Coming off a European tour showcasing her album Sea, the second half of her critically acclaimed 2011 double-album release Land & Sea, Slean has been hard at work writing new material.
"A change of scene, pace, air, instrument, the different sound of it and different circumstances, it refreshes your mind," she said in interview shortly before returning to tour North America.
Slean has released 11 albums in her 35 years, so one might assume a trip around Europe with fellow musicians would provide the perfect inspiration for new songs; but its not always that simple.
"I often think of music that I really like when I'm washing dishes or waiting to sound check or when I'm doing something repetitive like that," she said. "It's like the doors open and then something just comes flooding in."
Will the floodgates open when she stops in Kelowna in early March? It’s possible.
The artist brought the pop half of her twins, Land, through town in November of 2011, but says she is planning a very different concert this time around.
Slean professes an unparalleled love affair with strings—though she doesn't play them—and is bringing nine string players to the stage to showcase the scores, most of which she wrote and arranged in a creative peak two years ago.
"The core of it is just knowing what you want to sing, what lines you want, what colour. You can write for any instrument if you know the language," she said.
There are apparently stacks of half-written songs that never reveal themselves in Slean’s closet and she has the musical chops to force the issue if it were necessary.
She studied music at York University and went on to finish her degree at the University of Toronto before launching her career.
Releasing herself from the bonds of contractual obligation when she left Warner in 2009, she now drives her own ship, choosing what she wants to write and with whom she work. This included her husband, Royal Wood, Joel Plaskett and Toronto producer Greg Johnston, on Land; and Jonathan Goldsmith, who wrote several arrangements for Sea.
Those who caught her last concert will know Slean has a unique stage presence hovering somewhere between piano bar entertainer and her own exuberant, perky personality.
Fun and an unfathomable talented, Sarah Slean plays Kelowna Community Theatre on Tuesday, Mar. 5 at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $28, available through Select Your Tickets, www.selectyourtickets.com.
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