Lady Gaga

Better Half: Sykamore Feature and 5 Quick Questions

2018 is just getting started, but Sykamore is already in a groove.

The 26 year old country music singer/songwriter from Carseland, Alberta has a brand new EP, Self + Medicine, her first music video (Better Half) has been released, and Jordan Oström is taking it all in as she prepares for what comes next.

We caught up with Sykamore on the phone to talk about her music and more – and we already can’t wait until we get to do it again… in person.

The first thing we talked about was the release of Self + Medicine, and what it’s felt like for the young artist. Sykamore told us that the album had a series of potential release dates that lead to the official release on January 5, 2018… and that because of the three or four times she thought it was going to come out before, she feels really good that it truly is now out to the world.

While we talked about the EP, we asked if there were any points of inspiration (from people or experiences) that shaped her writing. We learned that the songs from Self + Medicine were written over the period of a few years, with no singular point of outside inspiration connecting them. However, she did tell us that she feels they are connected, that they all share her point of view, her vantage point of the human experience and how she’s processed people and events in her life.

Two of the songs on this new EP have already lived a life to early fans of Sykamore’s music. Houseboat and Better Half have already been released as singles, nearing a combined 250,000 spins on Spotify. But now, with their inclusion in this releases, they’re getting a second life. We asked about it, and Jordan told us that she’s especially seeing that with Better Half. The EP release and the music video have combined to put the April 2017 single back in front of people, and they’ve been responding with wonderful positivity. She told us that she’s frequently seeing tweets and messages from people shouting out the track and sharing it with their social circles.

As we talked about Better Half, we talked about the music video. Sykamore still sounds almost surprised that this is her first official video, but she certainly sounds happy with the way it turned out.

She told us that she always knew she wanted to wait until everything was able to come together to make a video the right way. She didn’t want to cut corners or rush the process, and so when the small and passionate team came together to make the video for Better Half, it was done the right way. And over two days they shot, with an airplane, motorcycle, and a bad ass car to create the visual spectacle she wanted to present to the world.

We also talked about what comes next, as this project sees the light and hits the public. And for Sykamore, that means it’s time to start working on the next one. She told us that she’s chomping at the bit to get moving on what comes after this 2018 EP. That she’s ready, and that part of her will always feel like the reason you release an album is so that you can make the next album.

And when we asked what she sees when she thinks about those songs and that next album, she told us that she hopes to take a chance, to present and share something that people haven’t seen and heard from her before. As an artist, it’s clear that Sykamore wants to push herself, to see what she’s capable of and how far she can go. This isn’t about finding and staying in a comfort zone – and we’re sure we’ll see that reflected in the next new music from the Calgary-based performer.

While we had Sykamore on the line, we got her to play a round of 5 Quick Questions with us – a sequel to her first round during 2016’s Canadian Country Music Week in London, ON.

5 Quick Questions with Sykamore

Q1: First song you performed in front of an audience?

Sykamore: You Are My Sunshine
– Jordan told us that she sang the song when she was about 4 years old at a family reunion, thanks to her grandparents pride in the talent of their grandchildren.

Q2: First album you bought?

Sykamore: The Road To El Dorado soundtrack.
– As a big fan of Elton John, the album purchase made a ton of sense to her.

Q3: Dream duet partner?

Sykamore: Lady Gaga and Florence Welch (Florence + The Machine)
– After their collaboration on Hey Girl from Gaga’s latest album, Joanne, Sykamore has both of these talented women on her list.

Q4: Favourite place on earth to be?

Sykamore: The family farm at home in Alberta.
– She was worried about this seeming like a lame answer, but with some very understandable perspective she explained that the more she’s away the more she appreciates going home to the familiar and calm and happy place.

Q5: Artist you think people should be listening to?

Sykamore: Leaving Thomas.
– Sykamore singled out the Calgary duo for their sound as well as their social media presence. And we wholeheartedly agree with her recommendation that you check out the LT Show on YouTube, featuring Sue-Z. AND we think you should be ready for their self-titled debut EP coming January 26, 2018.

