Love at First Listen with Madisyn Gifford

Madisyn Gifford Interview Love at First Listen 2024

We all have those artists and songs we hear that strike the right chord and make us fall in love at first listen. They’re the reason we refresh social media pages, tour schedules, and Spotify profiles — because we can’t miss a single release. This is Love at First Listen — a series introducing you to the emerging, and established, artists with new music guaranteed to upgrade your playlist.

We all know the giddy, giggly, swinging-my-feet feelings associated with a new crush. Get ready to reminisce on being seventeen again: Vancouver pop darling Madisyn Gifford captures all of the fear, excitement, and embarrassment associated with new love, this time experienced as an adult on her new summer single “Seventeen,” which dropped on a pretty significant day—her 24th birthday.

Love at First Listen caught up with Madisyn to chat about how the song came together in personal record time, why her next album will be her happiest yet, and which tracks fans might be most excited to claim.

First of all, happy belated birthday! How excited were you to celebrate the release of “Seventeen” on such a big day for yourself both personally and professionally?

I love birthdays so much. I love any excuse to celebrate. So, getting to have two things on that day was fun. I’ve also been out of the release cycle rhythm for a while. For three years I was putting out music pretty much every six to 12 weeks almost like clockwork, but I haven’t done it in almost a year now. It’s been a nice break and I’m excited to get back into it.

Can you take us behind the scenes of your creative process? You worked with Jared Manierka, who has worked extensively with artists like Carly Rae Jepsen. How long had you been sitting on this song and how much of it did you have in mind when you first went into the studio?

It’s funny because this is actually one of the most recent songs we’ve written for the record that we’re working on right now. I brought it to Jared two and a half months ago, which in record release time is not a very long time ago. We just had so much fun making it and it came together really quickly, which doesn’t always happen. I have a song on this record that we’ve been trying to make for almost three years. I wrote this myself on my guitar in like 10 minutes and then we made it into this fun little folky, sort of country-esque song, which is the music I’ve always wanted to make.

Your music is very fresh but nostalgic at the same time. It’s folk-tinged pop but you can also hear some country influences, especially on “Seventeen.” Who are some artists that you’ve loved at first listen as you shaped your sound?

My go-to answer is always Ani DiFranco. She was my songwriting icon my whole life. I literally think I learned songwriting from just listening to her discography on loop as a kid. The Chicks, love them so much. Taylor Swift… I’m a girl in her 20s, so she has been a crazy influence for me my whole life. “Mr. Jones” was my favorite song while growing up and Counting Crows is one of my favorite bands. The list could go on forever… Stevie Nicks, obviously. Come on!

This is the first single off a forthcoming album. How is it going, and where does “Seventeen” fit in its sonic world?

We chose “Seventeen” as the lead single because I feel like it is a decent representation of the entire record. This record is going to be my happiest album I’ve ever made. Don’t worry, there will still be sad songs, but it’s definitely the happiest one I’ve made thus far in my career. It’s going to be called ‘A Quiet Contemplation of Sunshine.’ It’s very summery and folky, but poppy still and very fun. It has lots of live instrumentation and not a lot of pop synth sort of production, which is new for me. So, I’m really excited.

You mentioned embracing a summer vibe. Can fans expect to hear more of the album soon?

We fought to try and get it done earlier this summer, but we’re still chipping away at it. It should hopefully be coming out in October, but there will be more singles and stuff to come throughout the summer for sure.

Ahead of your last record ‘Sleeping on the Ceiling,’ you said your only goal was to write songs that scare you. When you’re writing bits of lyrics in your Notes app and bringing those lyrics to life in the studio, how do you push yourself to be vulnerable and pour everything out on paper?           

