By: Kat Harlton
Sykamore (aka Jordan Ostrom) based out of Calgary, Alberta is poised to be one of Canada’s breakout country music stars of 2018. She recently released her second collection, a six-song EP entitled Self + Medicine through Road Angel Entertainment/Warner Music Canada.
Speaking on the inspiration behind the title and the album, Sykamore explains it was a cathartic process “It’s inspired by my own human experiences. This record was made, and mixed and recorded, and mixed over and over for about about 4 years so it was hard to title it. I was looking at these 6 songs that are all from different time periods in my life and I had to zoom out, and ask myself what all these songs meant to me. What was the common thread? Songwriting is my therapy, it’s how I self medicate, so that’s how Self Medicine kind of came about. One song may have been written in one year and another a different year, but they were all what I needed in that moment. To be able to write them and to be able to have that self expression, and to share my perspective about living my life as a millennial and as a female, and everything that comes with it.”
It’s this need to self medicate, and share that continues to inspire Sykamore’s songwriting “You kind of get to point where you leave the channel open all the time to be inspired. To find a concept, or a word, or a phrase. I have a file in my notes, and I just write everything down, and when I have time to set aside for a writing session, I go back to them and I see how I feel that day. Maybe I really want to play with this title or this lyric, and then it kind of goes from there. That’s usually how it starts for me, finding a concept or that thing, that muse for the day. Finding that first twinge of inspiration.”
Having spent much of the past two years travelling across Canada appearing at prominent summer festivals including Interstellar Rodeo, Boots & Hearts, and Cavendish as well as sharing bills with Canadian music heavyweights and JUNO winners such as Paul Brandt, Tebey, MacKenzie Porter, Lindi Ortega, and Adam Cohen. It’s clear they’ve had an impact on her musical journey. “I don’t know if I just learned this or someone told it to me, but I’ve learned that especially now, with the way the music industry is set up, is that there’s no rules, there’s no right way to do things. Don’t feel like you need to do something a certain way just because someone else succeeded that way. Do it the way you envisioned yourself doing it. Obviously learn from people and take advice from experienced veterans, but at the same time just know that because something worked for someone one way, and you haven’t done it that way, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. I think that’s a great thing to learn because it kind of takes the pressure off. The comparison game is silly, because there are no rules.”
It’s this confidence that allows Sykamore to continue being true to herself, even as her success continues to grow “I think anytime you’re in a kind of public light, you have to understand that there are people looking at you and potentially looking up to you. It’s not lost on me that happens. So what I’d like people to gleam from my journey as an artist is that I’m uncompromising. That I’m still being myself and there isn’t a mold that I’m trying to fit into. I would hope that if anybody’s watching my journey, they would see that I’m not bending, or selling out, or just trying to get more likes on social media, I’d hope they’d see that I have something to say and I have art I want to share.”
Four tour dates and latest news: http://www.sykamoreproject.com