Related: 5 Quick Questions with Sykamore at Canadian Country Music Week 2016

Self + Medicine isn’t the only big thing that’s happened recently for Sykamore…

In mid-November 2017, Jordan announced that she’d been signed to Home Team Publishing, joining Rhett Akins, Thomas Rhett, and other hit makers to hone her skills and keep pushing herself as a writer.

We talked about how it all came to be, and the “followed a tweet to Nashville” story, asking for a little longer tale than that, and Sykamore helped fill it out for us. She told us that she had followed Rhett Akins on Twitter, and he followed her back, which sounds simple enough, and cool when you think about her as an emerging artist and him as a successful writer and singer. After that Rhett listened to some of Jordan’s music that she had tweeted out and had online, he sent her a DM (she told us that she thought she might be getting catfished at first) and invited her down to Nashville to meet and talk music.

After she was convinced that it was for real, she made the trip, went to Akin’s house, saw all of the dead animals on the wall, and they started talking about songwriting. He told her he wanted to help her grow as a songwriter (talent recognizes talent) and after more time and more conversations, Sykamore was signed to Home Team Publishing.

Sykamore told us that it’s been really cool to work with Home Team. That it’s been amazing to go to Nashville and be surrounded and supported by these prolific and talented and successful writers. She told us that it’s humbling to be in the room and watch what they do, to see how they accomplish things. And, that she’s learning and doing her best to act like a sponge, soaking in all of the knowledge that these colleagues and mentors have to share about the craft.

To finish up our call and conversation we asked more about what comes next in the form of shows, writing, plans, goals and more.

We learned that plans are being made for the next single release from Self + Medicine (but we aren’t allowed to know what it is yet), and that Sykamore hopes to be on a bunch of stages this summer to play her new songs for country music fans. We also learned that when it comes to goals, she has two sets.

The artistic goals, the ones that Jordan wants to keep in mind every time she’s working on music, include being vulnerable, taking chances, and pushing herself to see what new things she can write about and connect with listeners on.

The career goals include some big ones (we love ‘em) that include playing at The Opry and the Ryman Auditorium, as well as headlining her own tour(s) as her career progresses.

The last thing we asked Sykamore was if she had any final thoughts she wanted to leave with readers and listeners, and she told us that most of all she hopes that people listen to the new music and like it – that they find a connection point and can feel the music.

We like that. That’s what music is about. So hit play and listen to Self + Medicine now and find your connection.

Stay up to date with Sykamore online (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for all of the important updates to come…


Five Favourite Things That Happened on the Grammys

First I’m going to start by saying, last night’s Grammys show was a long one. It wasn’t perfect but it didn’t need to be. James Cordon did a good job as host and I honestly wasn’t sure when he started with his entrance, if it was for real or not. And then he rolled down the stairs removing all doubt that this was a bit.

There were many great moments throughout the night and I’m going to give you my top five favourite things that happened on the Grammys.

1. Chance The Rapper was joined by Kirk Franklin, Francis and the Lights, Tamela Mann, and a huge gospel choir giving us a heart felt performance that left me moved.

Nominated for seven awards including Best Rap Album for Coloring Book which beat out albums by Kanye, Drake, and De La Soul. A change to the rules last year made Coloring Book eligible as a streaming only entry. Chance also picked up
Best Rap Performance for No Problem, and Best New Artist.

2. Twenty One Pilots collect their Grammy wearing no pants. For all the artists who remember where they came from, the boys took it to another level.

3. In what might be, quite possibly the most political statement on the Grammy stage, the legendary hip-hop act A Tribe Called Quest teamed up with Anderson .Paak (and Busta Rhymes and Consequence) to give us some classics, Can I Kick It? and Award Tour and some new material, Movin Backwards and We the People. Energy filled and straight to the point with their statement on the failed Muslim ban from “President Agent Orange”. To emphasize their point, groups of people of many ethnicities were brought up onto the Grammy stage, ending the performance with Q-Tip shouting “resist!”, their message is clear.

4. And in the “Performance That Made Me Cry” category, John Legend and Cynthia Erivo singing The Beach Boys, God Only Knows during the In Memoriam portion. They delivered a moving version of the song which perfectly framed the long list of people we lost in the last year.

