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STACEY's 'First Move' is The Self Care Mantra You Didn't Know You Needed

Toronto may be the definitive source of new rap these days—aside from ATL, of course—but let’s not forget the city’s softer side (yes, it exists). At its sweet, sultry helm? STACEY, the rising Canadian artist whose knack for heartfelt lyrics and a thematic nod to self care (it doesn’t get much more lovingly blunt than “It’ll Be Alright”) has us anxious for more. It’s not all smiles from this songstress, though; shit gets real on STACEY’s new First Move EP, and she lays it all bare, inviting her listener to buck up and confront raw emotion as she tells it like it is (in the most delectable fashion, of course).

Simply put, we’ve fallen in love with STACEY’s M.O., and we’re not alone; it seems this artist is making waves (up north, and elsewhere).

Well, I was just watching the video for “It Will Be Alright” and I loved it so much. It was so dreamy and kind of hazy. Can you tell us about how you brought the song to life with those visuals? What made you decide to pair it with a road trip?

I think the song is really about getting away, overcoming something, and finding a place of comfort. I wrote the song back in LA and that’s what the place was for me at that time. So, I felt like I had to go back and shoot it there. It was like this place away from home, especially during the winter. And I generally just love vintage vibe. I love shooting on super 8 film because it is so unique. It also forces you to think in a different way. You have five rolls of film and each roll is three minutes of footage. How are you going to make a story out of 15 minutes of film? I just think it’s a really interesting way of doing things especially since everything is hyper and realistic and digital these days. I’m having a kind of reaction away from that, a little bit. I know my director, she really loves Hitchcock. There are like some references in there from her in terms of the driving shots. I watched some of the works she was pulling from and I was like, “Oh my God, this makes so much sense!”

I also just want a number of looks from stuff that I had. I sometimes joke how my music career is just a way to justify my shopping habit. [Laughs] I mean, I need this for my music video!

And was that message of “It’s gonna be okay,” a message for yourself or more broadly?

When I wrote it it came through as a message for myself, but it funny how it was almost kind of an out of body experience. I’m always the kind of person offering that to other people and rarely do it for myself. So, I just stepped out of myself and wondered, “What would I say to someone who wasn’t me?” That’s how it came through.

The purpose for music for me is to always create this connection and comfort for people that’s listening. You hear all these stories and go through different emotions and it’s healful because it’s relatable. In turn, it’s for other people.

I know that just came off of the EP that just came out so congrats on releasing that!

Thank you very much!

And can you comment on if there’s a common thread or a narrative entwined within it?

It’s really just a snapshot of things I went though within a two and a half year period of my life. Most of it is different parts of a romantic journey that are not necessarily linear. “It Will Be Alright” is like the “life” song.

That’s applicable to everything else?

Totally! Meanwhile everything else is just a comment on romantic scenarios that reflect on me. It’s really consuming for me when I’m interested in someone. Either they’re like into it or not, either way, it can be so encompassing and it’s all you can think about. Those are the moments I’m just sitting down at the piano trying to capture that feeling.

Where were you mentally and emotionally when writing the EP?

It’s funny because when you just start to like someone and you’re not sure where it’s gonna go, I wavered between really negative and really positive. So, daydreaming is so hopeful and you’re thinking of this person like, “Oh, this is so great.”

And then you get to know them and you’re like, “Shit!

Yeah! And then there are other times that is like “Trouble” which is a really dark song…

I love that one.

Aw thanks! Yeah, everything in that song, the imagery and all, is real. That was the journey of one date where this person was totally stringing me along. And I hate myself because I’m there for them every single time. And I wonder why do I still like this person? They’re kinda treating me like crap.  

It’s really human nature to want affection, even when it comes from an unhealthy place.

Isn’t that so bizarre? So, I just think of that song and it just tumbled out. You can kind of hear that in the phrasing of the lyrics, especially in the chorus. It was just me getting the words out. And your heart is in it, but in your head you’re like, “I know what’s going on…why are you doing this?”

Maybe that’s why I like it because it’s so organic and, obviously, relatable. It’s kind of like the saying “love is blind,” which is a cliché, but it’s so true.

It’s so true. That song, honestly, makes me question myself when I listen back to it. When I finally grabbed it out of the air and had it I wondered, “Am I subsciously masochistic?” Because I’m doing this to myself. Am I purposely putting myself in these situations without realizing it?

What I get out of it is that I should never trust myself [Laughs]

I know! [Laughs] And, in terms of wavering, you come back to nice territory and it’s exciting! It’s kinda unresolved and weaves between your mental state.

So, now that the EP is out, are you able to look back at your life objectively or are you taken right back to those moments?

The songs take me back to the moments, for sure. The imagery I used was was happened. When I listen to the song I can feel how I felt. When I think back wondering if I’d act differently… I don’t know. It’s been a long time—these songs are like two years or something—so it’s been a little while since I’ve thrown myself into these chaotic romantic scenarios. Am I’m like, “Am I the same? I might just be the same!” I don’t know if I’ve learned the lessons yet. I really don’t know how I’ll react the next time I’m in the same scenario.

So now that the EP is out, what are you up to?

I’m kind of jumping around to different cities. So I played LA, now I’m here in New York, might play a show back in Toronto next week. And then I’m going back to LA in October. A full tour isn’t locked in, but I would love to! I just quit my job on Friday—

Oh, congrats!

Thanks! Yeah I’m pretty spooked but it feels like the right time.

What are you most looking forward to now that the EP is out?

I think playing the songs more and getting to hear what people think of it. You get into a weird little bubble when you’ve been sitting on these same five songs for two years and I made the EP and scrapped it and you just kind of lose sense of what they are. So it’s cool to talk to people who have listened to it who are like, “Same!” That’s one of my favorite things about it. And just to start the writing process again to be honest. I miss it. I just love sitting down and playing the piano and writing songs. So I’m excited to dedicate some more time to that.

Stay tuned to Milk for more from Canada’s finest.

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