Q&A with the passionate pop songstress, Christine Sako

Emerging singer-songwriter and bedroom producer Christine Sako unveiled a new single, ‘Warmth’, on December 8, 2023 via her independent label, Christine Sako Music. Christine has previously toured with the emo indie-rock outfit Now, Now, and as an opening act for Paramore’s ‘Brand New Eyes’ Europe tour. With a sound that has been compared to Edie Brickell, MUNA, and Taylor Swift, Christine is carving a name for herself in the industry while refining her already-distinctive flavor of indie pop. 

Tell us about you, how long have you been producing music? What did inspire you to start? 

Hey! I started playing guitar and songwriting in 2002 (thanks to Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” jump-starting my songwriting fervor), and started recording shortly after. Since I was a kid I’ve always been very in tune with my creative side, though the music path didn’t really unveil itself until my early teens. I’ve always wanted to stand out or otherwise be distinguishable from my peers, and having hobbies and interests which allow an endless amount of expression really helped with that. It’s also a great way to deal with some of those feelings that can’t really be addressed and confronted in a straightforward way. So it’s cathartic, but also extremely fun for me. Writing music and walking the wordplay tightrope between ambiguity and overtness can be a fun puzzle to put together.

The music industry is super competitive these days, was there a moment in your life that you wanted to give up on music?  How did you manage to stay focused and achieve what you want? 

When I was in my early 20s I was a touring member of a band that was getting pretty big at the time. I had put my undergrad on the backburner – we  toured with Paramore in Europe and it seemed like it would only keep getting bigger and better. But during this time I was so discouraged in my own writing/solo career because I thought nothing I made could ever be as good or as revered as what the band was doing. I put a complete halt to my solo career for about 5 years – so I didn’t totally give up on music, but I sort of gave up on my own creative efforts during that time. After the band/touring endeavor came to an end for me, it took about a year for me to build the confidence and mindset necessary to start writing and recording music again. I finally realized that nothing I created was ever going to be akin to what anyone else was doing, good or bad. The best I could ever do was put my heart into a project and let whoever resonates with it accept it for what it is. It’s really the best any artist can do without going crazy!

How would you describe your creative processes? Who writes the lyrics to the songs? Are the music and lyrics written in conjunction, or separately?     

I write all my own lyrics, for better or worse! I’ve gone through periods of my life where I write just to write and immerse myself in the art of making music, but I feel that method is more of “practice mode” to help foster efficiency and circumvent future writer’s block when I have to sit down and crank out a song on demand.  I think some of the more meaningful and complex songs I have written come from me randomly getting the urge to sit down with my guitar or at the piano and letting thoughts just bubble to the surface and pop into lyrics. It’s not necessarily at a time where I feel like I need to get something off my chest – sometimes the subject matter ends up being about something I remember from years ago or some imaginary scenario that I sort of place myself in. To be honest my ultimate songwriting vessel is the shower – something about that water flowing and just being very very…naked just pushes melodies and lyrics out of me like no other place or situation can. I usually can come up with a verse and a chorus (and maybe a second verse if it is an extra long shower) and then run to my to voice memo it before I forget it.  I usually have melodies and lyrics come together simultaneously during this process.  Even when I have intentional songwriting sessions with my guitar or the piano, words and melodies usually come out together — and often very linearly as far as phrase sequencing goes. Once I nail down the first couple lines, I sort of go back and try to figure out why those ideas came to my head and start to craft more bones of the theme to build upon.

Where does your inspiration come from? 

Most of my inspiration comes from either an extraction of a personal experience or an extrapolation/interpretation of someone else’s experience that I’ve been exposed to. I think there is value in both – when writing about my own life, I get to dig a little deeper at what could be left as surface feelings or actions and pull out more of the roots from where they grow. When observing others’ experiences, I get to be a bit more imaginative and potentially more extreme as far as where the story can go.

What’s your favourite track from the upcoming album and what other bands/artists are you listening to right now?  

Well since it is a single, “Warmth” is definitely my favorite :). I took a great deal of time with it so it is really special to me. There is a radio edit as well though, and after listening to it more and more I am starting to think it may be better than the original!  As far as consuming music, I’ve been a huge Yoke Lore fan for a while and they just released their first full-length album this year (finally!). Luke Sital-Singh’s latest album is really beautiful. Earlier this year I got super into this UK artist named Laura Zocca — I’m obsessed with her voice. Oh! And Dan Croll’s latest album is amazing — his musicality is so distinct and fun.

What’s next for you?

Writing and recording more and more! I tend to ride the high of a release perhaps a bit too long before getting back into the swing of things, but I want 2024 to really be a year with non-stop momentum so I can hopefully garner enough tracks for at least an EP!  I am revamping my recording studio so I’m hoping that will foster a new and exciting vibe for my future sessions! 

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