It’s interesting because with this record, I almost had the exact opposite mindset as I did on my last one. I’ve never been very good at writing happy music, but especially on this record because I’m in such a different phase of my life, I feel like I’ve kind of figured things out a little bit. In my mind, I’m not a teenager anymore. I’m a generally happy person now, which is cool—I worked hard to get there! I wanted to write an album that represented that, so I think my mindset going into this one was like, how can I truly represent what’s going on in my brain in my day-to-day life and not just delve into past things that I’ve already kind of sorted through? I don’t need to keep digging up that old stuff, you know. Whereas on ‘Sleeping on the Ceiling,’ I was still really trying to sift through things and figure out my stuff and it shows on the record. I was trying to figure out my brain and my trauma and what was going on up in there, but now I’m like, okay, I did that. Let’s move on!

Do you feel that writing and recording this music and putting it out helped you get through those emotions so that you are now in the position where the next record can be happier and more upbeat and all those things naturally?

100%. For new friends I meet, I’m always like, if you listen to my music in order, you’re going to be able to find out an absurd amount of things about me because [everything] is so autobiographical. When you go back through every record, they all feed into each other. Every single outro leads into the next intro, and they all tell a really clear story of my life from like, 20 years old and onward.

Have you started building the tracklist for this next record, and are there any song titles that might catch our eye?

Oh, that’s a really good question because I’m the same way. I love a good tracklist. I do have the tracklist pretty much done—not in order but done. The title track, “A Quiet Contemplation of Sunshine,” is going to be the first track. There’s also going to be a song on there called “Father’s Day.” That is the song we’ve been working on for like three years and just trying to make it work, but I think it finally works on this record. There’s another one called “Fast One” and one called “Overpriced” that I’m excited to share.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about making music that you can pass along to anyone reading this who may want to follow in your footsteps?

Something I tell literally every single person I know is if you have kids or you know anyone who is thinking about going into the music industry and making music, please encourage them to write their own music. Write your stuff and get credits for what you’re writing because it’s everything. I don’t think people realize when they’re first starting out how much it matters. Pretty much one of the only ways that you can make money in this industry is through publishing, and it’s just such a special ability to have to be able to write not only for yourself but for others. Someone told me that when I was around 17 and I decided I wanted to do this. He sat me down and was like, the only thing I can tell you is just write as much as you possibly can. It just takes one song, if you get one song that does well, it’s all it takes. So, just keep writing.

To wrap up, where can people find and follow you online?

Everything is just madisyngifford with a Y instead of an O because my parents wanted to make things difficult for me. And my TikTok is maddyg.raps because that’s what people called me in high school!

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Love at First Listen with Elyse Saunders

Elyse Saunders Interview Love at First Listen 2024

We all have those artists and songs we hear that strike the right chord and make us fall in love at first listen. They’re the reason we refresh social media pages, tour schedules, and Spotify profiles — because we can’t miss a single release. This is Love at First Listen — a series introducing you to the emerging, and established, artists with new music guaranteed to upgrade your playlist.

Meet Elyse Saunders, the next big name in Canadian country music. Since the start of the year, Elyse has climbed up the country charts at home and abroad, signed her first publishing deal, and earned the title of iHeartRadio Future Star. Now, days after we first spoke with Elyse, she’s been named Female Artist of the Year at the 2024 CMAOntario Awards and debuted her new summer single “Dirt” on the show’s main stage. On the playful song, Elyse shuts down the rumour mill and officially declares gossip dead—a message we can surely get behind.

Love at First Listen caught up with Elyse to chat about “Dirt” and get the inside scoop on the Canadian country music community and her newfound Australian audience.

You’re dishing all the dirt on your new single, “Dirt.” How did you get the idea and inspiration for this song, and what message do you want people to take from it?

I wrote this song with my friends Sam Davs and David Madras, and I felt that no matter who you are, where you come from, and whether you’re on the good side or the bad side of the gossip train, we’ve all experienced this situation. If we look in our own backyards, we all have our own dirt to deal with before we judge other people’s dirt. So, I wanted to try to take this topic and make it a bit humorous and share it in a way that was super relatable but not too serious. Coming from a small town, rumours get around pretty quick. If you say something, your neighbour 10 doors down will somehow hear about it. So, it’s based around the small-town feel, but it’s definitely something that happens worldwide. This was so much fun to write—actually very therapeutic in a way.

Do you have any fun behind the scenes stories from filming the music video?

I made it with another friend, Nick Marinac. We did it on this land that is open to the public, so we had to find this window of when people wouldn’t be there and it ended up being a freezing cold, windy day. There was sunshine, but the whole time I’m trying not to look cold, and we were getting kicked out at the end. We went to find another random field and finish up. It was all very random and sporadic, but I feel like the energy of the song really shines through because it was a bit on the whim. Watch for a lot of dirt and overalls in the countryside.

You released this single at the start of CMAOntario Awards weekend where fans were able to get up close and personal with all of their favourite country artists and discover several up-and-comers. How important do you think it is to have celebrations like this for homegrown country artists?

I think it’s so important because it does shed light on what’s going on here in Ontario, and we have so much talent it’s crazy. I’ve been on the other side of the audience as an artist growing in my journey for many years, and the industry really got to see that journey. To now help bring a light to that to country music lovers out there is super cool — and sometimes it’s like the stars of today and the stars of tomorrow. I think it’s really important just to keep building that community and building the country music that we have here in Canada in general because we all know our big U.S. country stars, but we definitely have our own stars here in Canada and Ontario and I think it’s important that we bring those artists out to the audience.

In the spirit of celebrating Canadian country music, can you shout out some of your Canadian country pals who you have loved at first listen?

My friends River Town Saints, Owen Riegling, Robyn Ottolini, Graham Scott Fleming, Kelly Prescott, Andrew Hyatt, and Jason Blaine, who co-wrote my song “Never Have I Ever”… my list could go on. Award shows are always a big reunion.

Events like the CMAOntario Awards are a celebration but they’re also a place where dreams come true. When you think about the dreams you have for yourself, what are the biggest pinch-me moments you’ve had in your career so far and what’s still on your bucket list?

That’s a very good question. Winning Video of the Year last year at the CMAOntario Awards was definitely one of those pinch-me moments because my journey has not been the overnight success. It has been more like 10 years plus in the making. I always kind of envisioned myself being at this place in my career one day, so having these things happen, it’s like, okay, yeah, I’m where I’ve always wanted to be. My younger self is super excited when these moments come together.

Having “Never Have I Ever” become my first single to be supported at Canadian country radio was also amazing. It was No. 27 on the charts, and to be top 30 was always a goal of mine. We then went top 10 in Australia, and I had no idea that was going to happen. It’s cool how these things sometimes happen organically and as a surprise; it feels more like a gift that way. I think that I still have so much more to do and more to come, and I’m going to keep having those pinch-me moments. All artists start at ground zero and then you kind of build your way to this point. So, these moments are good reminders of how far you’ve come.

What does your breakout single “Never Have I Ever” mean or represent to you now, especially as it’s taken on a global life of its own?

It means a lot. I knew it was special the day I wrote it with Jason Blaine in his family home. We wrote it in a couple of hours and it kind of felt like it wrote itself. We did a demo that day and I sent it off to my producer, Dan Swinimer, who knocked the production out of the park. I was so excited, but I had no idea how it was going to resonate with everybody else. So, to know that it’s done what it needs to do as a singer-songwriter and it’s making an impact, it’s connecting to people, and they love it just as much as me is really the goal and the job of what I’m supposed to do as an artist. I hope to continue to be able to do more with my music and more singles.

Have you had a chance to visit your new international friends?

That’s on my bucket list too. I’ve always wanted to see Australia. I’ve done press and calls over Zoom and I keep saying I can’t wait to visit. We’re looking at the top of the new year to hopefully get there and do some shows. I’ll also get to do a radio tour and see people face to face for the first time.

Now that “Dirt” is out in the world, what do you have in store musically for the rest of the year?

