“Thank you so much! It’s thrilling,” Michaela expresses to Eat This Music at the top of our chat. “I had so much anticipation leading up to the release date, and I started noticing my body responding to that—two nights before it came out, I was so exhausted that I fell asleep at 7pm, which never happens to me.”
But once the album came out, Michaela just let herself feel proud and excited and danced around her room. Releasing a first album in a completely virtual world adds a strange element to all of this, because Michaela hasn’t really been able to have any real-world validation that her album is, in fact, out, “Besides seeing those handful of people on release day, all interaction with listeners and interviews and streaming reports have been online,” Michaela says. “So there’s also a bit of a “Did Panorama actually happen?” kind-of feeling, too.”
Michaela Slinger’s Panorama is basically her distilling the first 24 years of her own life into 12 songs and trying to make meaning out of childhood, adolescence and early adulthood.
“I actually chose the name before I’d written the title track. I grew up on Panorama Drive, and it felt fitting to honour that in this body of work.” — Michaela Slinger on her debut album.
“I also spent 4 years at university outside of Vancouver in Squamish, BC, which was a formative time in my life, and there was a beautiful hike nearby called Panorama Ridge,” Michaela continues. “Once I noticed that Panorama had kept popping up in my life, I realized that it spoke to the overall theme of the album.”
You know when you try to take a panoramic photo of some incredible view on your phone, and then when you go back to look at it, you’re left with a strange, warped version? By the end of putting this album together, Michaela felt like she did a similar thing in trying to memorialize her life up until now. All we have are moments in real time, and any attempt to recreate or relive them will always been incomplete in some way.
There wasn’t really a definitive start to the process of making Panorama. Michaela had been writing songs since age 10, seriously, since high school, and this was the first album she put out at 24.
“Because of that, the album contains songs from over three years of my life,” Michaela explains. “I like having different developmental stages of my own artistry contained on this first album—to me, it perfectly represents a starting point, or an introduction.”
For Panorama, Michaela worked with the same two producers throughout, “I was newly signed to 604 Records, and Louise Burns and Kevvy were champions of mine who have a long history at the label,” Michaela reveals on the creative process of her debut album. “Although the three of us collaborated on every song, there was variation in how each process worked.”
From there, Michaela wrote the majority [of songs] alone—some acoustic on guitar or piano, and others on Garageband as she learned to produce my her demos.
“For a few, the three of us elevated a partially complete idea I had (that’s how the focus track, Masquerade, came to be),” Michaela continues. “And for one of the other singles, Make You Sad, we co-wrote that Nashville-style.”
“I think the three of us have a special and unique working relationship, and they poured so much time and talent into making this record what it is.” — Michaela Slinger on the creation of her album.
“I can’t imagine ever answering this question with anything less than 100%,” Michaela rebuttes on the question of “How much of your own life influenced the creation of the record as a whole – if at all?” In fact, Michaela’s personal life and connection to the world is what compels her to make music – she is trying to sort out her own emotions and interactions and figure out how they fit into the broader human experience.
Choosing a favourite song, or songs, off the album is like choosing a favourite kid for Michaela. As they all deserve a listen, in her supremely biased opinion: But Michaela curated a couple that she things offer the broadest range of her genre and writing styles:
“I hope that people see themselves in the stories I’m telling throughout Panorama, and finish the album with somewhat conflicted feelings of hope, of longing, of nostalgia, and of joy,” Michaela tells Eat This Music on what she wants any listener to take away from her debut album.