Vancouver’s Michaela Slinger talks new single and upcoming album

Vancouver singer-songwriter Michaela Slinger is about to release her second single, “Don’t Wait,” with 604 Records on October 22. Vancouver Weekly had a chance to catch up with Slinger about her new single and her upcoming debut album.

Do you currently have a tentative date for the release of your debut album?

I do! I can’t believe it. It feels very real putting release dates on the calendar. Things are, of course, never set in stone, but currently, the plan is to release it after March and before May, if you get me. 

How are you planning on promoting the release of “Don’t Wait?”

I’ve been really inspired by the creative ways that artists have released stuff and made videos during the pandemic, and early on in quarantine, I found myself going for long neighbourhood walks and taking tons of photos of somewhat mundane but comforting sights—like 20 photos of the same cherry blossom tree, or a rock that someone had painted.

 For “Don’t Wait,” we’ve created some short visualizer videos that are a compilation of clips I’ve shot along with pieces from two talented friends, Ria Girard (a dancer) and Brittany Gee-Moore (an aerial silk artist). I’m thinking of them like mini music videos. I gave each of them a different theme as I created the order, but they all weave together nicely. I love that the videos have a homemade spirit to them, and they juxtapose big expansive views of the natural world alongside shots of me. That gets at the song: it’s at once big and upbeat and exciting, but also intimate and vulnerable.

The last year has been very exciting for your career. Who has helped you/mentored you in the past year, through this journey?

I love this question and I love mentorship! Louise Burns has been a mentor of mine since we met initially at the Rifflandia conference in Victoria two years ago. I had just decided to pursue music and felt like a big imposter that whole weekend. She invited me over to write that fall and share what I’d been working on, and there was an instant connection. Louise is the best type of mentor and collaborator because she makes you feel comfortable and seen while also pushing you and providing useful critiques. She’d make me homemade ramen and tell a funny industry story and then be like, “Okay, that verse idea you showed me needs work and I think you can write something more interesting than that.” Perfect combo. 

Louise connected me to Kevvy (Mental) at a songwriting workshop and he swiftly became another crucial mentor. Both of them are with 604 Records, and they really advocated for me and brought me in, and introduced me to people. Kevvy has helped build my confidence as a producer—I felt insecure about my Garageband demo sessions, but when we started working together he’d often keep things that I’d done, or base a new part off percussion I’d tracked. I know we love to say this about everyone, but Kevvy is actually one of the most genuine people I know and so supportive and talented that I can’t quite figure out how he does it.  

With Thanksgiving passing last weekend, did you have a chance to reflect on what you’re grateful for in your life/career?

Thanksgiving is a holiday I blindly loved growing up, but as I’ve learned more about colonization and Indigenous history locally and across Canada, it makes me uncomfortable. Just wanted to put that out there and be open about the fact that it’s a tension and unlearning in my own life. 

Outside of the holiday, though, I’ve been trying to have a daily gratitude practice since the start of quarantine! It became a comforting and necessary dinnertime ritual for my partner and I to ask each other what we were grateful for. I am wildly fortunate in this life and grateful for so much: my hilarious and supportive family, a loving and evolving relationship, the best group of friends around (many of whom are creative co-conspirators), access to fresh food and clean water, the neverending beauty of where I live, the way making music helps me feel alive, watching babies and dogs interact, good books and podcasts and movies and TV shows…seriously. It’s endless.