job to pursue more flexible part-time work, and released my first single independently in 2019. It’s been an amazing ride since then: I went to Toronto for a 2-month music program, started performing around Vancouver, and got signed to 604 Records!
What musical artists or genres inspire you?
There are so many, and the genre depends on my mood. In no particular order, I seek out indie, indie-pop, folk-pop, R&B, 70s singer-songwriter and 80s hits, pop-rock, lyrical rap…the list goes on. In the past year, I listened to a lot of Dua Lipa, Caroline Polachek, and Emily King.
Which song in your discography is your current favorite and why?
Great (and tough!) question. I like them all for different reasons. “Flux” will always be special since it was my first release, and it’s totally blown me away with streaming numbers. “Tarot” was the first song I ever worked on where I created part of it on Garageband, so I like how you can still hear those ideas. I think “Don’t Wait” is my most mature song—I’m really proud of the lyrics and the ABBA-inspired chorus energy, and the live violin and cello take it to a different level.
You have worked with so many people in the industry since your debut. What was the most important thing you learned from them? Do you have a favorite collaborator?
My two collaborators and producers, Kevvy and Louise Burns are the reason I’ve got a debut album coming out with 604! I’ve learned so much from both of them, but I think one of the biggest things is how to start to think like a producer. Kevvy and Louise are always sharing their production process with me and encouraging me to build my skills in Garageband. I definitely evolved over the course of writing my album with their guidance.
Let’s talk about your latest song, “Make You Sad.” What is it about? What inspired you to write the tune?
“Make You Sad” was inspired by a challenging conversation I had with someone in my life, where we both brought past hurts and assumptions and unsaid feelings into it. It was necessary but upsetting, and I recorded a quick voice note that ended up sparking the song in a writing session. That voice note idea is the opening line of the track: “Say you want to have a candid conversation / Doesn’t seem like that.”
How was working with Louise Burns and Kevvy? What was the process like in producing this song with them?
“Make You Sad” is the only song on the album that we all co-wrote three ways together like this, and it was an incredible experience. All three of us were just feeling it, and all on our A-game. Kevvy got to work right away creating the track, while Louise and I worked on lyrics and melody—she’s brilliant and meticulous and always pushes me to find a new way to sing something or a more interesting idea.
What do you want listeners to listen to when listening to your music?
The more I write and practice my production skills, the more I realize just how many things there are to listen for in any given song. I’m a super lyrically driven artist, and I try to write in a way that’s fresh and thoughtful, so my biased suggestion would be to look up the lyrics after you listen the first time!
What are your plans for 2021?
In a way, it’s hard to know! This year could end so differently from how it’s started here, where we’re still very limited in what we can safely do outside our homes due to the pandemic. I have high hopes of being able to perform my album live, even if it’s only small outdoor shows. But honestly, I just want to spend as much time creating music and hugging my family and friends as I can once I’m allowed.
Lastly, do you have any words for the readers of ai love music?
Thank you so much for checking out my music! It really means the world to an early-stage artist like me to connect with new audience members and fans. I love getting to know the people who are listening, so feel free to message me on Instagram.
About the Artist: Michaela Slinger
“The most rewarding thing is when one of my songs so perfectly captures a moment or feeling in my life that I am almost binge-listen to it in disbelief. Even with the first demo of Make You Sad, I remember listening to it everywhere: on the bus, walking around my neighbourhood, sneakily in a café with other people around. It’s like carrying around an exciting secret.”Michaela Slinger
Michaela Slinger independently released her debut single and music video, “Flux” (produced by Nygel Asselin, Half Moon Run), in July 2019 to streaming success and commercial radio play. Between November 2019 and January 2020, her captivating live show—an immersive blend of gripping song delivery, hilarious storytelling, and comforting candidness—took her from performing in small Vancouver venues to bigger size venues like the Biltmore Cabaret, the Imperial, and the Vogue.
Make sure to check out Michaela Slinger at the following sites: