Interview: Sean Nicholas Savage embodies his inner light on “Shine”


Canadian-born, multi-hyphenated Sean Nicholas Savage rediscovers the intricate magic of loving and existing on his latest album, “Shine.”
Stream: ‘Shine’ – Sean Nicholas Savage


I write quite intimately, because that’s where I feel like I really know what I’m talking about.

Shine – Sean Nicholas Savage

Oith 15 records over a 15-year span, 2010s indie icon Sean Nicholas Savage remains a source of emotional ingenuity. From his profession as a playwright to his collaboration with Solange, he always intended to roam freely and reimagine sprawling creative landscapes. Even through one of the darkest periods of his life (and contemporary existence in general), he managed to pierce the depths of grief to create something truly sparkling, much like the cover of his latest exit.

As scintillating as its namesake, the Mac Demarco product Shine is a collection of some of Savage’s most moving, poignant and soaring vocals to date. It’s a larger-than-life pop ballad that strikes a balance between gently enveloping mourning and pure reverence for life’s innate pain and beauty.

While it no doubt evokes the amorous RnB jams of the past, Savage’s idiosyncratic touch takes each song into a realm of its own. Several months after traveling through dark downtown Boise, we caught up with him about his thoughts on the record, his creative process, and more.

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:: flow/purchase Shine here ::

Sean Nicholas Savage © Sophie Prettyman-Beauchamp
Sean Nicholas Savage © Sophie Prettyman-Beauchamp

A CONVERSATION WITH SEAN NICHOLAS SAVAGE

Shine - Sean Nicholas Savage

Atwood Magazine: you described Shine as “an album on the history that lives within us”. How would you describe the story in you, or at least the story in you when you were making the record?

Sean Nicolas Savage: What I meant by that is a bit like walking rather than talking. It’s like a belief or faith that there’s more to each of us than is expressed or documented, and to see that in others – also just to see that in yourself, or whatever. As for me, I think you can’t talk about this thing, so it’s really impossible for me to say. It’s my soul, maybe. I think the music on the album is closer to sharing than I could here with words.

This record accentuates the melodramatic emotional highs and lows of your lyrical content with lush production and melodies inspired by 90s pop. What made you return to the hits of your childhood?

Sean Nicolas Savage: I write quite intimately, because that’s where I feel like I really know what I’m talking about. That’s where the biggest things I can be sure of, the most sincere, you know? So it tends to tap into the past, as it’s easier to see the ups and downs of one’s life by looking back on them. I wasn’t trying to go back or do a 90s thing with the production, but maybe it’s in the songwriting. I’m mostly working from a pretty zoomed out place, so the past is going to come back a bit, but I was really thinking about the future with these songs as well as the previous album.

Sean Nicholas Savage © Sophie Prettyman-Beauchamp
Sean Nicholas Savage © Sophie Prettyman-Beauchamp
Sean Nicholas Savage © Sophie Prettyman-Beauchamp
Sean Nicholas Savage © Sophie Prettyman-Beauchamp

After a difficult time in your life, what have you rediscovered about love by healing and creating Shine?

Sean Nicolas Savage: I learned about hope and the power of the little things in life, good and bad. About letting yourself float through these sometimes nauseating, even sickening changes that come to take you to a new place, [to become] maybe more than you ever knew.

You recently launched your new musical The fear. Are there any overlaps or juxtapositions of themes between that and Shine?

Sean Nicolas Savage: The two are separated, and there was a bigger gap between them than usual between projects. They are very different, as are the intentions of the two. I would describe one as watery and spiritual, and the other as paranoid black.

Sean Nicholas Savage © Sophie Prettyman-Beauchamp
Sean Nicholas Savage © Sophie Prettyman-Beauchamp

How would you consider Shine as a theatrical work?

Sean Nicolas Savage: Hmm, I’m not sure that would work! I’m not a fan of albums turned into musicals. It’s supposed to be a record at sea or by the ocean, and I’m about to start a musical that takes place at the bottom of the ocean. I guess it’s the whole Earth, in the end.

Creatively and personally, what do you turn to next?

Sean Nicolas Savage: I’m very excited to write more musicals and plays, perform them and share them. Telling stories and reflecting on characters, worlds and dynamics is what I personally and creatively find more exciting than almost anything else in life.

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:: flow/purchase Shine here ::

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Shine - Sean Nicholas Savage

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📸 © Sophie Prettyman-Beauchamp

:: Flow Sean Nicolas Savage ::


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