- Stef Lang tour kick-off, with special guests, including Hilary Grist, Colin Bullock and Brock Zanrosso, Sunday, April 1 at Joe's Apartment, 919 Granville St., Vancouver. Doors: 7 p.m. Show: 8 p.m. Tickets: $10 through the featured artists' social media, or $12 at the door. Info: www.steflang.ca.
TO pen the songs on her new EP, Fighting Mirrors, singer-songwriter Stef Lang needed some space.
"Over the last year I had been dealing with a lot of internal struggles with where I wanted to be in terms of music and the message that I wanted to portray," says Lang, 23. "I suffered from a little bit of writer's block."
So she packed up her guitar and recording gear and spent a month in the woods of Quadra Island in fall 2011.
After growing up in Ladysmith, Lang moved to Vancouver at age 17 to pursue a career as a recording artist. Her commercial debut, 2010's The Underdog, was nominated for Pop Recording of The Year at the 2011 Western Canadian Music Awards, and its first single, "Mr. Immature," hit No. 5 on the Billboard Canadian Emerging Artist chart.
The stint on Quadra provided her with an opportunity to gain some much-needed perspective and experiment with different musical elements.
"Fighting Mirrors, the whole EP, just kind of resembles my internal struggle that I had with coming to terms with who I wanted to be," says Lang.
She produced two of its songs herself, "Armour" and "Killin' My Soul."
"The record really came from a painful place for me and it was a tough one to bring into the world I think," she says. "But I'm really happy with it. I'm happy that I could be 100 per cent on board and in control of what I was doing."
Lang worked with a production team in Vancouver on Fighting Mirrors' other two tracks, "Bullet Train" and first single "Paper Doll," which is getting radio play and is currently under consideration at MuchMusic.
"It's all about image and how you portray yourself and things that are on the surface and wanting to find a deeper meaning in yourself and who you are," she says of the song.
Not only did Lang take a different approach to songwriting with the album, she also took a risk with its release. Fighting Mirrors is currently available for free digital download on her website.
"Everything's about access now," she says. "I kind of wanted to just roll with the nature of music and the way that it's going and to be able to come out and give something to my fans. That way they can enjoy it easily and they can share it easily"
Fiercely committed to her craft, Lang remains focused on propelling her career forward and reaching new audiences, a means of continuing to move people with her music.
"I think at the end of the day, that's the mission, you want to find truth in your music but also make a difference," says Lang.
She's set to play Joe's Apartment in Vancouver April 1, kicking off a tour that will take her across the country, followed by some potential U.S. dates.
While her new songs come from a difficult place, she's looking forward to performing them, viewing it as an empowering experience.
"It's kind of freeing to be able to stand up on stage and be vulnerable in front of a crowd of people and to just bare everything," she says.
"When you go about your regular day, in social situations, most people typically on default want to cover up whatever they're dealing with."
She's also looking forward to performing her new songs as she was able to build up a track to play to, incorporating their synth sounds and other "ear candy," which she typically doesn't feature in her live shows.
"A lot of the sound was missing from my live show, so this time I'm doing some new cool things," she says.
Her MacBook will be her fourth band member, she jokes.
Following the tour's wrap, Lang hopes to relocate, by late summer or early fall, to New York City.
"I've known that I've wanted to do music my whole life," she says. "I always sort of pictured myself either in L.A. or New York. When I got out and got the chance to see both of the places, New York just called to me more. There's something about that city that just draws me in.
Aside from the obvious that everything's there, there's so many opportunities there, there's people from all walks of life and I just feel really inspired when I go there. There's an energy about it that I'm really drawn to."