I have a bunch of new music in the pipeline ready to go and a bunch of shows as well. If people want to find out where I will be, it’s all on my website. The band and I have been working hard on putting a bunch of new material together with these new songs. I also just signed to my first publishing deal with Arts & Crafts Publishing as a songwriter, so I’ll continue to write for other artists as well and hopefully get my music into the TV and film world too. I’m just doing whatever I can to just keep this thing on the rails, doing what it needs to do, and seeing how far I can take it.

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Love at First Listen with Rachael Ransom

Rachael Ransom Interview Love at First Listen 2024

We all have those artists and songs we hear that strike the right chord and make us fall in love at first listen. They’re the reason we refresh social media pages, tour schedules, and Spotify profiles — because we can’t miss a single release. This is Love at First Listen — a series introducing you to the emerging, and established, artists with new music guaranteed to upgrade your playlist.

Canadian singer-songwriter Rachael Ransom’s debut album ‘sixty seven ten’ is an autobiography in stunning sonic form—the album is named after the address of her childhood home after all. Each song represents a piece of her life, from navigating a disability while growing up in the suburbs of Vancouver, British Columbia to learning to control what you can and embracing the beauty in the rest.

On ‘sixty seven ten,’ Rachael takes listeners along a journey of finding new perspectives despite life’s struggles. As you listen, read our new interview with the emerging artist below where she shares how she gained the confidence to record and release the record and why she’s truly an OG Noah Kahan fan.

When did you know ‘sixty seven ten’ was complete?

Is anything ever done?! I’m a writer by trade, so there’s always going to be something where I feel like I could have done this or I could have done that. Me and my two music producers, Bryden Veinot and Noah Stolte, agreed to have 10 songs. We then went through the songs that I had deciding which ones felt like they go well together. So, we actually did it a little unconventionally deciding on the number before we chose which ones made the cut.

How many songs do you think you wrote before finalizing the track list?

Let’s just say there’s lots of room for a second album!

You’ve said that you hope listeners can apply something from each song to their own lives. What are some of the key themes and life lessons you tried to weave throughout the album?

I like that question. There’s a lot of things in there that I think are relatable to people. There’s a little bit of talk around family and the unconditional love that you have for the people in your life. Every good album has got to have a couple of breakup songs in there, and there are also some songs that I feel are commentary on where we’re at in society right now and where we’re going. Songs like “Fly” are more like anthems of positivity — like keep going if you have a dream, don’t let it die. And I’ve got some stuff in there about living with a disability.

Your single “Red” is an inspirational anthem about you living with cerebral palsy and reclaiming your inner power. Can you share how you got involved with the Vancouver Adapted Music Society and how they have supported you?

I met the wonderful people at Vancouver Adapted Music Society (VAMS) through my friend Dave Symington (co-founder), who has since passed. I was at a gig in 2018 playing a couple of songs and he said, “You’ve got to get connected with Graham over at VAMS.” So, I started with them, and they would phone me up when there was a show and they needed to fill a slot. As the years went on, I got to know Bryden and he started harassing me for years about how we had to record. I was always like, “Yeah, but not yet.” I was thinking, who’s going to listen to this stuff? Like, come on, this is just me plunking on a piano. Finally, after doing a show one day, he was like, “Are you ready yet?” And I was like, “Yeah, okay, let’s do it.” So, we came together, and Noah joined our little group. The two of them built this album out to be something so much more than just me sitting at a piano plunking out chords.

It’s great to hear that you had such encouraging people in your corner. Is there any advice you’d offer to people in a similar position, wanting to take that leap into music or dealing with a disability and trying to make sure they can still follow their dreams as you’ve done?

My main bread and butter income is in film, so music was always the thing I just loved to do. I’d get home from work, have some ideas, sit down at the piano, and see what happens. I never thought an album was going to be something I actually did. I would say if you’re nervous about it, that means it’s worth trying because usually we get nervous when we’re about to step out of our comfort zone, and you can’t grow without that “Oh my God, I don’t know if I can do this” feeling. Like, if you feel like you’re going to throw up, it’s probably a good thing.

For example, I made my first leap into producing last year and I had to go field produce on set. In the film world, it’s not very common to have people who are disabled doing on-set work — at least I haven’t met a lot of people in that realm. So, I didn’t know if I could do it, but you just have to take the leap. I think people with disabilities, myself included, have a bad habit of minimizing their achievements and minimizing what they have done because it’s like, well, anyone else could do that. But it’s like, well no, you did it. That feeling of accomplishing something and making it to the finish line is worth the stress at the beginning.

When you reflect on ‘sixty seven ten,’ do you think it changed your outlook on any situations in your life and inspired you as much as it will hopefully inspire others?

I look back at songs like “Loving You,” which is about a breakup and feeling like my life was over and I was never going to fall in love again. But then you meet someone else, and you move on, and you realize what true love is. Having those big feelings from my youth captured in these three-to-four-minute songs is kind of interesting because I listen to them now and I’m like, oh wow, that was so dramatic. But at the same time, that was raw, and that’s how it feels.

If I want anybody to take anything away, it’s that as we grow and change, we see old photos of ourselves or we hear stories from friends from different periods of our lives, and we should appreciate those moments and laugh about them. In the disabled community, our lives are often shorter than others. So, it’s important to remember every stage of life is really, truly precious. As much as we think our lives are cringy and go, “Oh God, I can’t believe I said that” or “I can’t believe my hair was like that,” it’s like, you’ve lived a decade since then. It’s pretty amazing to think about.

Are there any artists or albums that you gravitated towards as you put together your album?

‘Blood on the Tracks’ by Bob Dylan. The whole record is basically a love letter—or I guess not—to his divorce from one of his wives. In terms of modern influences, I hate to say this because it sounds so pretentious, but I did listen to Noah Kahan before he was famous. He reminds me of Bob in the folk realm and I just love his honesty and storytelling capabilities. I also listened to lots of Adele and Amy Winehouse. I was really trying to keep it as honest as possible on the album, so I pushed myself to listen to similar music so I could get in that headspace.

Now that your album is out in the world, what do you have in store musically for the rest of the year?

We’ve started rehearsing already hoping to play this summer, which is a great time for live shows. I’ve got myself, Bryden and Noah, my fiancé, and possibly another person joining. I’m also going into the studio today to do a writing session, so it really, truly never stops.

Do you have anything on your mind that may end up sparking new music in these next sessions?

Every writer is different with how they process things. If you look at my notebooks and my phone, it’s like graveyard lyrics — just little bits and pieces of things. I’m on a bus, I see something, I write a lyric. That’s just how it goes. So, when I go into the studio, I usually have a roster of stuff where I’m like, “Okay, this is good. Let’s try this.” That’s how “Ballad Queen” happened. Bryden was playing guitar and goofing around and it sounded really good and I was like, “Please hold, I have words that could go with this!”

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Love at First Listen with Nice Horse

Nice Horse Interview Love at First Listen 2024

We all have those artists and songs we hear that strike the right chord and make us fall in love at first listen. They’re the reason we refresh social media pages, tour schedules, and Spotify profiles — because we can’t miss a single release. This is Love at First Listen — a series introducing you to the emerging, and established, artists with new music guaranteed to upgrade your playlist.

Calling all country music fans: You may know Nice Horse but get ready to meet Nice Horse 2.0. Once a four-piece band, members and musical sisters Brandi Sidoryk and Katie Rox reintroduced themselves as a duo at the start of the year. Originally bonding over a shared love of live music and sushi, the pair’s sonic yin and yang translate beautifully to a mix of feisty country anthems and vulnerable love songs, including the seven songs that make up Nice Horse’s first project in seven years.

