Canadian Country-Pop singer-songwriter Sykamore, just like her skiing/snowboarding, is “carving” her way into 2021 with three tunes in three months. She’s “ripping” up the terrain like it’s nobody’s business.
I had the opportunity to chat with Sykamore, through Canadian Beats, via email about the release of the second single of the trio, “Stay Broke” and much more. Check out our questions and her answers. You will enjoy what you read.
Hi Sykamore. I got the chance to meet a few years ago at Dauphin’s Countryfest and was so impressed with your talent. You’ve come a long way since then. With that being said, first, let’s chat about your new single and lyric video, “Stay Broke,” that was released on February 20, via Music Knox Records/Wheelhouse Records.
High school dance scenes that can be found in John Hughes movies like Pretty In Pink and Sixteen Candles inspired the writing of “Stay Broke.” They were released 1984 and 1986 respectively. Can you explain a bit further how these movies, in particular, inspired you; how you came to embrace ’80s pop culture?
Well, when I started writing this record I set out to explore emotions in their rawest forms, and I found the imagery from so many of those ’80s movies happened to be the perfect backdrop for investigating those emotions. Because when you’re in love for the first time or even crushing on someone for the first time, you are experiencing the height of euphoria and the depths of despair all at once. And, I think the foundation for young love portrayed on film happened in that era of movies, so there was a lot to be inspired by there.
What do you hope people take away from this song?
I hope maybe it carries people back to their first love or their first heartbreak and just how unapologetic they were about their feelings. Everyone has that person in their life that makes them say, “If being in love with you makes me broken, I don’t want to be fixed.” I always want to evoke an emotion in my songwriting and so I hope maybe this one brings out a bit of nostalgia.
It’s a really tough time for artists right now. Usually, when recording in a studio with your team, you can feed off each other’s energy and good vibes; make the necessary changes that come along with that. Were you able to get into a studio to record “Stay Broke” or was it done remotely? And, who produced this single?
Lucky for me, all three of these songs that have come out/will be coming out were recorded in the summer of 2019 when the world was still normal. I got the luxury of being in a studio with a band and my whole team, so everyone’s real-life energy was present. Michael Knox, who is also the head of my label Music Knox Records, produced this song.
What have you learned in the process of writing and producing of “Stay Broke” that you’ll be able to hold onto for future projects?
I definitely learned to just lean into whatever you’re feeling without fear of repercussion. I didn’t really hold back when I wanted to lay on the ‘cheesy’ soundscapes for this one, and I truly didn’t know if everyone on my team would be as stoked on it as me because it is definitely unique sounding. But everyone was fascinated by how distinctive the sound is and it found a place on my record. So for the future, I’ll definitely remember that because I think that is how some gems make it out to the masses, by just leaning into what makes it different.
Let’s get into 2021 and your singles …
“Stay Broke” was released a month after the successful release of “Cheap Thrills” and most likely a month before the final and third release of your next single. This is a unique way to release music. What were the contributing factors for you to make the decision to release three songs in three months?
This was something I wanted to try as an artist with multiple influences. Sometimes I find when you just release ONE song, there may be sides of you people don’t get to see. And because I am still a new artist on the scene, I really want people to have the opportunity to see how versatile my sound is. These songs were all chosen as a way of showcasing the Sykamore brand and just what the dimensions are. This is the first time I’ve done this and it’s been really fun to see the feedback so far!
Can you tell your fans the name of your next release or would you rather it be kept a secret until the release date to built up the excitement your fans are feeling right now?
I’ll keep the title a secret but I WILL say that I co-wrote it with Liz Rose, who wrote “Girl Crush” for Little Big Town and “You Belong with Me” with Taylor Swift [and SO MANY more]. So, safe to say there was a little magic in the room when we wrote it!
On a side note: Sykamore’s third single, “Go Easy on Me” was released on March 19 and is available on all digital platforms.
Let’s chat a bit about you and your career …
You were originally discovered, via Twitter, by veteran songwriting heavyweight Rhett Akins and joined the roster of Home Team Publishing (Akins founded along with his son, country star Thomas Rhett) and relocated to Nashville in 2018. This must have been an amazing experience for you. Tell us more about this.
The whole thing seemed too good to be true at first. I know the way it happened for me is definitely not the norm for young aspiring artists. But it turned out to be legit and I feel very lucky that I happened to follow Rhett on Twitter that day, which led to him checking out my music and direct messaging me. He said, “if you can make it to Nashville I’d like to help you.” And he did! After living in Nashville for 18 months I was able to get my record deal and last spring I put out my first EP on a major label. So the whole thing has happened pretty dang fast and I just feel blessed.
You were also recently named a CMT 2020–2021 “Listen Up” artist. How does feel for you to be getting this accolade and what does it mean for your career?
It always feels great to be recognized by the industry – it helps you know that what you’re doing is breaking through and being heard by the right people. I hope it means just more progression for my career and continuing to keep writing and playing for bigger and bigger crowds!
