THE fantastic Ghost Caravan….
has been talking with me about her latest track, Shine On, and what its story is. I ask the songwriter which artists she grew up around and how her work has developed since the start – she recommends a few rising artists we should get behind.
Ghost Caravan selects a few albums that are important to her; what she wants to achieve before the end of the year; whether there is time for her to chill outside of music – she reveals if there will be tour dates coming up.
Hi, Ghost Caravan. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi! It’s been great. The Toronto International Film Festival just closed in Toronto so that’s been keeping me pretty busy. Between events, playing a gig and seeing films while keeping the rest of my life going, it’s been a whirlwind.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m Shaina Silver-Baird and I am the lead artist on Ghost Caravan. However, there are a whole group of amazing musicians, producers and songwriters that have all contributed to the project. The Ghost Caravan sound is Orchestral Soultronica. G.C. strikes a fine balance between electronic tracks and live, organic instruments creating a sound that is cinematic and invigorating. Think Electronic-Pop with a soulful vibe.
Shine On is your new single. Can you reveal the story behind the song?
Shine On is an explosion of self-celebration. What started as a break up song became an upbeat, feelgood discovery of what it means to truly let your light shine against all odds. Shine On is the re-birth after loss; the dance party in your underwear; the uncontrollable laughter with friends. It’s a call to action. As it says in the lyrics: “Keep yourself moving into the sound, shine on!”
How do you think your work has developed since you started out? As a songwriter; are you always searching for fresh inspiration and adding new elements into your work?
When I started the project, I was so focused on being dark, showing my heartbreak and pain in order to be a ‘real artist’. But, I started to realize we don’t actually need more of that in the world. We need to be uplifted. We need to be able to access our murky depths, but we don’t need to stew in them. I want to empower people. I want to make them dance and make them smile.
So, my music is still about those dark places, but I focus on finding the light in them and celebrating the magic in the world. I’m focused not on the moment of despair, but the moment right after; the realization of your own strength and beauty and ability to move forward. Loving when it is hard… that’s heroic. That’s what I want to represent in my music.
What sort of sounds did you grow up around? When did music come into your life?
My parents loved music, so music was always playing when I was growing up. We listened to a lot of Jazz, Blues; Soul, Pop and Traditional Folk music from the Balkans (my parents taught traditional Balkan Folk Dance…talk about niche!), which I think is where my love for unusual rhythms comes from. Generally, if music makes me feel something or if it makes me want to dance, I love it.
Might we see more material next year at some point?
Yes! The next single and music video, Damn You, will be out by the end of September and the full eight-song E.P. will be available soon after. It’ll also be available on limited edition vinyl at the album release party in Toronto on Oct. 6 (or if you live abroad we can ship it to you!)
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
I want thousands of people across the globe to be listening to the songs on the T.O. Confidential E.P. I am so proud of this album and all the work my whole team has put into it and I want as many people to hear it as possible. The response to Shine On has been so positive and so many people have told me the song just makes them feel good. I hope the rest of the songs have the same effect.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
What comes to mind is not a specific memory, but a specific moment that occurs whenever I’m co-writing a song. It’s that moment when you first hear the full thing all the way through - once you’ve finished writing the lyrics and the skeleton of the instrumentation is there and you can HEAR that it’s going to be great. I’m in love with hearing that potential and imagining where a song can go.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
The answer to this question changes depending on the year and what I’m going through. But, right now:
Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
It’s classic. It’s amazing. The end.
Bishop Briggs - Church of Scars
This was the soundtrack to my life this year. So much soul. If this album were a colour it would be deep, deep purple and I want to dive into it.
Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer
Because it is unabashedly female, feminist and it celebrates female sexuality from a female, not a male, perspective. Beyond being catchy as hell, I think it’s a really important album.
Will there be some tour dates coming up? Where might we be able to catch you play?
There will be some more coming up but, right now, we’re prepping for the Vinyl Release Show in Toronto on Saturday Oct. 6 at The Supermarket.
Do you think you’ll come to the U.K. and play at some point?
Yes! It’s definitely a goal.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Create your own opportunities. If you’re writing and singing and playing all the time, even if it’s open mics and small time gigs, eventually you’ll grow and someone will hear you. Get out and play in front of people as much as possible.
IN THIS PHOTO: MIRIAN
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
MIRIAN – she’s an amazing R&B singer who I sang with in my Folk band for five years and she’s doing some very cool stuff.
Laura Tremblay – also a Toronto staple I’ve played with a bunch. Super-fun, soulful Folk/Rock.
Grand Analog – amazing live Hip-Hop. Odario Williams guests on my next single, Damn You, and he is one of the most engaging live performers I’ve ever seen.
Hill Kourkoutis – she’s a producer working with some of the best in Toronto. She produced Shine On and she’s fire. Look out for anything she’s had a hand in.
IN THIS PHOTO: Laura Tremblay
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
This summer, getting out of the city to a cottage or the wilderness has been key for me…that and reading. I’ve rediscovered the library this year and I pretty much always have a book on the go. I love losing myself in stories. I was an only child so books are my happy place.
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).
Body by MIRIAN
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