Talented singer/songwriter Michaela Slinger is only 23 years old but the soul and passion that goes into her work is timeless. Wise beyond her years, her maturity, clever lyricism and angelic vocals are what she’s best known for. Residing in Vancouver, Canada, this rising star was recently accepted as one of 16 Canadian participants in the Artist Entrepreneur program through Canada’s Music Incubator in Toronto, where she’ll work on her release plan for her 5-song EP. Michaela has a wide range of musical influences, including Maggie Rogers, Lorde, Fleetwood Mac, Etta James, John Mayer, and The Cranberries. Michaela also builds community throughout Vancouver through her work with non-profits, specifically involved in youth engagement.
Michaela recorded her debut single “Flux” at Greenhouse Studios with producer Nygel Asselin (Dark Eyes - Half Moon Run (platinum certified), Matt Millz) in June 2018. A long road to get to where she is today, her debut single “Flux” is evidence of that long journey. “Flux” is an alternative pop ballad about the fears and struggles we all deal with in our early twenties. Making big decisions and taking risks puts everyone out of their comfort zone and it’s truly admirable that Michaela gives her listeners a retrospective look at her feelings. She takes her heart and soul and create emotive poetry to share with her listeners. The raw energy that Michaela exudes is undeniably spectacular. “Flux” boasts all the intricate elements of an absolute hit and an impressive debut for the young up and comer, Michaela Slinger! Stay on the lookout for her 5-track EP.
Listen to “Flux” here and read more below in our exclusive interview!
Hi Michaela! How did you get started in music? What inspired you to start recording your songs?
The story my mom tells me is that I was singing before I could talk, trying to belt out Celine Dion from my car seat. My parents had a connection through a friend and I ended up singing the anthem at an NBA game when I was 3. They had no idea if it would be traumatizing or inspiring for me—luckily, it was the latter! I wanted everything to do with performing, so then I started musical theatre, voice lessons, piano, dance classes, and all that good stuff. I was super involved in theatre until I was about 16.
I started writing songs around age 10 but really started to care more about being a musician than a theatre performer in high school, when I learned guitar and took Music Composition (I'm super grateful for the music offerings at my high school). Once at university, I began playing my stuff at open mics and recording occasionally in the student-run studio. It was all low pressure and very supportive.
We love your voice! What age did you begin performing in front of others?
Like I said, age 3 was my first public performance at a sold-out NBA game. I had absolutely no fear on stage as a child. Even at home, I was always roping my little sister into doing performances for our parents, and if I had friends over we'd usually end up writing raps and songs, dressing up, recording music videos on our family iMac, or some combination of all three.
How do your musical influences inspire your sound?
I like artists who seem like they're working really hard to be themselves and grow their own sound. People like Maggie Rogers, Lorde, Daniel Caesar, King Princess, Tame Impala, Donna Missal—these are people who don't strike me as the type to succumb to external pressure to be more marketable, or to follow the boundaries of one particular genre.
Maggie Rogers is my biggest musical influence currently, because I think she uses tools from a variety of genres to make her listeners feel things with her. She's obviously got incredible pop sensibility, but she can write folk-esque lyrics with lots of nature imagery, she can make beats that feel like smooth R&B, she's crafty with samples...I could go on. I don't necessarily sit down and think: "I want to make a song that sounds like Fallingwater." But it's useful to have these artists as role models that I can return to when I feel like I'm being too "random" as I create.
Tell us more about the meaning of the lyrics in “Flux.”
I wrote Flux while I was working full-time at a non-profit as an executive assistant. We were deep into labour market research and writing 100+ pages for multiple proposals to submit to the provincial government for funding. I'd be trying to ignore my feelings of unhappiness and dissatisfaction with the way I'd set my life up, but it got to a point where I was on the verge of tears all day at the office because I knew my real (and terrifying) desire was to make music. I think I was actually working from home on the proposals, or maybe I'd come home from work, and Flux just came to me. I'm always scribbling down lyric ideas, and I'd had the lyrics for the pre-chorus first. The theme of the song is about navigating your early twenties (or thirties, or eighties) and experiencing the highs and lows so viscerally. One day, I felt like I was on top of the world; the next, like I wasn't doing anything right. All these big questions were continually coming up: what's my purpose? How can I make a difference? What do I want my days to look like? How to I want to be in relationships with others? And I don't feel like I have enough life wisdom yet to answer these questions. That left me feeling like I was constantly in a state of flux.
What theme can we expect from your upcoming EP? Do you have a release date you’d like to announce?
No date is set yet. I'm heading to Toronto for a 2-month program called Canada's Music Incubator, and I'll be working on my EP release plan there. I liken my EP to a tasting flight that you get when you go to a brewery (Vancouver basically has 1 brewery for every 2 residents, so it feels like a useful description here): there's a jazzy track with saxophone, there's a party-vibe song, there's a stripped down love song, there's a shimmery dream-pop song. They all reflect different parts of me. I really identify as a generalist, or someone who is an expert in nothing but loves to learn a little about everything. So hopefully—just like how people find their one go-to beer from that tasting flight—there will be a track in there for everyone.
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