Vancouver-based Canadian artist Sam Lynch is everything you want, offering a combination of raw beauty and deep emotion. She constantly tugs at your heart through her music and takes you into a vulnerable place where you’re free to melt into the soundwaves of her songs.
I forget when I first came across Sam Lynch, but I remember instantly liking her. She has a very artistic soul that radiates warmth, which definitely comes through in her music. Her debut album, Little Disappearance, is seven tracks of this sweet warmth and includes stunning strings and soft vocals. Specifically, two songs from the album – “Good Year” and “Keeping Time” – seem to touch me so deeply they bring genuine tears to my eyes every time I hear them. This album is a must-listen for anyone who wants to find an emotional connection to music.
I am really grateful that I had the opportunity to ask Lynch a few questions and learn about her musical journey so far. When I asked her how she would describe her sound, she responded with, ‘Close, self-reflective, a little bit comforting, a little bit uncomfortable, a patchwork’. This is a really intimate response that accurately sums up her music; each song has a wave of emotion that carries you along, sometimes crashing down and making you focus solely on the sound that is completely taking over.
Lynch released her debut album in October of 2020, which also happened to be her first experience recording her own music in a studio setting. The end product is fantastic and is a great first full-length release. I asked her about the process that went along with making the album, curious to know how Little Disappearance came to be:
‘There were so many moments while recording LD where frankly, it didn’t feel real; I was simply floating above my body watching all of these monster-talented creatives learn and move through my words and melodies – it was wild. Upon reflecting, I view the recording process in two chapters: the Montreal bit (with producer & friend Sam Woywitka), and the Vancouver bit (with a lot of home time, and some collaboration with my friend & amazing creative Sean Wharton). Montreal was super immersive, and exciting, and a little nerve-wracking, and after returning home to Vancouver I was able to sit with things, record vocals, add whatever I wanted to, and have the space to re-record one song, as well as another entirely new song (“Keeping Time” and “Good Year”, respectively). I learned so much through the process, from a personal, creative, and business standpoint – and am so excited to absorb more, and continue to expand upon that knowledge for the next thing.’
A few of the tracks on the album have videos to go along with them, which are somehow just as beautiful and moving as her music. My favourite, “Keeping Time”, is set in Vancouver, British Columbia, and captures the breathtaking scenery in the province. She mentioned the scenery for the video and talked in more detail about the intent behind her vision:
‘I knew I wanted the visual accompaniment for the song to embody feelings of floating, drifting, confinement, and freedom, as well as surrendering to the omnipotence of time, and the universe, and all of the things that are so much bigger than me. We shot the video in mid-October at Alouette Lake, about an hour outside of Vancouver, and at my home in Burnaby. Everything was filmed in one day, just myself, Sam Tudor, and the incredible cinematographer Brock Newman.’
The video was full of sentiment for her as well, as she included many props that were close to her heart:
‘I wore a dress that I had made, originally for a fancy awards ceremony that ended up being cancelled, that had just been sitting in my closet. The boat is my dad’s little aluminum fishing boat – he towed it out and met us at the lake, and was just so excited to help. It was very sweet, and a bit of a sentimental, full-circle moment for me.’
One of the most moving elements of Little Disappearance are the strings Lynch uses throughout. Pairing perfectly with the gentle guitar and her poetic lyrics, these strings seem to take the music to another level. She uses them as a way to create lots of depth, bringing them in intermittently at times and letting them take over during others:
‘I think that strings (either a singular instrument or an orchestral arrangement) have the capacity to control or direct the emotive sense of a piece of music so drastically; they have always elicited such a visceral response in me, one that is sometimes impossible to achieve with any other instrument, so I’ve always felt drawn to the sonic image that they can help to paint. It’s like a whole other voice to me.’
The way she describes sound and the influence it has on her is almost magical. It greatly inspires me and makes me lust after the creative high that comes from discovering you are able to manifest an emotion through your work. I can only imagine the feeling Lynch has as a creator when listening to the strings in her songs and experiencing the transcending impact they have.
My favourite response from Lynch came when I asked her about what she’s currently working on. She gave a snapshot of her days and let us see into her creative process with regards to the music and other projects she has on the go:
‘[I’m] slowly chipping away at writing new material for the next project. It’s been interesting conceptualizing what I want the next offering to be, particularly without live shows to feed the energetic reserves and act as an arena to try out songs in different ways. When not working on music, I’ve been creating other things intermittently – some sewing projects, painting, revisited pottery for a short time (and came away with a very special new mug and cereal bowl that I use daily) – generally, just anything very new and foreign to me, that I can do or make with my hands. I feel like fumbling my way through creating things with my hands has allowed me to be more curious and gentle with myself while writing new music. I’ve been craving brighter colours and bolder shapes, so I’m excited to follow that thread and see where it brings me musically.’
I’m not surprised Lynch has other creative projects on the go and loved learning about them. Knowing that she is attempting to work with brighter colours and bolder shapes is really exciting and will no doubt bring an interesting sound to her music that will be just as wonderful I’m sure. I will be waiting on my toes for her next release and will definitely enjoy following along with her journey there.