Five Questions With velours

Saskatoon, SK-based alt-pop, electro-synth and velvet-voiced artist, velours has released her new single, “Summer Haze” along with her EP, Identity.

“‘Summer Haze’ was the most intimate song I had written for Identity, and it’s meant to evoke a feeling of renewal… An escape from an internal cage,” she considers. “The afternoon I wrote it, I was inspired by the realization that it’s okay to not know the ending to the story of my life, and that I’m fine to still be messy. And that none of this makes me any less of a complex and strong person.”

“I usually begin writing my songs with the first line,” she continues. “This one was ‘still think I’m messy and I’m intimate / with only myself to fit inside my home,’ and (it’s about) how I know who I am more than anyone else does. The term ‘Summer Haze’ sounds sweet and pleasant initially, but it paints a picture of how we sometimes ignore our feelings and get stuck in the haze of everyday life. The storm represents the harsh reality of experiencing hard times to come out the other side stronger.

“I hope this song shows you can overcome the hardest parts of your life, and that it’s better to face the storm than it is to stay in the haze.

“And that it’s okay to be ‘unfinished’ as long as you remember how capable you are.”

The song reflects the larger imprint of Identity, she adds. “The album is about finding yourself and knowing that that’s a constant journey. There’s a narrative that developed in these four songs, even though it wasn’t intentional when I was initially writing each song individually. I could spend literal hours talking about the lyrics…”

Check out “Summer Haze” below and find out more about velours via our Five Questions With segment.

Care to introduce yourself to our readers?

I would care for nothing more! Hello, all of you lovely people. I’m velours and I’m an alt. pop singer/songwriter from Saskatoon, SK. Things I enjoy include reading, watching movies and tv shows with my mom and dogs, and chocolate. I’ve been singing even before I could talk (just like the ABBA song!) and have been writing music for as long as I can remember. I am a Virgo, but only when it’s accurate, and absolutely love the feeling of staying home after plans have been cancelled. Thank you so much for this interview!

Tell us a bit about your music and writing style.

I’ve grown up being inspired by so many different artists and genres, and that’s definitely impacted how I write and even experience music. I like to place my music in the “alt. pop” genre because I take so many elements from so many genres spanning from rock and grunge to electronica and 90s pop. When working with Ryan Stewart (Bif Naked, Carly Rae Jepsen, Carys) on Identity’s production, I knew that I wanted to combine live instruments with electronic ones. The live guitar and synth.

It’s similar with my lyrics and melodies. I tend to be drawn to a balance between something approachable and something we will never understand as people. All of my songs are written in an emotional state, trying to visualise what the song is feeling through metaphor and my melodies. It all comes from a place of trying to understand the human connection and who we are/why we are the way we are. I’m always trying to find a reason for why I feel a certain way.

In my first song on the EP, “Your Sweater”, it’s a state of denial. I was so interested in how a mere object like a sweater could mean so much to a relationship that’s all but disappeared. For all of my songs, I really just put down how I was feeling or how I imagined I’d feel in a certain emotional situation and just amplified it.

Growing up, any time I was in the car, my mom would be driving and I would be looking through the CD wallet to pick the next album to jam out to. Music is one of my favourite parts of our culture and even when I’m not realising it, I’m singing or thinking of a lyric that will sound cool or be impactful… or both!

From writing in my notebook or mumbling melodies into my phone’s voice memos, my brain is constantly figuring out and complicating the idea of why we are the way we are. Similarly to the mix of live instruments and electronica in the production, when I’m writing my songs, I like to juxtapose the emotive and metaphoric lyrics with a fun beat you can bop to.

Do you have any upcoming shows? For someone who has yet to see you live, how would you explain your live performance?

I had a blast performing my EP release party concert a couple of weeks ago so I’m definitely looking for new opportunities to perform! It’s a huge challenge in our current climate but the great thing about the music community is that we always find a way to keep performing and creating.

My live performances currently have a mix of covers and my originals, with a bit of a narrative tying them all together throughout the show. I’ve been fortunate to be accompanied by some talented musicians in my past shows and that always elevates a performance. There’s a free feeling when I perform and my body movements flow with the music, connecting with the audience at all times. I like to have fun during my shows as well so there’s always a little chatting and enjoying each other in between songs, too! There is this lightness and joyfulness to my concerts. Even if I don’t have a big band or a big stage, my connection to the music I’m singing and the audience I’m performing for are what have people come up afterwards and share their own experiences or relations with my songs. That’s why I love to perform!

If asked to suggest only one of your songs for someone to hear, which would it be?

I think that if I could pick just one for someone to hear, it would be “Summer Haze”. There was a reason I decided that it had to be the EP’s first single. It’s very much an introduction into the music I make and the way I write. I really hope that this song continues to inspire everyone to continue believing in themselves and what they have to offer. We’re all imperfect and “Summer Haze” is really a celebration of the unknown “storm” we’re all strong enough to face. Plus, it has a music video and who doesn’t love a good music video?!

Canadian Beats is all about Canadian music, so who are your current favourite Canadian bands/ artists?

Yay for Canadian music! I mean, gotta love Alessia Cara and The Weeknd for sure. They’re some huge inspirations for what Canadian artists can be in modern music, especially internationally. Charlotte Cardin is so cool, not just because she’s bilingual (twinsies!), but I love her genre-mixing and voice so much. More locally, Ponteix is a stellar producer and his music has such an interesting electronic feel. I’ve also been playing “No More” by Carys on repeat, having found her through our mutual producer, Ryan Stewart. The list is long and vast, which makes me super proud to be a Canadian artist!

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