Kelly McMichael Gets Resilient in New Album ‘Waves’

Always working for other artists’ projects, musician Kelly McMichael was just about ready to give up on her own dreams of music-making.

But then Waves happened.

The Canadian indie rocker has played around in multiple bands for most of her life, was a session musician, and even became a teacher. She also plays music for other artistic platforms like theater. McMichael is currently located in Newfoundland, Canada working as a musician in a play about a whale rescuer.

Though she’s been writing her own music since she was a teen, she let her personal projects fall to the side. This May, however, McMichael released her debut full-length album Waves and put every part of herself out there for the world to hear.

“I had given up on pushing my own music career,” McMichael tells BTRtoday. “I was playing with other people and didn’t have much of a chance to give my own songs that much attention. So I almost just gave up on my music stuff and became a teacher, but then I fell back into it and ended up getting some funding to make this album and I found a really amazing band and so it was like I was gone but then I got turned back on again.”

The track “Love Is On Now” on the debut LP perfectly sums up that feeling McMichael describes with the line, “it was on, and I was gone, but now it’s on/ it was off, and I was gone, but now it’s on.” She had lost inspiration and motivation but was able to find it again and put even more strength into her art.

Kelly McMichael “Out the Window”

“I think resilience is the biggest theme of the album,” she says. “You go through a rough patch and then you come out of it; you have some good stuff or some really good stuff happening and bad stuff happening at the same time—you can’t really have the good stuff without the bad stuff, so it’s about accepting all of it.”

Waves is a piece of McMichael’s heart, accompanied by catchy indie-rock melodies. Energetic pop hooks paired with edgy distorted instrumentation give off a rock ‘n’ roll foundation, but with a fresh and hip vibe. McMichael sings about introspective subjects that address her struggles and triumphs in life.

“I wanted to represent myself, my best stuff, [so] I think to put my full heart into it I needed to do the more personal stuff that was more vulnerable,” she says. “But I think there’s some genuine artistic expression going on when it’s personal and vulnerable—I wanted to show that.”

Though she doesn’t currently have any touring planned, she hopes to have some soon. In the meantime, hear the entire interview with Kelly McMichael and her debut album Waves in this week’s episode of The Music Meetup.