Up-and-coming Vancouver-based indie pop artist Michaela Slinger recently released her captivating new single “Just This Once” on June 14 via the team at 604 Records (Carly Rae Jepsen, Marianas Trench, Mathew V) and all streaming platforms.
Michaela is known for crafting songs that exist at the intersection of pop, indie, and singer-songwriter. Her stop-you-dead vocals and poetic observations about love, aging and selfhood feel at once timely and timeless, and the new single is a synth-pop anthem with a retro feel. “Just This Once” was written by Michaela and Ryan Stewart (Carly Rae Jepsen, Simple Plan, Tyler Shaw), who also produced the track.
Michaela grew up outside of Vancouver, and her innate musical gift was evident as soon as she could talk. Her first public performance was at age three, singing the national anthem at a sold-out NBA game at Rogers Arena.
Fast forward to more recent years, and Michaela was eight months into a desk job when she knew that she had to give her lifelong musical calling a shot. She took one sick day to record “Flux” with Nygel Asselin (Half Moon Run)—her first time ever recording her own song at a studio—and started attending music conferences and networking events in 2018. With almost no knowledge of how the music industry operated, she released Flux in 2019, and was shortly thereafter selected as a fully funded participant in Canada’s Music Incubator in Toronto. It was there that she had her first meeting with 604 Records, and she officially signed her record contract a month before the pandemic hit.
Michaela has performed across Vancouver (The Vogue, The Imperial, The Biltmore), Toronto (Handlebar) and the US (Breaking Sound LA, SoFar Sounds). In a sea of attempted virality, Michaela is a life raft: she knows that at the end of the day, it all comes down to excellent songs and meaningful connection with each other.
Michaela supports her emerging artist project by running her own non-profit communications consultancy, working with clients across social and environmental initiatives to deliver meaningful impact across British Columbia.
I had the opportunity to chat with Michaela about her single, what she hopes fans connect with on the track, and what’s next.
Kat: Can you talk about the inspiration behind your latest single “Just This Once”?
Michaela: Just This Once was born out of frustration I was experiencing with someone. I felt like we were talking around issues and going in the same circles, rather than getting to the heart of what was wrong between us. The worst part of that approach is that if you leave issues unattended for too long, they’ll turn into resentment, and I think resentment is often hard to bounce back from. This song is me pleading with this person to lay it all out and say exactly how they’re feeling, even if it hurts me—I just wanted everything out in the open.
Kat: What do you hope fans connect with on the track?
Michaela: What I love so much about Just This Once is that the sounds and track have this feeling of freedom and levity—there’s the hooky bass line, the laidback vocal delivery in the verses, and this massive driving chorus. But the story and the lyrics are actually about desiring that feeling and not having it.
I hope that fans can access their own feelings of freedom and release while they listen, whether they actually have that in their life or not. When I listen to it loud in headphones, it really makes me want to hop in a speedboat and rip across a wide open lake or ocean. I’d love for other people to get that same need for speed. (Drive safe, though).
Kat: What do you find is the most challenging part of your creative process?
Michaela: Making enough time to capture all of my ideas! I write lyrics and melodies constantly, even if I’m not sitting down to officially write a song. I try not to get too precious about individual ideas—I think I have a very open creative process and trust that ideas and inspiration are a renewable resource. But when I’m busy and on-the-go or working on other things, I sometimes let ideas pass me by, or I write a song and it sits untouched in my voice memos for months (or years). It sometimes concerns me that I’ve missed out on a little piece of gold.
Kat: What has been a career highlight for you so far? What have you learned along the way?
Michaela: I’ve had so many highlights! I would say doing my first international songwriting trips to LA and Nashville have been a couple recent ones. For my first record, everything was written either by myself alone or my two producers and co-writers. It was a perfect way to develop that initial project. This time, I really wanted to expand my writing and challenge myself by emotionally (and physically) getting out of my comfort zone and going to new places with music industries I revered from afar. These experiences have not only allowed me to make a bunch of amazing connections and new friends, but have also increased my artistic confidence—I feel more sure of my vision and who I am, and I’ve seen that I can hold my own in writing rooms, even with total strangers.
Kat: What’s next?
Michaela: I’m gearing up for a series of summer shows across BC and in Ontario, which will be wild and fun! I’ll be playing my first-ever festivals with my band, including NXNE in Toronto, Laketown Shakedown in Cowichan Valley, and Khatsalano Street Fest in Vancouver. I’m also majorly in recording mode right now with my producer, and I’m doing a bunch of planning for the roll out of this project.
Connect With Michela Slinger
Tik Tok: @michaelaslinger