WHAT IS PULSE?

Pulse Music Journal is Saskatchewan’s hub for music indulgers. We ‘eat/sleep/breathe’ the music and entertainment industry – plug into our outlet while we highlight new music, recap live performances, and interview the biggest names, local legends, and the newest initiatives surrounding our local music scene. We are honoured to be a leading cultural staple in the Saskatchewan music and entertainment scene.

WE SUPPORT SASKATCHEWAN’S ENTERTAINMENT & MUSIC SCENE

Whether it’s reaching out to a newly released project, musician or creating a spotlight for local talent to be heard on any of our stages, as well as opportunities to be heard opening for larger acts on our full-venue stage. We look forward to reopen and launch our newest concepts that strongly support the local music in our city. The local music scene is super important to us – we are a small city, but we have big dreams. Let’s grow and support each other – putting Saskatchewan on the map for premium music and entertainment experience.

CREATING IDENTITY AS AN EMERGING ARTIST

velours entered the Saskatchewan Music scene with her velvety voice and ambitiously creative heart. Residing in Saskatoon, the bilingual alternative pop star had her eyes set on 2020 – she hit it with a bang. Her release “Summer Haze” has had major traction with the music video reaching over 28,000 views. velours’ 4-track EP titled ‘Identity’ released on September 4th 2020. She has just been nominated for two Saskatchewan Music Awards for “Best Music Video of the Year” with Versa Films, and she is being recognized with all her hard work with the nomination of “Best Rock/Pop Artist of the Year” alongside a very talented group of musicians. velours has earned every accolade, creative experience and we are excited to see where she takes her next step.

velours joins us to chat how she juggles her creative projects, how ‘velours’ came to be, the musicians that inspire her sound, her songwriting method, how she released her debut EP during a pandemic, the success of “Summer Haze”, Working with Dylan Hryciuk of Versa Films, being nominated in two categories in the 2020 Saskatchewan Music Awards, what she has been working on, and so much more.

TELL US WHERE YOUR NAME CAME FROM – WHAT’S THE STORY?

velours: I really wanted to give myself a cool, unique name to identify with the alternative pop music that I create. A few people had told me before that when I sing, my voice has a velvet quality, which is such an interesting way to describe someone’s voice! I was definitely inspired by that and when I was chatting with my mom about the name, she agreed that “velvet” would be a bit too obvious and it just didn’t click. What did click was to use the French name for “velvet”, which is “velours”! I grew up bilingual so I got to bring in my French influence as well. It all just fell into place and that’s how I decided on the name.

WHAT WAS YOUR MUSIC UPBRINGING?

HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN INTERESTED IN BECOMING A MUSICIAN?

velours: I definitely have always wanted to be a creative and performer. I’ve sung my entire life, apparently even before I could talk! I guess I would just made noises similar to melodies I heard and mimic them. Actually, I’ve always loved mimicking other singers like Britney Spears, Shakira, Cher, Disney Princesses, etc. It’s a hobby of mine! Writing music since I was little, it’s been my dream for forever to be an artist. I would make up songs and sing out loud at grocery stores and bookstores without a care in the world. Growing up, music surrounded me and my home. My mom raised me on all kinds of music, whether we were in the car or in the house, and she never deterred my passion for creating my own. I’ve never been without a piano in my house or boxes full of CDs to listen to. I even played clarinet in my school band for eight years. When I really fell in love with the stage was during my first musical, Alice in Wonderland, when I was eight years old. I’ve been in love ever since! I was in choirs, musicals, classically trained in voice, and constantly finding ways to be creative. Honestly, there’s never been any other interest professionally besides music and performing.

WHAT MUSICIANS INSPIRE YOUR SOUND?

DO YOU TAKE INSPIRATION FROM ARTISTS OUTSIDE OF YOUR GENRE? WHAT MUSIC ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?

velours: There are countless musicians that have inspired me and still do. I think that every artist that I’ve listened to has influenced me, even in small ways. Musicians like REM, Blur, David Bowie, The Smiths, The Killers, Lorde, The 1975, Chantal Kreviazuk, Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Alanis Morrisette, Queen, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, The Ramones, Fleetwood Mac, and Björk have all inspired my sound. There are many more musicians and bands that I could name but the list would become a novella by the end haha! I definitely take inspiration outside of my own genre and most of them are artists that I grew up listening to, mainly in rock, grunge, and alternative genres. What I think they all have in common––and what I strive to bring out in my own work––is evoking emotion and saying something meaningful through songwriting and melody. As for what I’m listening to right now, I’ve been into Charlotte Cardin, The 1975, Tori Amos’s Little Earthquakes and Tales of a Librarian, some Troye Sivan and Conan Gray, Taylor Swift’s 1989 and Folklore albums, all of Lorde’s music, Haim, The Weeknd’s After Hours, Rina Sawayama’s debut album, and some Sigrid. I don’t usually listen to just one musician at a time, even if I’m obsessing over one specifically. I make playlists with my favourite songs and artists all mixed in together and play the specific mixtape I’m in the mood for.

