Sarah Jickling can’t tell wrong from right in her new lyric video and single Villain — debuting exclusively on Tinnitist.
Darkly textured and deeply personal, the electro-fuelled confessional is the second single from the Vancouver singer-songwriter’s new album The Family Curse, set for release Nov. 8. The LP finds Jickling exploring mental illness within families and intergenerational trauma, and documents her childhood experiences with revelations about her family’s history of bipolar disorder. Villain taps into a particularly destructive time in Sarah’s life.
“There was a period in my life where I felt like I was watching myself from far away, totally out of control,” says Jickling. “Depression and anger had turned me into someone I didn’t recognize, and I remember thinking over and over, ‘this time I’m the villain.’ I had a habit of smashing all of the dishes in my house, so for this song we used samples of actual plates smashing as percussion. I worked on this song with Laura Smith (Rococode), Carol Lynne Quinn (High Love) and Greg McLeod, and they all pushed me to go places that were scary and uncomfortable at first but ultimately powerful.”
In her music, Jickling marries shimmering pop melodies to sharp, candid lyrics about her struggles with bipolar disorder. As a touring performer in B.C. high schools with the Schizophrenia Society’s Reach Out Psychosis program, she uses music and humour as a tool to deliver practical, destigmatizing education about mental illness. In her newest creative practice, pole dancing and aerial silks, Sarah has turned a coping mechanism into a venue for conversations about shame and body positivity.
Sarah’s many artistic projects all orbit around the main project of survival. Whether in conversation, performance, writing or dance, her voice rings through loud and clear as a fierce force for empathy and change. Her first solo album, 2017’s When I Get Better, recorded her journey through bipolar recovery — not an unflinching, insipid inspiration-anthem, but a nuanced, smart, brutally honest account that embraces every flinch as part of the struggle.
Villain will be released on Spotify, Apple Music/iTunes and other digital retailers and streaming services on Friday, Aug. 23. But you can watch it right now, right here. Check it out above and connect with Sarah Jickling via her website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.