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Neha Sin. Photo by Soka Lazara.

Chatting with “Don’t Look For Me Now” singer Neha Sin

By Dominique Gené on January 25, 2022




“Don’t Look For Me Now” by Neha Sin is a new add to the #ottmusic weekly Spotify playlist where Apartment613 highlights new local releases—it’s just like Release Radar but for #ottmusic only.

The self-proclaimed “honey folk” musician released her first EP in November 2018, Signs of Pink ‘til Morning. She takes inspiration from Bob Dylan, Phoebe Bridgers, and Passenger. Based in Ottawa, Sin originally hails from Mississauga, Ontario. Her latest single, “Don’t Look For Me Now,” came out in December 2021. We spoke to her about the new release.

Neha Sin. Photo: Soka Lazara.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Apt613: Congrats on your recent release. We’ve been listening to it nonstop. It’s really beautiful. What inspired this song?

Neha Sin: I was coming to Ottawa from Toronto and I was driving along the harbour front in Toronto and it was the clearest day. There weren’t any clouds and you could see the water. There, I came up with the first line “I’ll keep my eyes on the line where the water meets the sky.”

The entire song is just about that moment where you see like a sunset or you see something in nature where it just reminds you that you’re alive and you’re just kind of blown away by it all. “Don’t Look For Me Now” came from these little moments where you’re like ‘I’m in the moment and do not look for me.’

That’s beautiful. What are some other moments or experiences in life that you get lost in and that make you feel alive?

Being on stage gives me that feeling. I have a lot of performance anxiety, so building up to playing a show makes me so nervous. And the second I start singing, I hit that moment of like, ‘oh my God, I’m here.’

How do you deal with performance anxiety?

The reason I have so much performance anxiety is always to do with me messing up or making a mistake in a lyric or the chords or forgetting something. And of course, the more nervous I get, the more I tend to actually forget a lyric.

So, I usually just try to practice as much as I possibly can until I know that I know all of my songs. I have a little bit of a ritual that came to be when I was about 18 years old and playing open mics, which is I get one single rum and Coke. It’s my lucky drink and one is just enough to bring down my nerves and get me stage-ready.

What was the writing process like?

So initially, I wrote the song myself and I’ve been performing it for a good couple of years. But when I started recording it, I wanted to add a little bit more to it. My friend Dani Ablac, I went to her to get some help on the harmonies in my song. At the end of the song, when I do my chorus I wanted it to sound chaotic, but I wanted it to make sense.

So, when I say things like I’m a slinky honey-folk musician, slinky falls into that slightly flirty, easy to come across person, whereas honey folk is folk but it’s really sweet.

Dani is the one who wrote the background vocals at the end, “I’m not in the trees or the sea or the deep blue. Scattered like snow, look, I’m all around you.” I really loved her contribution there and it made it exactly what I wanted it to be. She joked about how it added a little aspect of ‘maybe this is a murder mystery song.’ The more I listen to it, the more I’m like ‘this does sound like a murder mystery.’

You know, a little murder just makes everything better.

I’m crazy about murder podcasts. So when she gave me that option, it made me want to lean into it.

Maybe we’ll see that in the future?

Maybe! You never know!

How did you record this track?

I started recording things back in May of 2021. All the noises from nature that you hear I’ve recorded myself. I walked around this little park and I got some bird chirping noises, holding my microphone up in the air and recording for two hours straight. I got some waterfall noises at the same park.

I got to about September and I started laying down the vocals. My friend, John Swayty is also a musician and he’s so talented. He helped me mix and master my entire song.

Is this single from an album you’re secretly working on?

I hope so. When I released my EP, it was the first-ever thing I put out into the world and I think I was really young and a little bit lost as to how to release something like that. So I’m not overly happy with how that release went. I didn’t give the songs within my EP a lot of attention. I didn’t cut myself enough time because for some reason I thought I had to post it by a certain date.

Now that I’m able to record things myself, I wanted to do a couple of singles just to get that momentum back up and running. I really am hoping to do an album at some point.

You call yourself a “local slinky acoustic honey-folk musician.” What is behind that label?

I like to treat each show that I play when I’m on stage as a first date with the audience, and that’s a really funny thing to say. But when you’re on the first date, you want to make a really good impression. So you’re like the best version of yourself and you’re showcasing all the parts of you that you want to showcase, like right off the bat. And that’s how I look at being on stage and that’s how I look at the stage presence.

So, when I say things like I’m a slinky honey-folk musician, slinky falls into that slightly flirty, easy to come across person, whereas honey folk is folk but it’s really sweet.

Don’t Look For Me Now is out on all streaming platforms.