Photo: Julian Lomaga

Katie Tupper keeps odd company in the video for biting soul-folk wonder “Danny”

Growing up in the isolated expanse of Saskatoon, Canada, singer-songwriter Katie Tupper began her musical education at an early age, using piano lessons as an outlet for various creative impulses. She would go on to tour the United States as part of a marching band when she was just 14. After high school, she developed a relationship with the local Saskatoon art community before heading out in search of her own voice.

With the release of her debut EP Towards the End – out February 18 via Arts & Crafts – it seems that her search has finally ended. Filled with neo-soul balladry, folk introspection, and some pop experimentation to fill in the remaining spaces, this 5-track collection is a study in contrasts, using gentle melodies and lyrics of varying acidities to explore the depths of her own experiences. There’s a confidence here, a sense that Tupper has constructed these songs without fear of possible divergence. Each moment is impeccably molded, emotions perfectly frozen for examination.

With the release of “Danny”, the latest single from Towards the End, she blends electronic pop flourishes and sweeping orchestral embellishments with the mesmerizing movements of her voice, a gorgeous thing that sings of emotional deconstruction and the struggles we face at the end of long relationship.

’Danny’ is about the biggest breakup I’ve, thankfully, ever had to go through,” Tupper explains. “I was with a guy for a handful of years, most of which I was just hoping that something would happen that would give me an excuse to break up with him. Turns out, when you’re in a long-term relationship and looking for a way out the entire time you build bad habits for all relationships to follow! Who would’ve thought!

She continues: “‘Danny’ is a reflection on that relationship and asking how I’m supposed to move forward in my life with these poor habits stamped into my brain. The music video brought that idea to life in a colourful expedition for closure.

Directed by Mashie Alam, the video finds Tupper wandering through wooded areas, rivers, and mountainous terrain – all while dragging a blank-faced mannequin along with her. Befitting the song’s exploration of a one-sided relationship, the visuals provide a physical manifestation of the weight that she has been carrying around with her. It’s both slightly humorous and somewhat acerbic, as it illuminates the struggle to push on when our past or present seems intent on dragging us down. Tupper and Alam develop a visual equilibrium wherein Tupper has the opportunity to press on if she wants or opt to jettison the unnecessary burden with which she finds herself saddled. It’s an apt and compelling visualization of these complicated internal conflagrations.

Katie Tupper’s debut EP Towards the End is due for release on February 18 via Arts & Crafts. Keep up with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.