Halifax-based singer-songwriter Avery Dakin knew that she wanted to be a musician at a very early age.
I try to be really honest with my lyrics, to tell a story in a way that feels relatable. – Avery Dakin
“My mom tells me this story about when I was a toddler on a trip with them, and we were walking by a biker bar where loud rock music was playing, and I started moving to the music in my stroller,” she says. “So I think ever since I was born, I’ve really resonated with all types of music.”
Growing up in a musical household also helped, as she sang in the church choir and with her family. “My mom and grandma both played piano, so that was what got me into it initially,” she says.
Songwriting and performing as a pre-teen and through her teenage years, Dakin found herself battling a phase where she didn’t want to be on stage. “So I decided that going to university for a composition program might be more my speed, so I could still have a music career, but not have to perform,” she says.
But as her confidence grew while obtaining her degree in music composition at Acadia University, Dakin pivoted back to wanting to perform again. “I love being creative and writing and playing music,” she says. “It just feels right.”
Citing inspiration from the likes of jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald, Dakin’s love of Amy Winehouse also helps drive her songwriting.
“Her approach to writing lyrics made me want to try my hand again at writing lyrics,” she says. “And a lot of iconic female vocalists like Etta James and Sarah Vaughan made me think I could be a singer too.”
Describing her current music style as “pop with an R&B soul feel,” working with her band has helped solidify the sound. “I have this great group of musicians behind me who want to try things and have different kinds of approaches,” she says.
With her band allowing her to experiment and take risks with her music, Dakin can have some fun with her lyrics, describing them as “sometimes cheeky.”
“I try to be really honest with my lyrics, to tell a story in a way that feels relatable,” she says.
That relatability comes through in her latest single, Self Preservation. Set to be released on June 17, the inspiration for the track came from the end of a relationship.
“I didn’t want to place too much blame on either side and realized that so many facets of my life make me content and happy,” she explains. “It’s this feeling that carries with you through the ups and downs and that you can protect yourself.”
Self Preservation forms the beginnings of a new recording for Dakin, a follow-up to her first EP, Settle Down, in 2020.
“It might be an EP or an entire album, and I’m hoping to put something out around Christmas time or the start of next year,” she says.
Dakin is already working on her next single, Bloom. “It’s about a similar topic, finding contentedness in your surroundings and in nature and springtime and things like that.”
But while music listeners wait for Bloom and a new album, they will have an opportunity to celebrate the release of Self Preservation with a video release party at The Carleton on June 16. Visit thecarleton.ca for tickets and information.