In our intimate interview, CALYN reveals the organic transformation of her latest single, “Waiting,” which morphed from a disjointed jumble of verses to a resonant narrative of emotional evolution. Initially, the song was a fragmented piece, with verses penned in polarized mental states reflecting the tumultuous phases of a breakup. After a five-month hiatus, a spontaneous wave of inspiration birthed a unifying hook, encapsulating a comprehensive “before, during, and after” of an emotional experience.
CALYN’s lyrical alchemy is attributed to a fluid, unrestricted writing style and her innate ability to turn personal tribulations into universal stories. The singer confesses the vulnerability exuded in her lyrics is unintentional, a byproduct of her music’s diary-like authenticity. A mix of soul-baring revelations and momentary pleasures, “Waiting” is a therapeutic journey, echoing the messy yet beautiful duality of love, loss, and healing.
Can you share the transformational journey of “Waiting,” from an unfinished verse to a full-fledged emotional narrative? What prompted you to return to this piece after five months?
Absolutely. When I started writing “Waiting,” it was initially just a couple of ideas scraped together and brought to life. I was writing solely based off of the thoughts in my head rather than anything I had experienced just yet. The demo I had originally ended up with had no hook, just two verses that were written in completely different headspaces. As I had said earlier, the first verse was written through only the emotional thoughts I had been experiencing, whereas the second verse, I wrote after going through the exact feelings I was afraid of when writing the first verse.
At that point, I was left with a project with no hook and two very opposite verses, almost directly representing the before and after feelings of a break up or falling out of any kind of relationship. I knew I wanted to finish the song, but felt like I had nothing to work with. Eventually, I revisited the project and the hook just came to me, leaving the song with what almost seems like a “before, during, and after” of an emotional experience.
Your single explores the complex emotions during and after a breakup. How did you manage to encapsulate such a broad spectrum of feelings into a single track, and how does it reflect your personal growth?
When I started this project, I had no specific intention of a sequential writing style so I think that definitely helped to make the emotional transitions sound seamless. I don’t think there’s any right way to capture the broad spectrum of feelings one might go through when experiencing something like this, but I do think that given the circumstances, “Waiting” for sure captures all of the key points that a large part of my audience can relate to. As for the song reflecting my personal growth, I feel as though it clearly represents the mental awareness I came to realize throughout the writing process.
“Waiting” portrays intense vulnerability. How challenging was it for you to lay bare these raw emotions, and what do you hope listeners will take away from this transparency?
Although I look forward to sharing my creations with the world, that is not typically what comes to mind while I’m creating. When concepts come to mind for songs, it’s typically because I treat my music like a diary, never considering the repercussions of what I might say and how it could be taken by my listeners. The vulnerable side of things is really only considered when the songs are about to be released, and I think about what other people might think of me and the way I describe my experiences through my lyrics.
For instance, with “Waiting,” the night it was released I found myself wondering if I had said too much, but either way it was really too late to do anything about it. At the end of the day, my way of expression is through my art, so I hope my willingness to be vulnerable in songs like this can be used as a stepping stone in the right direction for people who might be going through similar feelings, which, nine times out of ten is more than likely.
You’ve blended various styles to create an intricate mix of sounds. Can you delve into your creative process for melding these different musical elements? Were there any particular inspirations or influences?
Specifically with “Waiting,” the lyrics came before the melody, which is abnormal for me, considering I usually write my songs the other way around. As soon as I finished writing the first verse, I knew that I wanted to use a Toosii and Rod Wave style beat, so I would definitely consider both of those artists as influences for this single. I’m very fortunate to be able to work with producers I’m close with that are always open to closely considering my specific ideas for beats. Macc (Davyhon Canada) who produced “Waiting.” brought my ideas to life flawlessly, and the rest followed.
The song touches on the intoxicating yet damaging nature of love. How does this duality of passion and pain influence your songwriting, and do you find it therapeutic or daunting to explore such themes?
With every project, first hand emotional experiences always influence my writing for the better. I feel like the more I write, the more I’m in touch with the feelings I’m experiencing at the moment. It for sure provides a more raw take on life in a way. Like I mentioned before, songwriting is really like a diary for me, so I would definitely consider it as a form of therapy to be able to take ill feelings and turn them into art that captures the exact state of mind I am in.
With references to seeking escape in momentary pleasures, can you share how these moments have helped shape “Waiting”? Is there an underlying message about coping mechanisms and healing?
Referencing the “momentary pleasures” throughout the song helped me shape “Waiting” by providing a more full circle view of poor situations. Recognizing the fact that you can still have good experiences with a situation that isn’t going to be good for you in the long run is for sure important and I think including that in a song like this is what made ends meet to finish off the project.
As for “coping mechanisms” and “healing” the creative process for pieces like this almost always serves as the healing. This song is a prime example of experiencing things you think are the worst until you can sit back and realize it was never that serious. Considering the fact that I’ve experienced much more emotionally damaging things in my life so far, I can almost look back and laugh at how personal I took something so small.
As your career has evolved, how has your perspective on life changed? How do you translate personal experiences into universal narratives in your music?
So far, being that I’m still working so hard to get to a place in my career where I feel secure with my future plans, my personal experiences as a whole have a much bigger influence on the way I view life rather than just the evolution of my career. I don’t typically have a problem with translating my personal experiences to “universal narratives,” because more often than not, I find that whatever comes out onto paper the first time can easily be interpreted in a million different ways. I want people to be able to relate their own personal experiences to my lyrics in whatever way they see fit.
Listen to “Waiting” below: