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Sink Deep Into Ila Barker’s “Fool Under Water”

Winnipeg-based Anishinaabe singer-songwriter and folk-soul recording artist Ila Barker takes us into the depths of reflection with her recent single, "Fool Under Water," from her forthcoming album of the same name.

Ila Barker has amassed a loyal fanbase who constantly return to experience the Canadian artist's thoughtful lyricism and stunning vocals that are equally as chilling as they are relatable. With a handful of impressive festival performances and gigs around Canada, Barker is eager to continue connecting with listeners through authentic emotion and compelling songwriting.

The indigenous recording artist is ready to release her forthcoming album, Fool Under Water, in honor of her metamorphosis into the musical powerhouse she's grown to be. The album's title track is especially meaningful, representing how toxic relationships can often feel like drowning.

The lead single, "Fool Under Water," opens with the softest acoustic and electric guitars that float into the harmonious first verse, where Barker takes us into her personal troubles with abusive relationships. Her soft-spoken vocals on the verse slowly expand on the chilling hook, sending chills up the spine with such vulnerable and compelling lyrics.

Ila Barker impressively shows us how water can be calming and beautiful, but it contains a power that runs far deeper than the eye can see. Similar to toxic relationships, which start with a whirlwind romance and can quickly turn as dark as the midnight ocean. The heavy-hearted and gripping outro closes the song with vast introspection, making listeners think twice about what true love looks like.

There's so much emotion and heart to experience in Ila Barker's recent hit, "Fool Under Water." Find the breathtaking song and Ila Barker's new Fool Under Water album on all digital streaming platforms.

Welcome to BuzzMusic, Ila Barker. We're so impressed with the vulnerability and emotion in your new album, especially on the title track, "Fool Under Water." What inspired this theme of comparing toxic love to drowning?

That line, “fool underwater,” was something my friend and the co-writer of this song, Hera, said when we were sitting around one day, and she was describing the toxic and abusive relationship she was trapped in. She called herself this, and it was unbelievably poetic. We quickly started writing this song as soon as she said it. It was tragically beautiful.

How do the themes of water and natural elements tie into the album, Fool Under Water? What is their significance in this project?

The more I thought about this concept over the years I realized how much this was meaningful to me too. Water is often a safe place for me, comforting, calming, and fun. I love to swim and surf, and I’m very comfortable in the water. But there is a power there, too, that has to be respected and considered. Much like abusive relationships, they don’t usually start all dark and stormy. At first, they are as magical as paradise and a sunny beach with an inviting ocean. But quickly before you know it, the tide can turn, and you’re trapped, struggling to keep your head above water. You hold onto the good memories of what you thought this experience could be (the water was so nice, though), and you can keep yourself somewhere you don’t belong.

Could you tell us more about the upcoming music video for the single "Fool Under Water"? What sort of visual experience should we expect?

I flew my videographer and myself to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and we filmed this on the beach and primarily underwater! Creating this was a dream come true, like, come on! Filming Fool Under Water actually underwater?? It certainly was really difficult, though. There were lots of jellyfish, and swimming in a wedding dress was very tiring. I also had to train to hold my breath underwater for this so we could get these shots. I’m so excited to share it with you all!

What does the album mean to you? Would you say this is the most personal project you've created?

This album means sticking up for myself, reclaiming my power, releasing my ex's grip on me, and choosing to move forward. This is an incredibly personal project, and it was really scary making the decision to publicly tell this collection of stories. There are deep layers in it, too, though. There’s also a song about my friend Kelly who passed away from suicide, and a love letter to my now partner asking for a safe place to land and to not break my heart because I couldn’t take any more heartbreak. So it really is a deep dive into my diary from the last several years.


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