Gillian Stone is a Vancouver Island-born, Toronto-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who has collaborated on projects by FORCES’ Alli Sunshine, The Fern Tips, Völur and Althea Thauberger — and she’s appeared in music videos for Clear Mortifee, Robert DeLong, Alli Sunshine and Juno Award nominate Tara Kannangara. As a solo artist, Stone’s work uses vulnerability as a way to create a safe space to explore the dichotomy of beauty and discomfort, thematically touching on recovery, the juxtaposition of femininity and imperfection, turbulent feelings and recovery.
Heavily influenced by her background in jazz and ethnomusicology, Stone has managed to have a rather varied creative and professional life: Fascinated by her Icelandic heritage, Stone explored and studied the popular music of Iceland and the icelandic Diaspora in Canada as part of her graduate work in ethnomusicology. The Vancouver-born, Toronto-based artist has studied Javanese and Balinese gamelan; performed with Russell Hartenberger and NEXUS (the principal percussionists of the Steve Reich ensemble) and with Brazilian cavaquinho virtuoso Henrique Cazes. Her upbringing on Vancouver Island led her to Coast Salish hip-hop and the Cascadian bioregion scene. Overall, Stone uses an interdisciplinary approach to explore disparate genres to produce a singular sound.
Stone’s latest single is the atmospheric and dramatic, Michael Peter Olsen-co-produced “Bridges.” Centered around strummed guitar strummed guitar, dramatic drumming and Stone’s achingly vulnerable vocals, the PJ Harvey and Shana Falana-like “Bridges” finds the Vancouver-born, Toronto-based artist telling a story of dissolution, shame and self-flagellation with a bold and unvarnished honesty. “‘Bridges’ is the soundscape of recovery,” Stone says in press notes. “I wrote this song in 2009 after a summer of self-imposed turbulence. I don’t remember exactly when or how I wrote, but it stayed with me and became predictive. For over a decade, I’ve returned to it as a space to a safely express shame. Now it’s morphing into a reminder, a call for self-temperance. I’m still discovering what it means.”
Stone goes on to add the song was co-produced by Micheal Peter Olsen during a cold winter in Olsen’s Toronto-based studio Uncomfortable Silence. “‘Bridges’ follows a journey of dysregulated emotions exacerbated by alcohol abuse,” Stone says. “The e-cello movement is meant to evoke the feeling of losing one’s mind. This is a post=rock night song that ends with a promise of the sun.”
Directed by Emily Harrison, the recently released video for “Bridges” features Stone in the woods and uses mirrors and kaleidoscopic effects to create something both trippy yet introspective. Harrison calls the video “a psychedelic dream inspired by French New Wave film.”