Interview: Lydia Persaud, “Low Light”

Lydia Persaud - Low Light

A few weeks ago, we were privileged to be able to feature a video from Lydia Persaud.  As soon as we heard her fabulous voice, we were eager to hear more, and we’re thrilled that she took the time to speak to us about her EP, “Low Light.”

As with other EPs, the four songs on this project left me anxious for more – this is a gorgeous collection from someone who clearly has tremendous talent.  “Turning In,” the opening song, starts with a simple fingerstyle riff on ukulele and gradually builds into a heartrending goodbye to a lost love.  The title track comes next, with a bass line that reminds me of some of my favorite ballads from the 1970s and a gentle lyric from Persaud.  “Everything” features a lovely string arrangement behind soulful vocals, and “Changed” closes out the album with a beautiful exploration of how people and their relationships transition over time.

Lydia Persaud’s lovely voice needs little in the way of ornamentation, but the instrumentation that producer Robbie Grunwald has chosen perfectly complements it.  Recording the album straight to tape also has preserved the immediacy of these terrific performances.  We look forward to more (soon, we hope!) from Lydia.

Here, she talks with us about her new album.

As someone who is frequently mocked (by my SO) for my fascination with ukulele, it’s a delight to hear an artist who proudly plays one. Yours, I think, is a baritone (which, for the uninitiated, is usually tuned like the top four strings of a standard-tuned guitar). What drew/draws you to the uke, especially for your songwriting?

I have been playing the ukulele for roughly 5 years. Three years ago I picked up the baritone ukulele and loved how it complimented and supported my voice. When it comes to writing I feel very comfortable with my uke as I’ve found that it accommodates so many genres and moods, it has definitely become an extension of myself.

On this project, you were able to work with some pretty terrific musicians – Robbie Grunwald and Joshua Van Tassel, just to name two. How was the experience of recording the album?

Recording with these amazing musicians was an absolute dream. I basically sent out some demos, gave a bit of insight on the vibe for each tune, then stepped back and let them do their thing. The natural intuition of these players is a huge element to this EP as each of the players honoured my feedback, while still maintaining their own voice within the parts. It was a very special process that I’ll never forget.

You graduated from Humber’s jazz program, but this project has more elements of folk/rock (and even a bit of soul) than jazz. How did your experience at Humber impact how you approach music now?

My time studying Jazz at Humber College made me aware of the amazing community of musicians within Toronto and throughout Canada. The support within the community has encouraged me to explore music creatively, perform different genres and really discover who I am as an artist.

The songs on the project seem to focus on relationships – where they change, where they go wrong. Without getting too personal, were these songs inspired by events in your own life, or perhaps of those around you?

The songs on the EP were absolutely influenced by personal experiences. The EP captures a specific break up that I had a couple of years ago and the emotional lessons learned throughout that journey. Growing from painful experiences and coming out stronger was where I got the inspiration to write these songs.

Do you have some touring plans lined up after your album release event at the Burdock in Toronto?

2018 tour dates coming soon!

~ L

Visit Lydia Persaud’s website.

Buy “Low Light” on iTunes.

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