YOU ARE A MULTI-FACETED ARTIST – ACTOR, MUSICIAN, ARTIST, WRITER.

WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE GOAL AS A CREATIVE? HOW DO YOU JUGGLE SO MANY CREATIVE PROJECTS? DO YOU USE ALL OF YOUR MEDIUMS FOR YOUR MUSIC CAREER?

velours: Thank you! I love being creative so any form of art, I gravitate towards. I’d say that my ultimate goal is to be able to use them all as much as I can and share my creativity with anyone who resonates with it. If I have an audience that can relate to my work and cares about it, as well as being able to work with artists and producers high up in the industry that I admire, I’ll be a happy lil’ singer! As for juggling all my projects, I honestly struggle with it but have to remember to take a deep breath and remind myself that I am capable of doing all of these projects. At the end of the day, if you love what you do, you’ll work hard enough to make it happen! As for actual juggling, I can’t even with one ball, so I’m a failure in that department. As for being a musician, I think the beauty of what I get to do is that music lets me do it all when it comes to my creative mediums! I’m really reaching that goal as a creative getting to act in my music videos, perform on stage and in livestreams, sing my own songs and collaborate with other singers, be creative through my artistry, and write with my own music.

WHAT INSPIRES YOUR SONGWRITING?

WHILE WRITING THEMES AND STORIES FOR YOUR MUSIC, DOES YOUR PERSONAL LIFE MAKE IT INTO ANY OF THE SONGS? 

velours: That’s a great question. Well, I actually think that it’s similar to acting. What I’ve learned from my acting teachers and coaches is that, as an actor, there’s always a part of you that you bring into each character you play to make it real and genuine. So, when I’m writing my themes and my stories for my music, I definitely take inspiration from my life and my emotional state, as well as relationships I’ve observed. When writing, I like to exaggerate it, kind of tweak it, or view things from another perspective. For example, in my song “Good Boy”, it’s from the perspective of someone manipulating someone who cares about them, but they’re cognizant of what they’re doing. The reason they do it is loneliness and rejection on their end, which I think most of us can relate to. I love examining different sides to a story and putting myself in the middle of it all. I think what I do in my music that’s really mine is looking at and trying to understand different relationships, and not just romantic ones, but between friends or society at large. My songwriting’s inspiration all comes from an emotional state of being and how I’m feeling that exact moment.

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YOUR DEBUT EP IDENTITY CAME OUT ON SEPTEMBER 4TH 2020. THIS WAS DURING THE CURRENT STATE OF OUR MUSIC WORLD.

MAKING THE BEST OF IT, WHAT ADVANTAGES DID YOU LEARN FROM RELEASING A PROJECT DURING THIS TIME? DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR MUSICIANS LOOKING TO RELEASE NEW MUSIC?

velours: I really had to learn how to promote my content entirely on social media and that really helped me grow my audience in a great way. When you don’t have live performances helping introduce and interest your audience in what you’re doing, having a debut single released with a music video really helped show a clear vision of who I am as an artist. Another wonderful way to keep your audience engaged is through livestream concerts, either through a site or on one of your socials. Just keep building on who you are as an artist and translate that into an online presence.

*click the album artwork to listen, and the merch to check out her webstore.

YOU WENT ALL IN ON YOUR SINGLE “SUMMER HAZE”.

WHAT WAS THE PROCESS OF WRITING THE SINGLE? AND WHAT ABOUT “SUMMER HAZE” MADE YOU DECIDE THAT THIS WAS THE ONE THAT YOU WOULD PUT OUT LEADING UP TO YOUR EP, AND ALSO RELEASE EXCLUSIVE MERCH?

velours: The week before I flew to my producer Ryan Stewart’s studio, I just sat down at my out-of-tune piano that I’ve had my whole life and just played a simple chord. I wrote the first lyric of the song and immediately understood how personal and vulnerable this song would be for me, followed by two verses, two pre-choruses, and a bridge. I didn’t write the chorus until I was in the studio with Ryan and expressed what the song meant. While he strummed guitar, I came up with the metaphor of a “summer haze” and how that’s what distracts us from facing reality and becoming the best versions of ourselves. Really, this song was my choice for the first single and the few people I had played my songs for all agreed that “Summer Haze” was it. This song was the best choice to re-introduce myself as velours and start hyping up my debut EP to my audience. And merch! Yay! I have a few merch items but the sweaters are the “Summer Haze” themed. Once we had those three colours as the visual in the music video, I was so eager to get sweaters with the “Summer Haze” video logo, “velours” on the back, and in all three colours! Void Gallery is a fantastic local place that I’ve used for all of my merch and they really delivered on these sweaters. I think that they’re a great aesthetic, especially now that it’s time for cozy clothes.