Ahead of their self-titled album’s one-month anniversary, Love at First Listen caught up with Nice Horse’s Brandi and Katie to chat more about which songs brought the record together, what it’s like to see your face on a giant billboard, and where you can see the duo live this summer.

Your new, self-titled album is your first as a duo. I assume there was multiple reasons for this to be self-titled, but can you talk more about the decision behind the name and what this body of music represents to you?

Brandi: We’re different artists than we were seven years ago recording our first record. So, this really did feel like a Nice Horse 2.0 to us, and the idea of titling it ‘Nice Horse’ felt really natural.

When an album is years in the making, you may have written something three or four years ago, and now that it’s out, it’s taken on a different meaning. Has that happened with any song on this album?

Katie: When I wrote “Unfinished,” it was coming from something really personal. I’m finding it’s taking on a new life right now because our band used to be four and we went to two and I remember the time when that changed. Of course I went through a moment of like, are we making the right decision? Is this the time to just end it? Somebody really close to me said, “Your story’s not done yet. It’s not finished.” And I was like, “Oh, that’s interesting because we have a song on the album called ‘Unfinished,’” so that’s how that song has continued to evolve for me.

Which song on the final track list was the first to make it on the album, and are there any that almost didn’t make the cut?

Katie: There’s hundreds that didn’t make it on the record! We recorded a few to begin with before we finally finished.

Brandi: We wrote “Til I Do” over six years ago, so that song is the matriarch of the record. It truly was a song that we felt was so special when we wrote it all those years ago, and the fact that we finally get to put it on this record feels like such a journey for that song in particular.

Amazon Music Canada commemorated the album’s release with a billboard in Yonge-Dundas Square. What did seeing it for the first time mean to each of you?

Katie: There’s hardly words. Like, to actually be larger than life on a giant billboard in the heart of Toronto… We have put years of work into this, and there’s so much more that goes into it than just the music. To get that recognition on such a giant level and for Amazon to see us and really believe in what we’re doing—so much so that they put us on that giant billboard—I mean, I was in tears.

Brandi: Yeah, it was so emotional. When I was moving to Toronto at 18, I lived on a farm and I had never been on public transit before. [The big city] was so new to me, and I still get butterflies in my stomach every time I’m flying into Toronto and I see the skyline. So, the fact that I got to be there in Toronto, which is a city that means so much to me, and see our faces up on that billboard with a record that I’m so proud that we’ve made and that we’ve really made through blood, sweat, and tears really means a lot.

You won a CCMA award for Video of the Year last year with your single “High School.” Can fans expect any music videos for their favourite songs from this album?

Katie: We are going to shoot a new music video so soon and we’re so excited about it. That’s all I can say!

Brandi: It is going to be an absolutely beautiful video. The only hint that I can give you is that Katie and I are both born and raised farm girls and there will be no public transit riding in this music video.

How involved are you both in the making of your music videos? Do you prefer to show up on set with everything ready to go or be involved from the beginning?

Katie: For our “Hot Mess” music video, we went to the director with a really strong vision of what it was going to be. Brandi also edited the whole “High School” music video. So, our music videos have always started with an idea that we then needed to find the person to help us bring to life. And because we got to luckily take home that [CCMA] award, I think it shows that we love to make music, but it turns out we also love to make music videos.

Brandi: I think the music videos are the extensions of the songs, and it’s just another way that we get to share with fans what we see the song as. Katie wrote the entire treatment for our next one!

Your single “Things I Wish I Didn’t Know” also hit Top 50 at Canadian country radio—an incredible feat for an independent act. Do you have any message for country audiences and stations who have supported Nice Horse over the years?

Katie: We hadn’t gone to radio in a very long time, and it’s scary because you want the songs to resonate, you want them to do well, and you want to feel like you’re really putting your heart out there and people are resonating with it. So, the stations that picked it up and featured us or made us regulars in their rotation and gave us a renewed sense of joy and energy, it’s a big thank you to them because that’s how people discover us. That song is a perfect example of something that we really believed in and I’m so glad that they did too.

