Canadian Artist CARYS Talks Her Debut EP, ‘To Anyone Like Me’

Photo: Ryan Faist

Canadian artist CARYS released her debut EP ‘To Anyone Like Me’ this year and left no pages unturned as she spoke her mind on this project. You might recognize her as the actress Aviva Mongillo, but this multi-talented artist has fully turned her focus onto her music career. This project had a lot of relatable topics, as CARYS sings about topics people tend to bottle.

As one of the many Canadian artists to debut this year, CARYS stands out on her own through her project’s lyricism and visuals. Alongside the drop of her EP, the pop singer also dropped her music video for her track ‘When A Girl’ – which resonated with listeners and remains a fan favourite. Finding herself through working on her debut, CARYS gets real and honest in her writing.

Having the pleasure of talking to CARYS she talked about this project in finer detail. She touched on the experience making this project and the meanings behind it, even shedding light on the artists she worked with to record this project.   

Congratulations on your debut EP, ‘To Anyone Like Me’. Can you touch on the meaning behind some of the songs on this EP and tell us a little bit on why you chose the title ‘To Anyone Like Me’?

Thank you! I wrote this EP without any intention for what it would be about but naturally it ended up telling a story of growth and learning to let go of the things and parts of myself that no longer serve me. To Anyone Like Me is a lyric from my song “LOVE (Validation)” and I chose that as the title because my intention with my music is to connect with kindred spirits.

Can you describe the creative process behind this EP?, Were there any significant moments that stood out to you? What do you think you learned from working on this EP that could benefit you when working on future projects?

There was something really special about writing this EP because it ignited a lot of self-discovery for me. Usually I go into sessions knowing what I want to say. But last year, we would be putting all these words down onto a track and slowly I’d be deciphering them and figuring out what I was trying to say. There were a lot of moments of “Woah, is that how I feel? That’s what’s been going on?”. It was a really freeing way to write and helped produce some really honest songs. I’ve carried that into sessions ever since. It can be really beneficial to let the songs write themselves a bit and see where it takes me.

‘No More’ was a stand out track that was well received by fans even before the EP was released. Why do you think so many people are attracted top this track? In retro spec, did you expect it to be as big as it is? 

The first words we wrote for this song were “NO MORE” and it reminded me of that moment where you finally decide to let go of someone/something that isn’t serving you anymore and I think that moment is universal. I find it hard to listen to that inner voice that’s telling me something isn’t right for me but the minute I do, I feel so free. I wanted to capture that with this song. I remember listening to the demo on the drive home and feeling really proud of myself. I knew it was special and I’m glad other people resonated with it as well.

Photo: Ryan Faist

There are no features on the EP but you worked with the legendary Ryan Stewart. How was it working with Ryan and what were somethings you took away from the experience?

I love working with Ryan. We work really well together and there’s something in his tracks that hit me right in the heart. Whenever he plays me tracks, it feels like the ball not only rolls but speeds down the freeway. I feel so grateful that he was a part of this EP in such a huge way. I’ve taken a lot away from him, his hooks are super clear, catchy and effective and I like to think that’s rubbed off on me. These songs wouldn’t have been possible without him.

Princesses Don’t Cry also had a great reception by your fans, it also broke beyond it’s boundaries when it was remixed by Night Core and Dave AudéHow do you feel as an artist when you see your song travel through different genres? What is it like listening to the song through someone else’s perspective?

It’s really cool to hear my own ideas interpreted by other artists and musicians. It’s how I imagine seeing colour through someone else’s eyes would be or tasting food with someone else’s tongue. It feels like I’m rediscovering the song in a way like it’s brand new to me. (Deep. I know). I am honoured that people even like what I’ve done enough to spend time working on it. 

What were some of the inspirations behind this EP and how big of a role did they play in delivering these 6 songs?

I’m heavily inspired by relationships – connection and disconnection between people. What draws us to other people, how we experience each other through our own perspectives – I think my music is largely inspired by how I perceive the relationships I’ve had and how they have affected me. This EP touches a lot on my belief that I needed validation from people I admire in order to approve of myself. It was something I learned about myself while writing this EP and writing it out helped a lot with my growth away from that belief.

Photo: Ryan Faist

You took a big step by taking a step back on acting and focusing on your music, what influenced that decision and how would you describe the journey so far?

Having both was getting to be really overwhelming. It felt like I had one foot in each door and was half-in on both pursuits. When Princesses Don’t Cry started growing, I took that as a sign to commit fully to music for a while and see what could come from that. I’m glad I did because it helped me integrate more discipline into my life. I am back to doing both now and feel a lot more balanced after taking a break. It has also reignited my passion for acting which has inspired me to work harder at it.

As we make our way to the new year what are some of your key focuses or goals for 2021? 

Be kind to myself. Trust the process. One step at a time. I think after this year it’s important to take each day as it comes. I’ve been really inspired lately to write after lacking motivation for a long time so I definitely want to get some new music out in 2021!

Are there any projects you’re planning to release to close out this year or to kickstart 2021?

Nothing concrete yet but we’re in the writing stage for the next CARYS project and it’s all starting to come together which is making me so excited to release music again. I also have some tv/film projects I was apart of coming out in 2021 so stay tuned for that!

Stream ‘To Anyone Like Me’ by CARYS:

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