Sadie Campbell Emerges From Her Own “Darkroom” On New Three-Song EP
Growing up in a small town in British Columbia, Sadie Campbell’s first experience singing came in the church choir which eventually led her to the open mic scene in Vancouver and then Nashville. With a rasp and a deep power to her voice, reminiscent of Janis Joplin and Melissa Etheridge, Sadie Campbell’s songs and sound are truly her own. Over three compelling songs on her new ep, Darkroom, Campbell chronicles her own fall into and subsequent climb out of a deep depression. Things continue to look up for Campbell with last week’s ep release as well as the announcement of a showcase at this year’s Americana Fest.
AnaLee: Congratulations on releasing Darkroom last week and for giving us something so real. Darkroom is deeply personal, but it feels so relatable. That’s part of the beauty of music for me, what’s very specific to you might move someone else in just as profound a way even if the circumstances are different. You packed a lot into these three songs. Would you tell us about them?
Sadie: Thank you so much Ana Lee! Releasing something this personal has been scary, but it means a lot to me to hear that people are relating with these songs. That’s one of my favorite parts about music - it not only gets us through the hard times in our lives, but it also connects us. 2020 felt like a Darkroom to me. It was a place of development and creativity, but also loneliness, sadness and hopelessness. The lows weren’t as easy to escape from when we were in lockdown and I couldn’t hide behind the regular business of life. I really wanted Darkroom to feel like a journey through depression. With “Fade", you’re in the tunnel - you can see a glimmer of light but you’re still stuck in the dark with no choice but to make peace with it, knowing one day that light will come back. “Aftermath" is the song that probably scares me the most on this EP. When you’re in that state of mind and you don’t see a way out, you’re blinded by fear and doubt - that’s the place I was in when we wrote this song. “Euphoria" is the sun rising. Even if you’re not physically in a happier place yet, it’s about finding your power again. Huge shoutout to my co-writers Vinnie Paolizzi, Mikhail Laxton and Jeff Coplan for helping me sort out my feelings, and turn them into song :)
AnaLee: You recorded in Lebanon, Tennessee which is about 30 miles east of East Nashville. In the live video of “Fade”, there’s a killer guitar lead! Tell us about Panfish Studios and your crew for this project.
Sadie: I recorded the live version of Fade in Lebanon, TN at Panfish Studios - that studio has suuuuch a vibe, Dave has done a great job decorating - I wish he would come decorate my apartment, haha. Those guys were great to work with too. That was Travis Laws on Drums, Nicky V on Guitar and Aaron Smith on the Rhodes. Darkroom was actually recorded remotely, between my apartment in Nashville and my producer’s (Stuart Cameron and Peter Fusco) studios in Toronto. Stuart and I reconnected over Instagram of all places, he was off the road and was looking to make some music with his production partner Peter, so I sent them the demo of Euphoria. All of the vocals on Darkroom are actually the demo versions I recorded in my apartment. We started getting on google meet for hours a few days a week- going over parts for the songs, nerding out over new music we all liked, drinking wine of course (they like to call it Studio Coffee haha) It’s funny I still haven’t met Peter in real life but those guys have become such good friends of mine through the process of creating this together. It’s been such an inspiring and refreshing way to make music.
AnaLee: There’s a certain rasp to your voice that’s reminiscent of Janis Joplin and Melissa Etheridge, but you don’t sound like either of them. Does that make any sense at all? It’s refreshing to hear that grit come through in your unique style. Talk a little about some of the artists that have inspired you.
Sadie: I love Janis and Melissa! To be honest with you, I’ve struggled with where I fit genre-wise. I grew up singing in church, so there’s definitely some gospel influence there. But I also grew up listening to Alanis, Lauryn Hill, Nirvana, The Beatles, Springsteen, CCR- the list goes on. I’ve always been drawn to singers that sing with gut and heart and grit. Where you can feel the emotion they were experiencing by listening to the way they’re singing. Like in Gimme Shelter, I LIVE for the way Merry Clayton sings that backup vocal... you can FEEL it. So now I’ve just made peace with my non-genre/genre. Haha- it’s just me.
AnaLee: I’m looking forward to your showcase at Americana Fest this year. Have you played the festival before? When and where is your showcase and what else is on the horizon for you?
Sadie: Americanafest is one of my favourite weeks in Nashville and I’ve attended the last 3 years as a fan. It’s SUCH a blast and I always find a few new bands to become musically obsessed with and inspired by. This will be my first year as an official showcasing artist and I couldn’t be more excited to be included in this lineup! I’m playing The Basement on September 25th at 10pm:) Currently working on a new record and will be touring next year - I’m just gonna keep writing, recording and releasing music that scares and challenges me.