How do you come back to yourself? First, it’s important to understand you have become lost, and admit you’ve veered off path.
How then do you begin to piece yourself back together?
This is the journey Gabrielle Shonk, the Juno Award-nominated singer and songwriter, takes us on with her sophomore album, Across The Room, set for release February 24, 2023. The eleven-track record chronicles the big and small feelings of heartache, and the hope that comes with endings and new beginnings.
Conversations about a sophomore record began not long after the success of her debut, with her former major label asking to see and hear new material. Shonks recalls succumbing to a self-critical, internal pressure during that time for what that next album would be; a creative blockage that made her unsure of what she wanted to say at all.
It was in the early days of the pandemic that Shonk found she could piece together a new creative and artistic direction more authentic to her. Tucked herself away in her apartment in Quebec City, her hometown, she rediscovered her love of listening to and making music, something she says she had been disconnected from in the grind of working as a professional musician.
“Creating without boundaries, or expectations, and just for the fun of it was what my process had been missing. I felt set free,” she says.
At the end of 2021, with this new body of work formed during her creative seclusion, Shonk and her label decided it was best to amicably part ways, and she brought the songs that formed Across the Room to Arts & Crafts. “People Pleaser” grapples with what happens when you place other people’s needs above your own. “How We Used To Be,” moody and with sonic textures of 90s R&B, picks up more romantic nostalgia by reminiscing about what a relationship was like before it fell apart.
Every track on Across The Room began as a feeling. Each was the seed of something Shonk noted down and stashed away for later, once she had felt what she needed and could reasonably tackle such subject matter later on. Because the process of moving through to move on begins with letting yourself come to terms with a feeling before understanding what really happened. Clarity always comes later.
And that’s the throughline of this sublime sophomore offering. Across The Room, a deeply personal and lucid record, is the result of years of feeling, thinking, and breathing life back into a creative spirit.