Brandi: People gravitate to certain songs because they make them feel something or they relate to them, and that is incredibly special for us because this record is incredibly personal to us. It’s validating as an artist but also validating emotionally to have people come up to you or message you and say how much a song is impacting them because of something that’s going on in their lives. It then immediately feels relatable on a human level with stuff that we’ve been going through for the last four years.

The past couple of years have been quite a moment for women in country music, with the likes of Kacey Musgraves, Maddie & Tae, and our friends MacKenzie Porter and Teigen Gayse having great success. Can you share how you met and any advice you’d give to women trying to break into the industry?

Katie: Brandi had seen me playing a morning television show promoting one of my solo acoustic shows. She came out and walked over to the merch table at the end of the show and was like, “Hey, I’m Brandi. I think we should be friends! I’m a singer-songwriter too.” I loved her energy and vibe. She was just moving to Vancouver, and that’s where I live, so we stayed in touch and went for sushi at least once a week. Everything we were doing musically was so different that it never dawned on us that we should do something together. It was six years before we started Nice Horse. What’s funny is the thing that stuck—the thing that did well—was when we joined forces.

Brandi: I think that plays into the advice I would give young women who are looking to start this. I think there’s a lot of fear that you have to do something right away and it has to hit right away, but that’s not always the case. You’re going to have a lot of failures and that’s okay. Those failures are what brought Katie and I to this project. I think it’s just really sticking to it. People notice that.

Katie: I look at how Brandi and I were just in Nashville and we were hanging out with pretty much every other female solo artist or band that is down there. I find that Canadian country music is really good about that – everyone is really welcoming and encouraging of each other because there is room for everybody. I think it’s important for people to know that because I think TV sometimes shows it not to be that way, but that’s not true.

Now that the album is out, what do you have planned for the rest of the year?

Brandi: We just announced that we’re playing Sunfest on Vancouver Island. We’ve already announced that we’re playing Cavendish Beach Music Festival on the other side of Canada and that we’re playing CMA Fest in Nashville.

Katie: It’s going to be a busy summer, which is really exciting because it will be our first year playing live as a duo. So, to have this record and to be playing together, it’s a whole summer of a new side of Nice Horse that is an extension of the one that we were, and it’s going to be great.

Which songs are you most excited to perform live?

Brandi: A lot of our true-blue Nice Horse fans who have been with us for a long time have already heard some of the songs live because we test songs before we put them out. So, we’ll be playing all of the new songs on the record this summer. And who knows, maybe we’ll pull out some new ones to test as well for upcoming records!

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Love at First Listen with Genevieve Fisher

Genevieve Fisher Interview Love at First Listen 2024

We all have those artists and songs we hear that strike the right chord and make us fall in love at first listen. They’re the reason we refresh social media pages, tour schedules, and Spotify profiles — because we can’t miss a single release. This is Love at First Listen — a series introducing you to the emerging, and established, artists with new music guaranteed to upgrade your playlist.

Nominated for Songwriter of the Year at this year’s CMAOntario Awards and already dubbed an Artist on the Rise by Pure Country Radio, Genevieve Fisher is racking up buzz within the country music scene. While she’s hard at work on a concept album due out later this year, Genevieve has gifted fans with “Now We’re Talking,” a heartwarming country bop about falling in love with a boy from the bar and building a life together—a story that meets Genevieve exactly where she is in life right now.

To celebrate the one-month anniversary of the song’s release, Love at First Listen connected with Genevieve to get the inside scoop on recording “Now We’re Talking” in a closet, balancing mom duties with songwriting sessions, and what to expect from her next.

Let’s talk about “Now We’re Talking.” As it heads out to Canadian country radio, tell us how you landed upon this song and what it means to you.

