Montreal-based Carlyn joins the likes of Billie Eilish and Madison Beer in creating a dark indie dream style she’s coined nightmare pop. Recently signed to indie powerhouse Indica Records, she joined forces with producers House of Wolf to record her vulnerable debut single “Sleeping With Penelope.” The single is accompanied by the official video with horror themes.
“Sleeping With Penelope is a story about platonic love and heartbreak,” Carlyn elaborates. “I think a lot of people can relate to feeling left behind when their best friend starts dating somebody. When you consider your best friend your life partner and they find a romantic partner, it can be confusing. The song talks about falling completely in love with someone platonically, and being 100% content with that dynamic. Until you have to watch them fall out of love with you when they find someone who can give them what you can’t, those romantic and sexual aspects.”
She explains how the music video ties in perfectly with her unique genre, blending a horror movie homage with a generally lighthearted sleepover scenario.
“The idea came from how I felt when I wrote the song: like a big, mopey, depressed blob walking around while my best friend was right there happy with someone else. I was thinking about how it would make sense to be in that situation and instantly thought of the bathroom scene from It.”
Watch the video for “Sleeping With Penelope” below, and find out more about Carlyn via our Five Questions With segment.
My name is Carlyn! I’m a 23-year-old singer who loves to write songs, dance, act, and I rock too! I call my style of music “nightmare pop”, which stems from a darker, harder approach to “dream pop”. Aside from music, I’m very passionate about theatre, and other types of performance art. My favourite place to be is at a show, on stage or in the audience- doesn’t matter! Either way, I’ll be rocking out.
My most recent release was my single and music video “Sleeping With Penelope”. The song is about platonic love and heartbreak. I think anyone who has experienced a long and loving friendship can relate to the confusing feelings of jealousy that arise when that friend enters a relationship and suddenly you’re not their person anymore, but they are still yours. It’s definitely a bit of a selfish song, but I wanted to write it because I think it’s something many people experience. When I was experiencing this, I even had myself questioning if I was in love with this person as more than a friend. I was not, however that’s how intense the emotions were, so I thought they best belonged in a song. While I was writing and creating the song, I had this heavy feeling. If I were to describe what the feeling looked like, it would be me walking in the dark completely covered in some sort of liquid that is weighing me down. I knew I wanted some sort of similar visual for the music video, and while thinking about what this liquid could be I instantly thought of the bathroom scene in the movie “It” (2017) where Beverly gets covered in blood. Mixing an homage from my favourite horror movie with a lighthearted sleepover scenario seemed like the perfect way to introduce “Nightmare Pop”.
My background in theatre is extremely influential on my writing process and how I write songs. It starts with a feeling, maybe a line, but before I start writing the song I’ll write out the entire story with characters, a beginning, middle, and end. So even if I pull inspiration from my personal life when writing songs, I will take the most intense or high-stakes part, and invent a story from there. This could be from my personal life, characters in books or plays or movies, or an idea I got when I saw someone on the metro and interpreted what they could be doing or thinking, it can come from anywhere, really. I try to ensure that no line or word is banal. And sometimes my lyrics are very blunt, honest, and intense, but that’s because what I say in a song is something I’d never say in real life. When studying a scene, I would take each line and write out the subtext, what the person really wants to say when they’re saying something. The subtext for a simple “how are you” could be “I love you” or “I’m depressed” or “I’m cheating on you” or “I know what you did last night”, things that are too forward to say in an everyday scenario. Those lines of subtext become the lyrics of the songs. That’s why they can be indelicate because they’re honest.
I’m going to be performing at the COCA showcase in Ottawa in late June, and am hoping to book more shows in Montreal, Toronto, and around Canada over the summer.
My goal for 2022 is to play live as much as possible. I’ve spent the last year writing, planning, and imagining what all of my songs would look like on a live stage, and seeing that come to life is just a dream. I’m so happy to be releasing my music and adding live instruments to my songs to make my shows the most theatrical, fun, and exciting they can be. I want to play shows where nobody knows who I am but are able to have the time of their lives. I don’t even care if people remember my name, I want them to remember the feeling of living in the moment, letting loose, and rocking out.
I’m Jenna, and I am the founder and editor of Canadian Beats. I have had a strong love for Canadian music, which started many years ago. I have a passion for promoting these talented Canadian bands and artists, and that’s how Canadian Beats came to be. I am so proud of what it has become over the last few years, with many talented music lovers and writers coming together to spread the word of Canada’s music.