‘Like Me Like That’, a surprise first release popped up back in September from Girl For Sale, the musical moniker of one Candice Cathers. A pitch perfect indie pop song that was just a wonderful introduction to a new artist. ‘Like Me Like That’ was the first foot in the door as an EP followed in early November. Seaspeak is a decidedly lo-fi EP, which expands on that first single. That more upfront pop sound concludes an EP that is heavy on sad bedroom sounds such as the confessional ‘Birthdays Are Sad’. A songwriter that may just be finding her voice with a first release, Seaspeak nonetheless bares plenty.
For our latest Influences Mixtape, Girl For Sale dips into the sounds and artists who have helped pave her way.
Broken Social Scene – Anthems For A Seventeen Year Old Girl
This song was the only one I ever talked about in the studio when I was recording my EP. It’s one of my all time favourites. The effects on the vocals, the repeated lyrics, the pairing of banjo and violin… it never gets old and I dream of one day writing something half as good.
Amy Shark – Adore
I discovered this song on a TV show or a movie in 2019, around the time I wrote the majority of the songs on my EP. I think it so beautifully captures the highs and lows of having a consuming crush on someone. Songs like this opened my eyes to the possibility of putting beats and synths in a song in a way that feels right to me.
Mazzy Star – Blue Light
I started listening to a lot of Mazzy Star a few years ago when someone told me they could hear a ‘Fade Into You’ influence in a demo I’d written. I love the pretty organ that underpins this track, and of course there’s a load of sea imagery in the lyrics which is right up my street.
Sufjan Stevens – Chicago
I could write an essay about how Sufjan has made me feel feelings I didn’t know existed, but the reason for including this gorgeous song is all about the trumpet solo. I knew I wanted to include a tiny trumpet line in ‘No Man Is An Island’, but I hadn’t played one since I was at school. I got my hands on one and learned the trumpet solo in this song, deciding that If I could hit the high notes, I was studio ready.
Paul Brady – The Island
Paul Brady and I both hail from Tyrone, and he’s my go-to when I want to root myself in Irish music. This song soundtracked a trip my friends and I took to Rathlin Island a couple of years ago. I wrote my own song ‘No Man Is An Island’ a few days later. Brady’s song is about politics and war, mine is about a tipsy meet cute, so it feels a bit absurd to pair them but I wouldn’t have written ‘NMIAI’ without ‘The Island’.
Taylor Swift – Out Of The Woods
I sent this to my producer Gary White when I was explaining that I wanted my song ‘Like Me Like That’ to open with repeated, echoy vocals. I love Jack Antonoff as a producer and this first collaboration with Taylor Swift propelled him into the go-to pop producer territory he inhabits today. This song is seven years old and I still find new little flourishes in the background every time I listen. I really like how this song plays with quiet and loud, where it chooses to hold back and where it chooses to go hard. And it goes SO hard.
Your Hand In Mine – Bedside Kites
I’m demoing songs at the minute, and the vibe I keep coming back to is ‘would this be out of place in the final scenes of an indie coming of age movie?’ This is one of the songs that I stumbled upon recently that captures that feeling for me.
Maggie Rogers – Fallingwater
This song definitely inspired the percussive beat that carries my song ‘Don’t Ask How I Am (I’m Fine)’. I haven’t really stopped playing this album since it was released. Did you know Maggie is currently doing a Masters at Harvard whilst being a touring musician? Girlboss moves.
Empress Of – When I’m With Him
I remember listening to this in the car driving to the studio early one Sunday morning. I really love Spanish language pop and I always go back to this song. It has gorgeous, evocative synths and the way she flits in and out of falsetto to convey certain lyrics is so stunning. Es bonito!
Dolly Parton – Baby I’m Burnin’
I was pretty much raised on Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley… a little ABBA thrown in for good measure. Country music still has a huge stronghold in rural Ireland and I think I still approach writing lyrics as if I’m writing country songs. I tend to keep things literal, I tell a story (usually a true one). This is my favourite upbeat Dolly song.
Cathy Davey – Sing For Your Supper
I started listening to Cathy Davey back in 2011, when I started properly trying to write songs. One of the best Irish songwriters, ever. I still go back to her albums when I need to get in touch with my younger self and remind myself that writing songs is for me and it’s supposed to be fun.