5. Adele for so many things! Her opening performance, her George Michael start and stop, her acceptance speeches and so much more! Even with an on air curse, she’s a classy lady and I love her.

In the honourary mentions category:

Kelsea Ballerini and Lukas Graham performing a mashup of Peter Pan and 7 Years. I’ve read that some people didn’t get it, I’m not in that camp. I loved this performance and thought they blended the two songs beautifully.

Metallica and Lady Gaga it was interesting and fun! I wouldn’t want to be the person who was responsible for James’ mic failure.

Did I miss your favourite? Tells us about it.

Lady Gaga Takes On The Super Bowl LI Half-Time Show

We’re heading into Super Bowl LI with an eye on Lady Gaga. Yeah, it’s a big game but we’re not here to predict the game, we’re here to talk about the half-time show!

Last year Gaga stepped up to sing the National Anthem and landed herself in the top 10 all-time performances. This year she’s taking the stage at half-time and the rumours are flying! Will she be joined by Beyoncé or maybe Tony Bennett? Will she turn her performance into a political message? Will she start her performance on the roof of the stadium? Will she announce a tour in support of her fifth studio album, Joanne, after the Super Bowl? We’ll find out all the answers later today.

My thoughts? Guest artist or not Gaga is going to kill this performance. The multi-Grammy winning artist has a great catalogue to draw from and we’re hoping that she plays some of our favourites. My best guess, she will include Million Reasons, are we placing bets on this stuff? I’m also finding hard to believe she won’t say something political, come on guys, it’s Gaga! Now onto the roof, there’s rain in the forecast so I’m going to say no to this one. Will she make a tour announcement, 100% yes!

So what can we expect from the 12 minute Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show? Straight from Gaga’s lips, we can anticipate a tremendously athletic performance.

Just in time for this huge performance Lady Gaga has released some new merch,  this is a perfect marketing opportunity and the new merch is awesome!

You can get ready for tonight’s performance with The Essentials Playlist.

I’m excited and I can hardly wait! Bring it, Gaga. We’re counting on a spectacle!

While you’re waiting for the game to get started, enter our contest. We’re giving away a Boots and Hearts prize for Luke Bryan’s National Anthem over/under 2:15. RT with your pick. One correct bet will win!

EDIT – We’ve got the full version of the Half-Time Performance!

thereviewsarein.com Playlist: Joshua’s Karaoke Classics!

In 2017 we have a goal of sharing some awesome playlists with you. Playlists curated by artists and friends from the music industry, and for festivals, and just because we believe in the power and importance of sharing music. So to get us started we have a playlist from Joshua…

If you know Josh, you know he loves karaoke. So here we are with some of his personal karaoke classics. You will get some country and some rock and roll. You will get some old and some new. But more importantly, you’ll get 20 songs that he’s sung live, in front of a crowd, with a microphone in one hand and maybe a drink in the other.

1. The Weight – The Band
2. Rain Down On Me – Blue Rodeo
3. Mr. Brightside – The Killers
4. What Was I Thinkin’ – Dierks Bentley
5. Brian Wilson – Barenaked Ladies
6. Take Your Time – Sam Hunt
7. Everlong – Foo Fighters
8. Tennessee Whiskey – Chris Stapleton
9. Love Yourself – Justin Bieber
10. You And I – Lady Gaga
11. Whiskey Girl – Toby Keith
12. Hey There Delilah – Plain White T’s
13. Chicken Fried – Zac Brown Band
14. No Sugar Tonight – The Guess Who
15. If You Could Only See – Tonic
16. Boys ‘Round Here – Blake Shelton ft. The Pistol Annies & Friends
17. Somebody Like You – Keith Urban
18. I’m The Only One – Melissa Ethridge
19. Get Me Some Of That – Thomas Rhett
20. Total Eclipse Of The Heart – Bonnie Tyler

And because we know Joshua isn’t the only one out there that likes to kick it at karaoke, we want you to leave a comment with your favourite karaoke jams. There just might a prize up for grabs!

Joshua at Karaoke in Ottawa, July 2007.

Joshua’s birthday karaoke in Toronto, February 2014.

1 year ago
Scroll to top