Choose Your City
Change City

The Goddess of winter

Emm Gryner’s latest disc draws on uniquely Canadian seasonal themes

Once upon a time, Emm Gryner didn’t have to deal with winter.

The Sarnia, Ont.,-born singer/songwriter’s 13-year career has seen her take up residence in locales like New York and sunny Los Angeles where the bitter ice and snow don’t quite fall like in her native Ontario.

But given the choice, Gryner would sooner remain stationed in the small town outside Stratford, Ont., she now calls home instead of such over-hyped havens of musical bustle.

“I like being able to have this small town as a base,” she says. “I’d be hesitant to leave that or be on the road all the time or trade it for something a little bit bigger.”

Trading it would necessitate swapping those seasonal aspects she’s become so accustomed to. “It really defines us as Canadians,” she says, “the fact that we spend six months of our lives in this kind of a climate.” And on her eleventh studio album Goddess, it’s that motif of winter that seems to underlie the often-bombastic blizzard of sounds on the record.

While Gryner didn’t really intend Goddess to be a “winter” album, she acknowledges the theme’s apparent recurrence and says many of the songs were written amid the wind and snow marking the last few months. The record does, at least, reflect winter’s bleak, dejected reputation. “I just kind of felt like doing something a little more minor, with a few more minor keys, and a bit meatier,” she says. Further, many of Goddess’ songs are very personal, says Gryner, and the album divulges some of the sadder experiences she encountered when coming to grips with her life. “It’s a really chilling risk to take to step out into the cold and kind of reveal yourself.”

It’s also risky to attempt creating any record completely by yourself. But because of the album’s introspective nature, Gryner opted to self-produce all components of Goddess.

“I always enjoy records that the artist has produced because you know exactly that that’s the way they wanted to communicate the songs,” she says. “Because I recorded it and I produced it, it retains a little bit of that intimate ‘I did this at my house’ kind of vibe.”

But Gryner doesn’t plan to abandon the studio. Later this year, she will impressively release a second album of new material, this one recorded in Los Angeles, a “sunny, happy major key album” that is, per Gryner, “Completely the opposite of Goddess.”

“I keep writing so much. For myself, I need to put things out or else I don’t really move forward as a creative person.”

You Might Also Like