My producer Jason Massey was one of the co-writers on the song along with Steven Lee Olsen, MacKenzie Porter, and Lydia Vaughan. Back in the summer, I had reached out to him asking if he had any potential songs that would be a good fit for a radio single. He sent me this one, and I fell in love with it right away. The first thing I asked was, “But is it up for grabs?” Sometimes you get a song sent to you, but it might be on hold or whatever. So, he reached out to MacKenzie and was like, “Hey, do you have any intentions of recording this one?” She went back to her people, chatted with them, and she said, “No, it’s up for grabs.” So, I was very happy to get my hands on the song. I actually met my husband in a bar called Cowboys and we’ve been together ever since, so the lyrics of the song really hit home for me.

I read that you and Steven Lee Olsen have collaborated before, so this song must have been extra special.

On one of my first writing trips down to Nashville, I actually co-wrote with him and Jason Blaine. So, that was — my gosh — back in 2011 or maybe even earlier. He’s just a phenomenal guy and songwriter, and he’s hilarious as well.

What we all love about music is that because it’s so universal, something you didn’t necessarily write can still resonate with you. How would you relate that to “Now We’re Talking,” and are you hoping this song is going to manifest future collaborations with that great country bunch?

The last verse of the song talks about having two kids, a couple acres or two… My husband and I recently built a house out in the country, so you’re right that certain songs you don’t write can feel like they are your song because of just how much you can relate. I would love to collab with MacKenzie Porter in the future. And with Steven, I haven’t written with him for a while, but it would be great to get back in a room together for sure.

“Now We’re Talking” was produced in Nashville, but you recorded your vocals at home in your closet! How do you make the space cozy and conducive to getting clean vocal cuts?

I started recording vocals at home when COVID hit, which was a whole new ballgame for me. I’m not a techy person at all, but I get cozied up in my closet and I’ll throw blankets and towels down to dampen the sound a bit more, though the clothes help as well. It’s just a good spot, but hopefully down the road, I’ll build a little home studio and have it as my writing and vocal space.

You’re officially in your “mom era” but I know you still have a lot of music left in you. How are you embracing and balancing being a mom with everything around being an artist?

I think it’s just finding that happy medium. This is a time in my life that I’ll never get back, so I want to make sure I’m super present for my sons, but music is still such a part of me. I do a lot of my writing now from home, which makes it a bit easier to work on music. I also really want to show other independent female artists that you can absolutely still have a baby and be successful. Some days are harder than others. Some days my brain is like, what is happening?

Are you able to sneak “Now We’re Talking” or one of your other singles into a car playlist or have it on around the house? How do your sons react?

I laugh because I’m like, [my son] Cal should know the words to that song even though he was like three months old when I sang it. But [my other son] Harrison’s kind of funny. He’s three and he hasn’t quite grasped my voice yet. So, he’ll hear a song and be like, “Mama, is this your song?” I’m like, “No. We’ve got to work on this, bud. You’ve got to be able to decipher my voice from someone else’s!” But it is cute.

Not only is it resonating with all ages, but “Now We’re Talking” is such an upbeat and fun love song that’s practically begging to be performed live! What do you have in store musically for the rest of the year?

My first show of the summer is actually Canada Day in Grand Bend, Ontario, and I’m super pumped about that. They expect thousands of people, so that’ll be a ton of fun. I have more shows later in the summer that I haven’t announced yet and hope to add more as I ease back into this. It’ll be fun to bring the boys to the shows as well.

From what you’ve written for your next project so far, what is the vibe shaping up to be, especially compared to what fans have heard from you before?

Some of the songs are a bit slower and more emotional. I feel like in the past, I’ve been so focused on releasing fast, fun, upbeat, party drinking songs, whereas right now I’m just rolling with this time of my life. One of the songs that I wrote with my good friend Shantaia is about my son Harrison and we wrote that a few years ago, but it hasn’t been released yet anywhere. Another one of the songs is like Chris Stapleton and that very soulful vibe, and that’s more of a love song. I feel like when people listen to this album, it truly will be what I’m hoping, which is to have the different parts of my life have different sounds as well.

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