Toronto’s most enig­matic and en­gag­ing pop star re­turns

Low­ell back with sec­ond full-length al­bum, Lone Wolf

Richmond Hill Post - - Currents | Music - By Ja­son Mac­neil

Toronto pop artist Low­ell might have taken a lit­tle longer than usual with her al­lur­ing sopho­more ef­fort, Lone Wolf, fol­low­ing 2014’s de­but

We Loved Her Dearly. But it was more a case of pro­duc­tiv­ity than any hint of pro­cras­ti­na­tion.

“I played around a lit­tle bit with dif­fer­ent sounds and dif­fer­ent ideas,” she says on the phone while wait­ing for a flight from Toronto to Washington, D.C.

“I spend a lot of time writ­ing for other artists and work­ing on dif­fer­ent projects. I made a grunge record be­fore I put this one out, so I was try­ing a lot of dif­fer­ent things. Then I came back to a vi­sion in the last year and de­cided what I wanted the en­tire thing to sound like.”

Low­ell says finding the time to write for her­self proved dif­fi­cult af­ter be­ing in de­mand by the likes of Swedish duo Icona Pop. How­ever, fear­ing the sopho­more jinx also played a smaller role.

“The other chal­lenge is just the ex­pec­ta­tion there be­cause my first record was fairly well re­ceived crit­i­cally, and I think that messed with my head a lit­tle bit,” she says.

“But I was able to get through that, and luck­ily I just kept writ­ing every day and spend­ing time with dif­fer­ent peo­ple and man­aged to get some­thing done.

“You have your whole life to make your first record and then only a cou­ple of years to make your sec­ond one. But it was def­i­nitely re­ward­ing, I’m happy that I fin­ished it. There were times when I thought I wouldn’t.”

Low­ell was born in Cal­gary and spent time in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent lo­cales be­fore mov­ing to Toronto to study classical mu­sic at the Uni­ver­sity of Toronto.

In 2014, she re­leased her de­but, five-song EP, I Killed Sara V. The Sara V. in ques­tion was a ref­er­ence to Sara Vic­to­ria, Low­ell’s stage name when she worked for a short time as a strip­per.

“At one point, I was danc­ing just to make money for demos and other com­pli­cated rea­sons, with a fake name,” she said, dur­ing a past interview with Post City. “And when I started writ­ing and be­ing en­cour­aged more to do mu­sic, re­al­iz­ing I was su­per tal­ented, I quit that life and moved forward.”

And did she ever, as she was soon on the verge of pop star­dom.

Low­ell says Lone Wolf is “prob­a­bly more of a solid thought” mu­si­cally com­pared to her “more spo­radic, more mel­low” de­but, adding that the al­bum’s rather lean song­writ­ing process re­sulted in not hav­ing dozens of songs to choose from.

“I just sat down for a month and made this record hap­pen be­cause I’d al­ready given lots of ideas to other peo­ple,” she says.

“I think that’s pretty com­mon with pop writ­ers. It’s kind of weird when you’re go­ing back and forth be­tween mak­ing raps for peo­ple and R & B and jazz and then come back and de­cide who you are.”

Al­though the ma­te­rial is strong top to bot­tom, no­table high­lights in­clude the sparse “No Talk” and “War Face.” The lat­ter is a track Low­ell did in one day. Mean­while the lovely “Ghosts” was in­spired by tour­ing.

“You spend a lot of time on the bus and you're look­ing out­side and see­ing all these dif­fer­ent places,” she says.

“You get this per­spec­tive into life where some­times things don’t even mat­ter. For ex­am­ple, I spent my en­tire life pur­su­ing my ca­reer as if it’s the only thing I could ever do. Some­times when you step away, you re­al­ize every­body is just kind of go­ing through the mo­tions in try­ing to pur­sue a path.”

As for tour­ing, Low­ell says noth­ing is con­firmed, but she hopes to do a few one-off shows. And she al­ready has her next al­bum fin­ished.

“I shouldn't say too much, but I’ve ac­tu­ally al­ready fin­ished it,” she says. “I ac­tu­ally wrote three al­bums over the course of four years. Every­body thinks I was hid­ing out, but I was ac­tu­ally just writ­ing a lot. I’ll let this one [ Lone Wolf] live the life it’s sup­posed to live.”

Low­ell just re­leased her sec­ond al­bum on the Arts & Crafts la­bel

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