Velours “Summer Haze”, by Dylan Hryciuk of Versa Films

28,000+ AND COUNTING – THAT’S HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE VIEWED YOUR MUSIC VIDEO FOR “SUMMER HAZE”.

DYLAN HRYCIUK OF VERSA FILMS HELPED CREATE THIS VIDEO. THE SASK MUSIC AWARDS HAVE RECOGNIZED THIS VIDEO RELEASE AS A BEST MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR NOMINATION. HOW DID THIS RELATIONSHIP EVOLVE? HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON THE BRIGHT MOODY AESTHETIC? HOW MANY TAKES DID YOU DO THE WATER SCENES?

velours: Thank you!!! It’s crazy how much love this video has gotten in the past few months and I’m so grateful for how well it’s been received. I think people have really resonated with the song and music video’s themes and overall vibe. How amazing is it that we got nominated for a Sask Music Award?! That’s just the cherry on top of this amazing “Summer Haze” release sundae. I’m incredibly grateful for our nomination! I got into contact with Dylan after my mom and I had seen Sask Music’s post about Versa Films winning Best Music Video of the Year at the 2020 awards for “Petite Fleur” by Ponteix. It just made sense to go with him for my first professional music video. His vision is just so special and he really brings out something visceral in his work. When I was discussing the themes and meaning behind “Summer Haze”, Dylan really understood how to deliver that in the visual medium. His idea to bring in the colours as a metaphor for the sun setting––or the haze leaving––with golden hour (yellow), sunset (pink), and blue hour (blue). The stop motion was very much a representative of destroying the idea of summer and what it represents. What better way to do that than to cut up a sneaker and melt some popsicles? Plus, I helped with some of the fire effects, which were completely practical. We actually shot all the stop motion and the studio scenes in my grandparents’s cabin’s garage. All the lake stuff was also shot there right next to their dock. The water scene took three hours to shoot, no joke! It was so worth it though because I was able to embody my inner fairytale princess. It was definitely chilly and I was wringing out my dress quite a bit by the end so I didn’t sink haha!

CONGRATULATIONS!

ON NOVEMBER 30TH 2020, SASK MUSIC ANNOUNCED THAT YOU WERE NOMINATED FOR ROCK/POP ARTIST OF THE YEAR. WHAT WERE YOU DOING WHEN YOU FOUND OUT YOU WERE NOMINATED? HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE RECOGNIZED BY THE SMA’S ALONGSIDE SO MANY TALENTED MUSICIANS AND INDUSTRY LEADERS?

velours: Thank you very much! I really wasn’t expecting the nomination, with this being my first official year as a professional musician, but am completely honoured to be alongside such talented Saskatchewan artists. I was watching the awards in my living room when I found out and pretty much leapt up and squealed when they announced my name. Being recognized for my artistry is just a huge validation that I’m on the right track with my career. It was one of the greatest days of my career so far!

*click this photo for more SMA 2020 info.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR VELOURS? ANY NEW WORK ON THE WAY? PLANNING ANY FUTURE SHOWS?

velours: I’m in development with Versa Films on a new music video for my song “Your Sweater”. We’re not sure when we’ll be starting production but I am so excited! As for music, I have so many unreleased songs, including a fan-favourite called “Whatever That Means”. I’m hoping to release a new single in the next few months for sure. I love sharing my songs with my audience as much as I can! I do have a couple upcoming shows that I’m very excited about as well. On December 12th, I’m performing a livestream concert at Turning the Tide Bookstore here in Saskatoon with talented musicians Rory Lawford and Emanali, which is going to be so rad! It’s hosted by the livestreaming site Odiance and it’s going to have very “NPR: Tiny Desk Concert” vibes. I also have a holiday-style performance slot at Canadian Music Expo’s Online Holiday Event on the 19th. I get to sing holiday tunes for half an hour, so it couldn’t be better. I can’t wait for everything that’s coming up in my career, especially getting to share it all with my audience!

CATCH VELOURS LIVE AT EVENTS:

Dec 12th – Turning The Tide Livestream Concert (RSVP: here)

Dec 19th – Canadian Music Expo, Holiday Edition (RSVP: here)

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT VELOURS, VISIT WWW.VELOURSARTIST.COM

UPCOMING EVENTS

WHAT EVENTS WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO…

March 8th

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May 4th

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July 30th

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Nov 3rd

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LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT’S TO COME…