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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Michelle Creber

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Congrats on your album and music video! You’re so productive during quarantine,
how has it been for you?
Thank you for having me! The last couple months have definitely been unusual but I consider
myself to be very lucky. I have been able to do most of my work from home and have been in
constant communication with all of my friends and family across the globe! For a household that
is centered around live shows and recording sessions and film set days, it definitely took some
adjusting for us Crebers, but I think we’re all happy to have some more time to breathe, get
outside and reset.

Tell us more about your brand new video for “Welcome To Reality,” what inspired
the song?
Welcome to Reality didn’t involve a long writing process, it really was one of those songs that
came together in a day. I had that salsa-esque/syncopated piano part stuck in my head for a few
weeks but as soon as I absentmindedly improved the first line “check off that box, Monday is
done” everything else fell into place. I wanted the song to encompass that often intangible
feeling we have in daily life – that the days are just rolling by and it’s hard to know how to cope
with time, uncertainty and not knowing the answers to endless, universal questions. It’s
surprisingly one of my most philosophical songs, hidden in a fun, upbeat track haha!

 

What music have you been listening to or rediscovering?
I mostly have been listening to Top 40 pop music during quarantine. I think partially because
my own sound is for the most part, singer-songwriter/band based, so it’s a little less redundant
for my ears to play electronic pop. I also just really enjoy a good electronic bass line. That being
said, if I’m not in the middle of finishing an album, I love listening to artists like Sara Bareilles,
Ingrid Michaelson and Sleeping At Last.

Also, your previous video for “Like It Never Happened” is stunning and such a
fresh idea, how did the concept come about?
Thank you! I was actually very pleased with how that one turned out. I was always envisioning a
music video involving dance because I felt like the song really called for it. Of course the plan
was to do a choreographed video with all those incredible dancers and a big crew and a great in-
person location but alas, we adapt! Although it would have been great to collaborate together,
there is something so meaningful about seeing everyone dancing in their respective locations, improvising and making the song their own. It really matches the theme and the emotion of the
song.

How is the process different when releasing an album during quarantine?
I think the digital aspects (i.e. social media, posting videos, general promotion) are very similar,
but certainly the lack of live shows is uncharted territory. When everything was unfolding with
the virus a few months ago, my whole team lost a month of production while we were all sorting
our lives out. Squishing everything into the remaining time frame was overwhelming, but to be
honest it was pretty great timing. The challenges acted as such a good distraction from the
isolation and the stress, and really gave me a mission. Ultimately I went ahead with releasing it
because I felt like the themes aligned perfectly with the current emotions so many people are
feeling. My hope was that the music could be an outlet of healing for the listeners, and so far I
am incredibly honoured and moved by the response!

Storm is out now, how did you go about creating the tracklist/order?
Normally, the track list of an album is one of the last things I think about. With Storm, however,
I really wanted to have it nailed down ahead of time. Especially since Storm is a semi concept
album, I knew the order was going to be crucial. “Storm” was always going to be the first track
and then “So Nice” was specifically written to be the final track. Once you have tops and tails, it’s
easier to fill in the blanks!

The album artwork is stunning with the red jacket and lighthouse, how much
creative input do you have when it comes to your visuals? How did this idea come
to be?
I like to be very involved in every step of the process. I am a big believer that you can’t possibly
direct someone else to do something creative for you if you haven’t in some way, done it or
witnessed it yourself. I found the storm hurricane image online and contacted “Dalton Portella”
who’s name was watermarked in the corner. Turned out he was a major composite
editor/photographer based in Montauk on the east end of Long Island, NY. We worked out an
agreement to use his photos for the album. My graphic designer Len was then the one who said
we should have a colour that pops in front of the dark storm. He sent me a mockup with
someone wearing a red raincoat and thus, the RED theme was born. Definitely a collaborative
effort from start to finish!

Is there a lyric you’re most proud of?
I am proud of how much imagery and story I was able to condense into the short and concise
verses of “Crossroads”. I feel like that’s a song everyone always says they can “see” when they
listen to it. I’m also proud of many lyrics from the song “False Empire” (mercenary fraud, broke
all moral laws to earn reward for bad behaviour…checkers in chess by hopping the mess, and
working the ladder by stepping on any head). I worked hard on that song to say simple things
with complex and unique analogies.

This is your seventh studio album, if you could choose one song to represent each
album as a whole, which would they be?
LOVE that question! Let’s see…
Storm – Storm
On Display – It’s Gonna Turn Around
Getting Stronger – Getting Stronger
Timeless – Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
A Creber Christmas – Petit Papa Noel
Tribute – Tweet It
At Home – Adventure

You’re involved in Kids Help Phone, what made you get into that and how did you
discover the organization?
I have always been a big advocate for mental health and was trying to find more ways to get
involved a few years ago. I had a longstanding connection with one of the executives at Kids
Help Phone and we ended up reconnecting in person around the exact same time they were
starting to ramp up their ambassador searches. I was introduced to the team and we clicked
right away. All of the organization’s core values aligned with mine, not only as a person but as an
artist. It’s been a true honour working alongside them for the past couple of years!

What else can fans expect from you in the coming months?
Definitely some more live-streamed concerts on my Youtube channel! I was performing every
Saturday leading up to the Storm album and now that I’ve had a little time to recoup, I am excited to start those up again. I’ll also be releasing some summer singles, and some new voice
over/Film and TV projects are coming up! Most importantly, I am looking forward to
reconnecting with all of the wonderful people in my life as we slowly start to safely reopen here
in Vancouver, Canada 🙂

Jacklyn is the Editor In Chief of Stage Right Secrets. Jacklyn's photography and articles can also be found on The Recording Academy's GRAMMY.com GRAMMYPro, GRAMMYU, PopCrush, Taste of Country, among other outlets. Besides press Jacklyn is a "Jack of All Trades" working various jobs at local concerts and touring.