Caturday with Saya Gray

Words: Sofi Chetrar

Saya Gray is no stranger to the music industry, the half Japanese and half Canadian 26 years old singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist have already toured the world as a bassist and musical director with numerous artists. Her music ties folk and electronic-infused alternative pop, creating experimental and totally unique sounds that she presents in her new album 19 Masters. The number 19 represents the beginning and end of a cycle, the artist’s courage to go against the rules and stick to her own path within the industry.

Sofi Chetrar: You have produced music for so many great artists in the past, when did you realise that you want to create your own music?
Saya Gray: Since childhood creating music for myself was something I just did for myself, it was a world outside of the world to exist in. Eventually, it was a natural process to start inviting people that I liked in.
S: What is your songwriting process like?
SG: Honestly, quick usually. A momentary feeling with a particular instrument- it takes ages for me to usually return to that song and feel its time to show humans.
S: Have you been introduced to music from a young age and what was the first instrument you ever played?
SG: twas piano fresh out of the womb for me and Lucian. We had tons of instruments laying around cuz I grew up in a music school and my dad was a composer/musician so we had like a studio Ghibli forest of instruments to play around on.
S: Your debut project 19 MASTERS is produced, written and performed entirely by you except for your parents and your brother opening the album with Japanese lyrics, guitar lines and trumpet. Are you close with your family and did they enjoy being a part of your musical world?
SG: I was supa supa broke and couch surfing for most of the making of this record and didnt get to spend a lot of time with them considering the touring and vagabond fanny pack life I was living. My influences mostly came from them so it was nice never having to really explain anything and just hit record lol. I dont love talking very much so it works!! I think I showed my dad the chords to Empathy 4 Bethany literally once and he wrote this cute lil chart and taped it to the Neumann with duck tape and I recorded him 3 times over top of each take and ended up just using that, harmonies and all…super profesh!!
S: Who is the most inspirational person or artist for you?
SG: I love martial artists right now. It changes- there are so many people that have pushed the boundaries of consciousness and eastern healing/medicine. Morihei Ueshiba is inspiring me currently.
S: You are young and have already toured for more than a decade as a bass player, did you enjoy that period of your life?
SG: Super happy that I got to see the world but obviously being a woman in this male-dominated industry came with its own bag of caca to sort through hehe
S: Is it true that you foster cats?
SG: I dont have many human friends, I more resonate with other animals that could be seen as outcasts with problems. The same goes for flaccid plants & one-eyed lizards that need TLC, my love is here to share & care!
S: Lastly, what is your message to young artists?
SG: Just to constantly listen – something Im still learning.

Click to check out Saya’s Playlist!

Words: Sofie Chetrar