By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Compared to the likes of Feist, Angel Olsen and Adrienne Lenker (Big Thief), Vancouver alt-folk artist Syd Warwick has released her new single “Moon Kin,” which follows her recent announcement of her name change from the former Abraham.
The track was recorded in 2019 at Protection Island Studios in Maple Ridge, British Columbia and was produced, mixed and engineered by Scott Currie and mastered by Greg Calbi. Lyrically, it focuses on not being able to connect with people around you and the pain it brings when all you want is love.
The Music Bugle had the chance to chat with Warwick about her new single and more.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Vancouver to somebody who has never been there before?
Syd Warwick – I love this city. It’s my home and one of the most beautiful places in the world. That would be easy to see for anyone, but there’s also lot of pain and a lot of work that needs to be done – and undone. We’re living on unceded First Nations Territory – Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Territory and that’s definitely something I would highlight when describing this city to someone who’s never been here before.
Music Bugle – What made you want to become an alt-folk musician?
Syd Warwick – I don’t believe that I consciously desired to be anything in particular. From a very young age, I think I just found refuge in folk artists. What attracted me most to folk singers and songwriters was the experience of storytelling. It strikes me as one of the most human of genres. Anything with an emphasis on lyricism, that can capture the complexity of an emotional experience, or what it means to be human is where my heart’s at.
Music Bugle – What inspired you to write “Moon Kin” and give it that name?
Syd Warwick – “Moon Kin” kind of wrote itself. A lot of my songs flow out that way, but it’s mostly about my experience of being a young woman. It’s about knowing who you are and owning who you are. Feeling like you don’t belong and wanting to be seen and empowering yourself to love the very thing that alienates you from the people who don’t. There’s an unspoken understanding within the song as well, this is here and now; but theres so much more out there and I won’t limit myself to any one narrative. If others won’t see me, I will see me. It’s kind of about… leaving.
Music Bugle – You also recently changed your artist name, what was the main reason for that?
Syd Warwick – I’ve been wanting to make a change for a while. Not only was it difficult to find my project online, but people also often mistook me for being a religious artist. It was both a personal decision and a professional one. For the first time in my life, I feel unwaveringly confident with my name as an artist.
Music Bugle – How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you?
Syd Warwick – The pandemic and subsequent social isolation has given me a lot of time to reconnect with myself. To rest. I found that before, I was running on empty, completely burnt out trying to balance a full-time job with a music career, as well as many other responsibilities and ambitions. For me, it’s been a powerful reevaluation. I’ve also had the time to focus on my health, which has been incredibly valuable. To have this experience, I am very lucky. I believe we all deserve more time to care for ourselves and our lives and that our work cultures need to evolve and create the space that is needed to do so.
Music Bugle – What is your favorite set of lyrics from a song of yours or anybody else’s?
Syd Warwick – This is difficult, but these are words I have been obsessed with and reciting since I was 16. I feel like that should count for something. “These ravings, observations etc., come from one who, beyond vows, is without mother, gender, or county, who attempts to bleed from the word a system, a space base. no rock island, but a body of phrases with all the promise of top soil, or a star, a core: a centre that will hold, blossom and vein the atmosphere with vascular tissue beams that illuminate, and reveal.” – Patti Smith.
Music Bugle – If you had the chance to talk to one of your music influences, who would it be?
Syd Warwick – This is also difficult. If it were the originals, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen or Patti Smith. I think Patti Smith. I just feel like she would have a lot of wisdom to relay. She was a huge influence on me as a girl and I especially loved her poetry. Seeing the way in which Patti would weave poetry and music together was a bit of an awakening for me. I also love how she’s still so engaged with the world and with the young people of today. A lot of artists from her generation I feel kind of fade into the mist, but she’s just continued to evolve alongside the world and do what she’s always done. I really admire that. Either a really intense, deep conversation with Patti, or maybe a night on the town with Dolly. I think we can all agree that neither would be settling.
Music Bugle – Does social media make it harder or easier to stand out as a musician these days?
Syd Warwick – I think both statements could be true. For artists like me, it’s difficult to stand out on the world stage via social media, but what I feel is more important is in some way standing out within your own community. You can do this simply by being authentic and honest about who you are or what it is you stand for. I feel like any shine you attract in that regard, can translate through your socials if you know how to utilize social media as a tool. I really do believe that there are more positives than negatives, especially for independent artists. It’s tough though, there’s a lot factors. I definitely respect the myriad of perspectives and experiences that different folks have in regards to it.
Music Bugle – Obviously this depends on how the COVID-19 pandemic plays out, but did you have any set plans for the rest of 2020?
Syd Warwick – I was originally going to be on my first U.S. Tour in July. I would have been in LA actually. Right now, I’m just trying to focus on the album. We will take the rest of the year to prepare, as well as an abundance of other things set for release in 2021.
Music Bugle – What do you feel people should know about you as a person?
Syd Warwick – Though I’m very soft, I’m also incredibly brave. People have always mistook my sensitivity and tenderness for weakness, but I’ve always been one of the strongest people that I know. Those truths about who I am I think always come through in my music.