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Sarah Kellysen Releases Her Most Lyrically-Driven Album Yet, “Vertigo”

Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, singer-songwriter and gender-fluid queer recording artist, actress, and YouTuber Sarah Kellysen faces her fears in her fourth studio album, Vertigo.

From YouTube videos to features on a few successful web series, Sarah Kellysen was inspired to create music in 2017 and never looked back. Her debut album, Transition, paved the way for more bubblegum pop records like 2019 Casual, leading up to her third record, Rainbow Rhythm, in 2020.

Now, Sarah Kellysen is releasing her fourth album, dubbed Vertigo, which is said to be about conquering fears and accepting the uncomfortable. In an exclusive interview, Kellysen said, "It is a story-driven album, probably some of the most lyrically grounding work I have ever done."

The 12-track album opens with the previously released single, "Mundane Monday," a song about not letting preconceived notions get the best of you and your judgment. The song dances the lines between pop and deep house, with chilling and groovy production that keeps our toes tapping. Sarah Kellysen's smooth and laidback performance kicks the album into gear with rhythm and allure.

In track number two, "Dreamscape," we're met with lush electronic synths that open the song on this dreamy and ethereal note. Sarah Kellysen's warm and welcoming vocals dance overtop the chilling sonics to paint vivid and dreamy images that instantly lift the spirit. The power and soul gradually increase near the outro to close the track on a hopeful, optimistic, and zen note.

Reaching the album's third track, "Sensual Feeling," Sarah Kellysen throws us into a psychedelic synth-driven atmosphere alongside kicking drums and plucky bass-like synths that keep the energy flowing. Sarah Kellysen's sensual whispers and soft tones chill the spine with her gentle vocal nuances and the accompanying beat that feels like the soundtrack of a catwalk. It's another dreamy song that lifts you onto a cloud 9.

Landing on the "Future Space Lounge" in track number four, Sarah Kellysen continues that sensual whispery theme while softly serenading us with adventurous lyricism. She never fails to evoke some empowering emotions in the listener, like encouraging them to set themselves free and live authentically and unapologetically. We're personally waiting for our invite to the "Future Space Lounge," where everyone is invited to let loose and be themselves.

Upping the groove and rhythm is track number five, "Visions Of You," which kicks off with a toe-tapping drum arrangement that later sinks into this mystical old-school hip-hop vibe meets 80s funk and modern pop. It's an incredibly dynamic song that calls on us to reach whatever our heart desires. The dreamy background samples contrast Sarah Kellysen's alluring vocal performance perfectly, heading to the outro with the sweetest vibes possible.

Jumping into the album's halfway point with track number six, "Erratic," we're met with soft percussion breakdowns and lush synths alongside Sarah Kellysen's clever lyricism. While whispering the song's title and falling into the song's groovy and slow-burn atmosphere, Sarah Kellysen expresses the core characteristics of her being while encouraging listeners to free themselves and feel empowered in their skin.

Onto the album's second half, with the seventh track, "Kings And Queens," Sarah Kellysen throws us into a heavy deep house vibe with driving synths and crisp drum arrangements. Sarah Kellysen's lyrics never fail to make us smile, whether she's speaking empowering facts or making a witty, sly joke. This track is perfect for any weekend jam, prompting some serious dancing and feel-good vibes.

Slowing things down a bit is the eighth track, "Black Rainbow," which softly opens with Sarah Kellysen's gentle whispers and r&b meets deep house production. This song feels like more of a personal entry into Sarah Kellysen's journal, where she expresses the trials and tribulations of being born into a path that was unspoken and walking into the unknown like a lone wolf. It's another empowering and hazy song that lifts the spirit and soothes the soul.

Entering perhaps the most relaxing song on the album, "House Of Glass," Sarah Kellysen opens the song with her familiar whispers and soothing vocals that encourage us to relax and find relief. The gentle electro-pop sonics shimmer and sparkle through our speakers while Sarah Kellysen reminds us that our social class and the things we lack do not define us in this transparent "House Of Glass," where you're seen for who you truly are.

Onto track number ten, "Pray For Another Day," we're met with an upbeat pop soundscape with driving drums and lush electric guitar licks alongside Sarah Kellysen's calming vocals. While expressing the story of a lone ranger in a ghost town who's constantly batting unpredictable circumstances, she encourages us to follow what our hearts are saying and never try to change ourselves for someone else. It's another transparent and empowering song that leaves us ready to seize the day.

Reaching track number eleven and the album's title track, "Vertigo," Sarah Kellysen throws us into this lively 80s synthpop atmosphere with her whispery vocals and driving drums. She describes this energy-packed scenario where tongues are tied, and anticipation is at a high, channeling her inner fight or flight mode. We get the feeling that Kellysen will always choose to fight, and this album is a prime representation of her determination and commitment to living life unapologetically.

Moving into the album's twelfth and final track, "Blessing In Disguise," Sarah Kellysen tosses us into a glimmering electro-pop soundscape while expressing the illusions and delusions of living in a warped reality. Her powerful and relatable lyrics demand a place where love is not in doubt, where her boundaries are understood, and where she can embrace her true self. It's an uplifting and dreamy outro track that ends the album with a bang.

There is no better feeling than the naturally empowering and fulfilling lyrical concepts within Sarah Kellysen's new album, Vertigo. Find the relatable and anthemic new album on all digital streaming platforms.

Welcome back to BuzzMusic, Sarah Kellysen. We're thrilled to feature your fourth studio album, Vertigo. What life experiences or moments inspired you to create this empowering project?

When creating this project, I went through so many life changes, from graduating from university, breaks up, being departed from jobs and web series; COVID was also a big factor in dealing with it like the rest of the world. I underwent many changes throughout these past 2-3 years of recording this album. I think many of those were beating hardships and overcoming your worst fears.

Did you collaborate with any artists, producers, or musicians when creating the album, Vertigo? Who helped you bring the album to life?

Angela Sunyoo Lee, a Korean sound artist, took on this project with me and brought the whole concept and structure to a new level. Her work embodies identity and hearing the stories of others who are not heard.

Which song from Vertigo means the most to you and why? What makes this song so special to you?

I have two “Pray For Another Day” because that song I wrote about my struggles between my faith telling me one thing and my identity being another. I felt I was revealing something internally personal. “Black Rainbow” is the other song that felt special. A song I wrote about systemic exclusivity from certain groups. How it feels that people say they care, but they don’t, and they don’t want to have a conversation about it either. I felt with so much happening in the world and so much being said now that, it was the time to really express how I feel being a minority myself.

Were there any personal challenges or obstacles you had to face when creating Vertigo? How did you overcome those tough moments?

I had to go through them and conquer the negative energy in order to find grace. I went through many challenges these past couple of years, as did the rest of the world. Vertigo is all about conquering those challenges and overcoming fear. Learning not to get rid of fight or flight mode. But dealing with it.

What did you hope to make listeners think and feel when experiencing Vertigo? What impact did you want to have on them?

I hope they feel like they can connect with the lyrics, theme, visuals, and sound in a way that’s empowering. We all have fears, and we have struggles. At the end of the day, we have our own fight or flight mode to conquer!


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