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Michaela Slinger – “Insensitive” (Jann Arden)

Port Moody resident Michaela Slinger will tell you that she has been singing before she could talk, even performing the anthem at an NBA game at age three. A passion for storytelling soon caught up to that natural desire to perform, which she now combines with synth-pop and upbeat dance grooves that retain a little bit of that subdued singer-songwriter flair. She is currently gearing up for the release of a new EP in spring 2023.

What was your first live music experience?
My first performance was the national anthem. That was my first experience of singing for a crowd and having people applaud—hooked instantly. In terms of my first experience witnessing live music that impacted me, it was probably watching local musicals in my hometown with Lindbjerg Academy, where I later went on to do theatre. Also, I saw Hilary Duff, Christina Aguilera, and the Pussycat Dolls all in concert by age 12. Formative stuff.

When did you realize you wanted to be a performer?
Probably from the time I realized I could do things in front of people—whether it was singing, dancing, telling jokes—and getting a reaction. It was a very early inclination.

Who are some of your biggest female-identifying inspirations?
These questions stress me out. I’ll forget people! Okay, in the last two months or so, here’s a highlight reel. Musicians: Caroline Polachek, Joni Mitchell, Beyonce, HAIM, SZA, Ashe, Madison Cunningham, Remi Wolf. Writers: Jia Tolentino and Jenny Offill. And then, of course, the close women around me: my mom, sister, best friends, grandmothers, and so on.

What are your memories of the Women & Songs compilation series?
I absorbed this kind of cutting, honest, humorous, late 90s songwriting into my psyche as a kid. It’s timeless.

Why did you choose the song you covered for this project?
My mom and I spent a lot of time together in the car, her shuttling me to various activities, me inevitably changing from a dance leotard to soccer uniform or vice versa in the backseat. One of Jann Arden’s live in concert CDs was in heavy rotation throughout these childhood commutes, and I loved laughing along to her storytelling in between songs like ‘Insensitive’ with my mom—I found her easy oscillation between the humorous and the devastating to be captivating. Listening to this CD really shaped the way I create my own live performance. I love to make people laugh between songs.