“Something I’ve been working on for a couple of years is how can I integrate creation and writing and acknowledge that as part of my daily life? Every day I get up and write something for an hour or two, and be inspired for an hour or two, and acknowledge the fact that when I do that I feel better with the rest of my day—everything else is better.”
It’s a habit Calgary-based singer-songwriter Amy Thiessen started after a short residency program at the Banff Centre at the end of 2013 alongside fellow musician Curtis Glas. Thiessen spent 12 days immersed in the writing and creativity of other artists, an experience that sparked a desire to dig deeper into her own creative process.
“It starts to show you there is space for everything. You don’t have to fit a mould,” she says, recalling a night she listened to writers read their work, eventually becoming so inspired she needed to leave to go write, which she did for three hours. “I needed to create something and all the shorelines that it can’t be good enough or it can’t be or shouldn’t, all the stuff that comes up when you create something, it was gone because I was so inspired by other people’s work.”
Thiessen has plans to apply for the program again, but for now the focus is releasing her sophomore album In Between Goodbyes, an emotive mix of folk-pop songs that predominantly reflect on relationships, whether they be romantic or those with family and friends. “Crumbling Walls” discusses the journey of renewing an old friendship when the perception of each other becomes outdated, while “Shooting Arrows” provides a glimpse into a relationship in trouble, where Thiessen could do little but watch a loved one go through personal struggles.
“I think because of the nature of what I write and how I write, most of the songs are to some degree, they’re healing,” Thiessen adds. “All of the songs are somewhere about those transitions between kind of expanding and retracting and things happening and growing, and then things kind of falling apart. I don’t know that life is any different than that. I think that’s all life is, you know? Life is in between goodbyes. You say goodbye to something, something new happens, it grows and then it goes away and you say goodbye and start again.”
Thiessen expresses this with a sense of ease and acceptance, despite goodbyes often being a scary or sad concept. Her affable and positive outlook can be credited to an ongoing yoga practice: Thiessen is a certified teacher and her practice has become connected to her creative process, which she views as a similar type of practice.
“By writing every day you know that some days are going suck … some of your [yoga] practice days suck, but you know you’re getting on the mat tomorrow, so it doesn’t matter. And so then there’s more freedom because it’s a muscle you build,” she explains.
Yoga and spirituality were very prevalent on Thiessen’s first album, but she wanted to make a shift this time to folk music, which she says is similar in the way it articulates the truth of a matter, such as when you get to the root of the hurt that has caused an argument.
“In that truth that’s really where we’re all connected because everybody has felt that way, and I want to come at it from a place that is compassionate and honest and I know that yoga is a driving force in that because I am constantly reflecting.”
Sat, Jun 7 (5 pm)
Prana Yoga Studio