Sykamore Shares Thoughts On Debut Album “Pinto”

Kat Harlton

Canadian country-pop singer-songwriter Sykamore, recently released her full-length debut album, Pinto, on August 12th via all streaming platforms. 

Recorded in Nashville with producer Michael Knox (Jason Aldean, Kelly Clarkson), the new album marks more than just a chapter for Sykamore. It represents both a beginning and an end, the culmination of a remarkable journey and the start of an even more promising one.

With equal parts of country and pop, Pinto pairs empathetic storytelling with instantly memorable hooks and sing-along choruses that capture the emotional rollercoaster of youth and young love in songs such as the EP’s title track, “Pinto,” a soaring earworm that spins a used car into a clever metaphor for new love. 

Sykamore recently released her newest single “Just 4 July”, the perfect, upbeat summer song that was also one of the first tracks she wrote when she moved to Nashville.

Born in a small town outside of Calgary, AB, Sykamore grew up on a cattle ranch surrounded by country music which laid the groundwork for her to start writing her own songs. Soon enough, her songwriting would start to garner attention in Canada, leading her to win the ATB All-Albertan Song Contest in 2014, and be nominated for the CCMA Discovery Award the following year. To date, Sykamore has garnered more than 10 million on-demand streams.

She continued to gain success after being featured on national television and sharing bills with the likes of Miranda Lambert and Josh Ritter, but her biggest break came online when songwriting heavyweight Rhett Akins came across her music on Twitter. He invited her to join the roster of Home Team Publishing, which Akins founded along with his son and country star Thomas Rhett and Roc Nation/Warner Chappell.

Sykamore relocated to Nashville in 2018 and released her first EP, Self + Medicine, which was streamed more than 1 million times and helped land her both a record deal and a spot in CMT’s coveted “Next Women of Country” class for 2020.

I had the opportunity to chat with Sykamore about her debut album, songwriting and what to expect for the rest of 2022.

Kat: Can you talk about the inspiration behind your new album Pinto?

Sykamore: I heard stories of this old car from the 70’s called the Ford Pinto that garnered a reputation for itself as a hazardous vehicle because it was prone to engine fires and had a tendency to explode if it made any head-on collisions. Eventually the model was recalled, but the legend of the car remains even after all these years. It got me thinking about young love and how it can be compared to a car like that – the way it’s combustible and unstable and exciting, maybe even dangerous. But you never forget how intoxicating it is. I thought the idea might make a good song, so I wrote Pinto and it turned out so cool, that it inspired me to make a whole album about the concept. 

Kat: What do you hope fans take from the new album?

Sykamore: What I always hope when I release music, is that the songs that start out as mine eventually become someone else’s. I want people to see themselves and their lives in these songs and be able to relate to the stories. I feel like I’ve done my job if people can hear one of my songs and think, “Hey, that happened to me too.” 

Kat: What do you find is the most challenging part of your creative process?

Sykamore: Getting started is the hardest part. For me anyway. I don’t want to make a mistake or spend time on something that will end up being bad, so I sometimes procrastinate and find reasons not to write or finish a song. And logically I know making mistakes is part of the process, but I still find myself a little hesitant to tap into my creative stores for fear that they’re just not good enough. The irony is, once you start, messing up isn’t that scary. It’s the anticipation that gets you more than anything. 

Kat: What has been a career highlight for you so far? What have you learned along the way?

Sykamore: Signing a publishing deal with Rhett Akins is pretty high on the list! It was truly an honour to sign a songwriting deal with the guy who was literally named the Songwriter of the Decade in 2018. Another highlight for me is probably just the opportunity to move to Nashville and actually do this for a living. I never take that for granted. 

Kat: What can we expect from you for the balance of 2022?

Sykamore: I am playing some festivals in eastern Canada that I’m really excited about! And the CCMA’s are happening in my hometown of Calgary this year so I will definitely be making it out for those! 

Connect With Sykamore

Twitter: @SykamoreMusic

Facebook: /sykamoremusic

Instagram: @sykamore


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