“A girl and her guitar” is how self-taught Canadian musician, Larra Skye, likes to think of herself. This indie-folk singer grew up surrounded by music in a family of musicians. With both her brother and sister in bands growing up, Skye found music instruction books on how to play the guitar, in her parents bookstore at age 11 and stayed up many nights recording songs onto the bookstore answering machine.
Wishing Tree is Skye’s second album and she describes it as being everything she could have ever wanted for an album, both musically and emotionally. Get to know Larra in our interview and check out her music first hand with one of her newest music videos Neverending Nostalgia, below.
You have a new album out called Wishing Tree, released April 2, 2013. What was your favourite song to produce off of your latest album and why? Which one speaks to you the most?
My album was a lot of fun to make. It was an experimental process. Right now, the songs “Wait Your Whole Life” and “Wishing Tree” are the ones I am the most proud of. But the song “I Want My Money Back” was the most interesting to produce, for me. I play a repeating guitar line on my acoustic, and Saam Hashemi came up with so many sounds and atmospheric lines on his electric guitar that really take the song to another place. My producers came up with the arrangement that includes my voice processed through an old telephone.
You have described yourself and your musical roots as “a girl and her guitar”. Where does your inspiration to write and make music come from?
I guess it’s something I gravitated to when I was a kid. My older siblings were in bands and so I looked up to them. I started writing words – poems, short stories -- before I knew how to play a guitar – so when I started playing music, it was a natural progression to start writing songs.
Are any topics off limits when it comes to lyrics?
Well, that’s funny because I always say my fictional songs end up coming true – I’ll write a character from my imagination, and then I might meet that person later on. Or I might transform into that character. So I have to be careful what I write about! It might come true. It’s the law of attraction.
Do you have a favourite artist or favourite song?
I don’t have any absolute favourites – it changes all the time! Right now I am really loving James Blake. And I’ve been listening to a lot of 70s music. Revisiting Queen and all their vocal harmonies.
You have been quoted as saying “This CD most closely captures what I’ve always wanted to do musically... Musically and emotionally it was everything I could have wanted for this album.” Would you say that music has the power to transform, both the artist and listener?
Yes, music is powerful. It brings communities together. Without music, we can all agree that life would not be as beautiful. I think a great artist is one that can create music that triggers strong emotions in the listener – music and emotion are linked. Perhaps a song that makes you smile involuntarily, or makes you cry your eyes out. That’s art.
How do you deal with stressful situations and events?
First I try to figure out if I am somehow making the situation more stressful than it needs to be. If it’s something I can’t really control, I try to tell myself that it’s a temporary feeling of stress – that soon it’ll be over and I can look back at it as a faint memory. That everything we experience in life comes and goes – the good and the bad are always around – so we have to learn to deal with both.
What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
To keep going and persevere. The old expression, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
Do you have any quotes or lyrics that you live by?
“When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everyone will respect you.” – Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching