Award-winning power pop outfit Universal Honey, recently releasesed their new single “Is This The Real Thing?” on July 22 via all streaming platforms.
“Is This The Real Thing?” is a shimmering rock delight full of glistening vocals and a driving bass line. Produced by band members Johnny Sinclair and Leslie Stanwyck, as well as Dan Marfisi (Poe, The Turtles, X-Files, Harry Dean Stanton Band), the debut single is off Universal Honey’s forthcoming album.
Based out of Saskatoon, SK, Universal Honey was formed by the platinum recording artists Johnny Sinclair and Leslie Stanwyck after playing in platinum-certified Canadian power pop group The Pursuit of Happiness. During this time, Sinclair and Stanwyck started a songwriting partnership that has spanned across three decades and earned Universal Honey a 1993 CASBY award as Best New Group. The duo has since shared the stage with the likes of the Goo Goo Dolls, Alanis Morisette, Duran Duran and many more.
I had the opportunity to chat with Universal Honey about their new single, songwriting and what to expect for the rest of 2022.
Kat: Can you talk about the inspiration behind your latest single “Is This The Real Thing?”
Universal Honey: Musically, we wanted to write something driving and upbeat. The song started with Johnny’s hypnotic bass line and then when it started to take shape with the guitars and melody, what came to mind was vintage U2 or mid-career Radiohead, so we went with it! And when the chorus hit, we added in a 60’s psychedelic vibe.
Lyrically, the song was inspired by everything that is going on around us right now. People are divided and on guard as they’re being pulled in so many directions. It’s hard to know what the truth is. However, no matter what direction you’re being pulled in make sure you open the door to love.
Kat: What do you hope fans take from the track?
Universal Honey: We hope they like it! Hell, we hope they love it! If they’re tapping their foot or moving their body at all to the music, then we feel like we’ve accomplished our job. Also, the lyrics are uplifting, and we hope anyone that hears the song feels hopeful.
Kat: What do you find is the most challenging part of your creative process?
Universal Honey: Lyrics are the most challenging part for sure. You want to make sure the lyrics are feeling right with the melody. Also, that the lyrics express the emotion felt properly. It takes us a bit longer getting the lyrics just right. However, it’s a fun process even though it’s a bit more of a challenge.
Kat: It’s so exciting that it is your 30th anniversary as a band! What has been one of your biggest career highlights and what have you learned along the way?
Universal Honey: It’s crazy that it’s been 30 years! We’ve had a lot of amazing things happen which we are grateful for so there isn’t just one highlight, which is awesome. Some career highlights have been winning a CASBY for Best New Group, touring with The Goo Goo Dolls for over 100 shows, and having Rock n Roll Hall of Fame inductee Ronnie Spector (The Ronettes) cover our song “Best Christmas Ever” for her Christmas album. We’ve also had over 50 placements in television and movies, which has been awesome, and we were included in a Girls Go Power Pop compilation in the UK not that long ago. We also had a song on Women & Song 10 alongside some great artists.
We’ve learned along the way that you just have to just keep doing, doing, doing and not talking about it. Just do it! Try different things, be open and have fun. There are also so many people out there that want to help. We’ve made some amazing friends in the music business that have helped us along the way. So always be open to meeting as many people as you can. And another thing, make sure you learn how to respect yourself because musicians are not always paid very well and that is something that can be discouraging mentally but know in your heart how important music is to people and you’re doing something that is very important in the world.
Kat: What’s next?
Universal Honey: A lot! We have our first single coming of course and we’re doing a music video for “Is This the Real Thing” and then in September we will be putting out another single along with our full album! We’re so excited for everyone to hear the new music. We feel it’s our best Universal Honey album to date! We’re also really looking forward to playing the album live! Look for us because we’ll be playing dates in the fall at a location near you!