What does a 50’s-inspired greaser aesthetic have to do with 80’s-inspired productions and drum machines? Seemingly nothing… until now. There’s a Toronto singer-songwriter who’s melding the two elements together in a unique artistic brew called Nyssa. “My two favorite artists growing up were Sam Cooke and Frank Sinatra. I was obsessed with the Rat Pack when I was 8. Then I got into garage rock, soul, blues. I listen to a lot of old music and I really love 80s productions and 80s drum machines”
This amalgamation of genres and musical styles reflects in her latest single “Bye Bye Jubilee, which is paving the way for her debut album “Girls Like Me”, which just came out today, August 21st. She describes the tune as a “protest song that takes place in a parking lot”, which has to do “with the fact that there are so many people living in transient situations and it kind of refers to corporate evil”.
Nyssa is a storyteller and the characters she creates “embody more outcast or outlaws from a female standpoint.
Girls like me is the epitome and glorification of such perspective. “Non-men lack the power to wander freely. I wrote these songs to fill this wandering void. Hitchhikers. Outlaws. Killers. Rebels. Bad boys. Renegade heirs. Players. Lovers. I want to embody each of these. As a woman. An androgyne. A pansexual pagan”.
Such rebellious attitude pervades every corner of her creative and artistic process. Her cross-genre, cross-decade approach to production, in fact, is the marriage of digital and analog. “Usually I will start with a drum loop and build from there and then whatever lyric I think I wanna work on. I’ll come up with a feeling or setting or a color palette and then I’ll build the loops or synths from there”
Her experience in the service industry played a substantial role in her creative development as well.
“I’ve waited tables for almost half my life. You get treated like shit but you also get to meet incredible people. That’s been very informative for me and a part of my creative process. Just existing. I always want a song to have a specific setting as well as telling a story. I kind of want the point to come through the story. It can be a little blunt in the chorus but I want people to hear the story and get to the point themselves”
When asked about the current global pandemic and the way Covid19 made all of us reevaluate our goals and priorities and gain a brand new perspective on life, she didn’t shy away from dropping the hammer on the shortcomings of the music industry.
Specifically one question kept pooping in which is “Why can’t musicians make money unless they make it?
Her antidote for such a pressing issue for all kinds of creatives these days is to “focus less on the industry and more on the community”.
“I’m guilty of this too but if we focus more on local touring with smaller touring circuits could be a really cool starting point. Something like that combined to the streaming giants paying artists a little more would be ideal”. Ultimately, “I do not think we will return to normal and I do not want to”
It’s safe to assume that nothing will be normal again because of this pandemic and because of a 50s greaser-looking and 80s-sounding androgynus, pansexual pagan named Nyssa.
Stream Girls Like Me here