Our Spotlight – Sykamore. We got to sit down with this talented artist on the rise about her her new album California King. We are still in an uncertain time right now which means it’s the perfect time to enjoy some new music.
In June of 2019, you were the FIRST person to sign a record deal with Music Knox Records which is amazing! Was there a lot of pressure and expectations there?
I wouldn’t say so, I think there was mostly just excitement. When you start collaborating with a group of folks who are happy to indulge your vision and support you as an artist, I think you replace any pressure or expectation with enthusiasm to just create something you love, not necessarily something that’s going to hit a particular benchmark. It was a very liberating process, creatively.
Sykamore is a stage name, and in a 2018 interview with Jim Barber of Music Life Magazine, you talk about the decision process between using your own name vs a stage name. Do you still feel as adamantly today about that decision?
I definitely do! The name is the centerfold of the music – it represents the sound in all of its strength, tenacity, and organic qualities. It would feel incomplete to abandon the name at this point.
Follow up question: For newer artists that are emerging, what are some words of advice you would give to them struggling to make that decision?
If they felt strongly about adapting a stage name, I think I would tell them to choose one that accurately reflects their sound, since it is the first impression people have of you. I’d also tell them to pick something that’s easy to Google, so people don’t have to wade through other things to get to you. And finally, pick something you’re still going to like in twenty years.
Back in November 2019, you were invited to play at the Stampede City Sessions. Tell us about that experience! So many amazing artists have been part of that, and their coverage extends all the way down into the Southern US as well.
It was very special to me to come back home and play SCS – I have a lot of friends who have played it and so it was a fun right of passage experience for sure. I hope they continue on with it in the future and that it becomes the Canadian ‘Austin City Limits.’ I appreciate the efforts made by everyone involved to advertise and elevate it to where it is.
You’ve mentioned that the Dixie Chicks are big influences of yours growing up. Personal anecdote, I am a huge fan of their album FLY, “Goodbye Earl” and “Sin Wagon” namely. What really connected you with them and what are some other artists you hold near and dear?
Fly is an AMAZING album. Great choice. What I like about DC is their effortless balance between the modern and the traditional. So much of their early work especially, is laced with Western swing and bluegrass, yet lyrically and melodically they were so in the pocket of what any current person would be going through at the time. Some other artists I fangirl over are Lana Del Rey, LIGHTS, The Weeknd, Kacey Musgraves and Bruno Mars.
If you had your chance at your dream collab who would it be and why?
I think I would pick Lana Del Rey. Love all her original work but she’s also a very meticulous collaborator and every time she’s done a duet it’s been such an homage to their work as well as hers. I think we could come up with something really cool.
Your song “Better Half” (2017) lets talk about that for a moment? Was that about someone specifically? Or more an amalgamation of past relationships? It’s a beautiful song by the way.
Thanks so much. I’d say it was an anthem for healthy relationships, not any one in particular. I think the thing that makes relationships work is that give and take – when you’re down they pick you up and vice versa. It’s a team effort.
And at the time I wasn’t hearing any songs about that, so I thought it was time to throw one in the mix.
In 2015, you got a nomination for the Canadian Country Music Association Discovery Award, and then in 2018, you released your first EP “Self + Medicine”. Tell us about that journey?
Getting nominated for Discovery was sort of my debut onto the Canadian country scene. I attended my first CCMA’s that year as a nominee, and made a lot of great connections with people on that side of the industry. Thomas Rhett performed my first year at the CCMA’s, and it was because of that performance that I followed him on Twitter, and ultimately met him and his dad who signed me to a publishing deal, which brought me to Nashville. Shortly after that move, I released my first EP. So honestly, the whole thing is very intricately connected. It’s funny how you can trace everything back like that.
How was the process for the latest EP California King compared to the previous?
Well, this is my first time releasing music on a record label so I’d venture to say it’s quite a different experience, speaking strictly from the standpoint of people involved. You have a lot of folks helping you out, brainstorming with you, and planning things in advance. It feels very organized, and ultimately everything feels just a little bigger this time around. Which I’m excited about – I want every release to be bigger than the last, if I can help it.
What is the story you are trying to tell with your music?
I write about a lot of things in my music but I think it’s safe to say I always write about the human condition in some form or another. I draw from my own experiences or from stories I’ve heard about others, and ultimately I always strive to create art that other people can relate to. This EP in particular I think is about navigating your own emotions – sometimes they’re flying high and sometimes they’re low. ‘California King’ as a body of work shows the bookends of our feelings and how you can hopefully find beauty and expression on both ends.
Are there any tour plans in the works with the new release now available?
Currently, the future of touring is in question a bit, with the COVID-19 situation we’re all going through. But I have some festival dates still booked for the summer, which I would love to keep on the books if I can help it. As far as tours, I’m hopeful for the latter half of this year.
What do you want to say to your fans?
I’d just like to say thanks for being so patient and waiting two years for new music – and I hope y’all enjoy “California King.”
I loved writing it and I’m very happy to unveil the next chapter in my musical career.
Spotlight – Sykamore is in the books and we want to say thank you to for taking the time to chat with us. Make sure you check out the album now!
Check out California King out now!
Check out more from Sykamore
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