Last year, you released your five-song album, California King, produced by ACM award-winning producer Michael Knox (Jason Aldean, Kelly Clarkson). What did you learn from working with such an outstanding producer? And, If you had to describe the vibe of the music or the sound that you were aiming for on this album, what would that be?
I learned a lot about tapping into the internal pulse of a song and the difference it makes to just ‘go by feel’ sometimes. Michael prefers a lot of analog options when he’s recording which is really neat and I think really helped the songs have a ton of character and distinction. Sharing my vision with him and his years of experience was a really cool thing. If I had to describe the vibe I think I would say the album is rooted in classic country storytelling with splashes of ’80s pop music, all seen
Is there an artist(s), or even an album, that had a profound influence on you; that made you want to do this as a living?
There are several but one that stands out to me is Taylor Swift. When she was first on the scene, I got to see her open for Brad Paisley – and I was actually side stage because we were friends with some guys in Brad’s band. And, I remember watching as she walked offstage after her set and I thought wow, I’d give anything to do what she just did. And I think in that moment I asked myself why I couldn’t at least try, and I never came up with a good enough answer! So I decided to start writing my own songs and told myself to just see it through.
Tell us a bit about your writing style?
I write pretty much exclusively about my own life experiences and my own feelings, and I think that’s because I started writing songs just as a cathartic release for my emotions. Then when it became my actual job, that muscle was already so activated that it just carried through. I sometimes enjoy writing by myself, but since moving to Nashville I have learned the value of co-writing when you need someone else to be a sounding board for ideas, or you’re just tired of your own tendencies.
What is the biggest goal you hope to accomplish in 2021?
I’d really love to be able to play a show or two this year. Who knows what the future holds though, that is just my little dream. I miss the stage. I’d also like to see a few more of my songs reach one million streams, that’s a milestone I think would be pretty amazing for me, though it might seem small to other people – haha.
What advice do you want to give female artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?
I like to tell people to be themselves. Don’t water down your material because you think that is what will make other people like it. Make music YOU want to listen to. Nobody made history by acting just like everyone else. All the greatest artists are remembered because there was no one like them. Remember that
Let’s find out a bit about you so those who don’t know who you are, can. Onto some random things …
In your personal life, what are your Top 3 “for me alone” things to do or things to try to make your Top 3 this year?
I’ve gotten into boxing in the last six months, just as my cardio choice. I’d really like to get better at that – not fighting people, just hitting the bag – haha. I also want to write some more songs this year. I kind of took a break in 2020 and I feel like I’m ready to get back it. And finally, I want to become a better photographer. That was another Covid hobby I picked up and I’m really into it now.
Who is your dream collaboration?
I think I’ll say Lana Del Rey. She is one of my music heroes and I think we could write and sing something really cool together.
What is your favourite song to perform?
I have a song called “He’s Mine” that isn’t out yet but I like to do that one because it’s usually a more intimate moment with the crowd. It’s one of the more raw moments of the live show.
What do you like best about being an artist?
I like that I can indulge a lot of my interests kind of all under one umbrella. I’m very visually stimulated and so I love being involved on the graphic design side of my album art, etc. I also love to write and perform songs, so really I don’t have to choose what artistic endeavour I want to entertain because I get to do it all!
Rising to the challenge of this pandemic, what is one message you would give to your fans and other young aspiring artists?
I would say, control what you can – give yourself a break where you need it. Feel all your feelings, even the bad ones, don’t numb yourself to them. Because that in itself is therapeutic, just letting it out. And hold fast to the knowledge that this is not our forever and we will get to the other side. Talk to your friends about your feelings and let them talk to you. Lean on each other. And keep making art if you can!
With all the many social media platforms that exist today telling the world your life story, is there anything about each of you that would be of interest to your fans; something that they couldn’t find on your own social network or even Google?
I don’t know if everybody knows this but I like to cook. I watch The Food Network all the time and I am always excited to try a new dish. It’s a fun creative outlet for me. But I don’t share it much on social media because I’m still an amateur ¬ – haha.
And last but not least, if you can have one thing that your fans could remember about you, what would it be?
I hope they would come away with the knowledge that I put my entire life into my work, I give 110%. And that sharing my art in its purest form is my greatest gift. I make music hoping that other people can share in my experience, and together we can feel something very authentic. I hope people come away from a show thinking I’m a real artist, talking about real feelings, who has been real places, and because of that, they can resonate with it.
We, at Canadianbeats.ca, thank you Sykamore so much for taking the time for this interview and helping your fans get to know you a little more. We wish you much success with all the great stuff that is coming your way.
Download or stream “Stay Broke” here.
Watch the lyric video for “Stay Broke” here.
Hi all. I’m Nanci Dagg. I am from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and have lived my entire life here. There is nothing I like better than supporting local artists followed by supporting Canadian artists. Although I was a classic rock gal, my go to genre is country. Something about this music that just makes me feel great. I can be found at most country music concerts and shows (from someone’s house to really large venues) taking lots of pictures. Music and photography are two of my passions. Add to this mix, writing about artists, well let’s say, life doesn’t get better than this.