THE first interview of the week…
is with S.K. Wellington. I have been speaking with her about the new track, Moments Bliss, and what its story is. She reveals what we can expect from her upcoming E.P., Where the Earth Meets the Sea, and what it was like working with so many experienced musicians on the record.
Wellington highlights an artist to watch and tells me her favourite memory of her career so far; which three albums mean the most to her; when music came into her life and took over – she ends the interview by selecting a great cut.
Hi, Sarah. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey! I’m great. My week has actually been awesome. Just coming off of a string of shows in British Columbia to promote the new E.P.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a singer/songwriter out of Calgary, AB. I led the band, The Wellington Folk, for about eight years and this year I transformed that band into more of a solo act under the name S.K. Wellington. My style is Indie/Folk/Rock.
Moments Bliss is your current single. What is the story behind the song?
I had experienced a real season of creative burnout and decided to take some serious time away from work and music. I spent a couple of months on Salt Spring Island. I was sitting in the public park in Ganges one day just fiddling on my guitar and really taking in my surroundings. I realized, in that moment, how free I felt; how much joy was returning to my soul. Just being present. No deadlines, no writing expectations; no work.
It was a really profound moment for me and the song just sort of started to form over the rest of my time on the island. The lyrics reflect that slow process of letting go of story, pressure and anxiety and just releasing expectation to be present. To me, that feeling of freedom and joy is what is worth fighting for.
It is from the E.P., Where the Earth Meets the Sea. Are there particular themes that inspired the songs?
All of the songs on this E.P. are documenting my experience on Salt Spring - my season of rest and reset. You’ll hear the sweetness of re-finding creative passion and also some of the intensity that came with learning to let go.
I believe there are some great and established musicians on the record. Was it cool working with so many eclectic people on Where the Earth Meets the Sea?
It was an amazing experience. It was the first studio album I’ve ever created with session musicians. Even going to a different city to record was a pretty immersive and new experience for me. It’s such an inspiring and beautiful thing to get people’s musical interpretations of your songs and to hear their signatures become a part of the project’s sound. Above all, though, they were all such great people to work with. Amazing talent; funny and kind to boot. We had a great time (at least I did!).
Do you recall when music came into your life? Which artists did you follow at a young age?
I always grew up around music. My grandma and mother both played the piano so I grew up listening to them play. When I was younger, I had a great Boyz II Men phase and then got really into Punk-Rock for some time. The first time I remember considering songwriting, however, was when I really started listening to some of my mum’s favourite music. I would just sit and intently listen all the way through James Taylor records and Tracy Chapman albums. I spent HOURS listening to Chicago. That’s when music really started to inspire me and become a bit more of an active interest/hobby.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
I hope to enjoy the process of releasing these songs. They’re really vulnerable and I feel like I just want to enjoy the ride of sharing them with people. Trying to continue on in the actual spirit of the E.P. - no expectations, no stress.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
I have a few.
One of my absolute favourite music memories actually dates back to my first Wellington Folk release. I had the privilege of not only sharing the stage with my incredible bandmates, but also getting to play live with some other local talents. It was unreal to be playing my songs and experiencing such a FULL sound onstage. I remember feeling so humbled and in awe of the talent on stage. All playing songs I had written in my bedroom! Also, any recording experience is always a favourite for me
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Fables - David Ramirez
I had been feeling really stale and uninspired in my listening when I found this album. I was blown away. I fell in love with his writing and style through that album. I don’t think he has one song that I don’t like.
Seeds - Hey Rosetta
I love this record. I was so pumped to discover a band that didn’t follow all of the normal ‘rules’ of music. I found I could relate to that aspect of the writing and really look up to Tim Baker as a writer.
Babel - Mumford & Sons
This was such a refreshing album to encounter when it came out. The strength of the lyrics - and to hear things like the banjo in a fresh way was really exciting.
*Bonus: Continuum - John Mayer. I love the way that guy plays guitar. I also never skip a track on that album, which is rare for me.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
I’d want to learn to play the drums and support Hey Rosetta. Pretty far-fetched. I’m not a great drummer.
Will there be some tour dates coming up? Where might we be able to catch you play?
The E.P. release party is September 20th and then hoping to get East with the music soon as well.
Do you think you’ll come and play in the U.K. at all?
I’d absolutely love to. I have some dear friends from there and there are a lot of artists I love that would be neat to possibly connect with. It probably wouldn’t be until 2019 or 2020.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Don’t feel the need to learn everything the hard way: connecting with some seasoned musicians and industry folks and asking questions can be an incredible resource when you’re just starting out. I’d also say to make sure to take care of yourself so that you continue to have the energy and space for your art.
IN THIS PHOTO: Wallis Bird/PHOTO CREDIT: Jens Oellermann
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
I was totally blown away at the Calgary Folk Festival this year by Wallis Bird. She’s definitely not a ‘new artist’, but she’s new to me! Her performance was unreal - her energy, musicianship and presence. I would definitely recommend checking her out.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I unwind by listening to music (can that count?); walking, spending time in nature and with my community. I also walk my dog a lot.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Watching from a Distance - David Ramirez
Thanks so much for the opportunity to do this!
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