Words by David C. Obenour
An artist only gets one debut album. One chance to introduce themselves, breaking into your consciousness and helping to set those parameters that you will come to understand them by. One blank slate. Once the first bar of the lead single is heard, once the first press image is seen – everything is set in motion. Fast forward. No going back.
With a globe-spanning range of experiences to draw from, Nigerian-born and cross-Canadian native DEBBY FRIDAY knows this. Infusing instinct and intentionality into every aspect of how you come to know her – the album and coinciding film, GOOD LUCK are a fearless introduction that radiates just as brightly visually as it does sonically.
Off Shelf: The music, the short film, the fashion, and art direction, GOOD LUCK is a bold and victorious statement of debut. Can you tell us a little about your ambition and intention on providing this introduction for new listeners?
DEBBY FRIDAY: With GOOD LUCK, I just wanted to express myself as honestly and wholly as possible. I knew that as long as I focused on that, then everything else would fall into place. I’m an intuitive person and I believe in following my intuition when it comes to making any art. It’s the only thing you can do. GOOD LUCK is a story about journey, in a way, and I just want everyone who listens to to come along for the ride and get what they get out of it.
OS: As addressed before, GOOD LUCK is being released alongside a short film of the same name. Did the inspiration for both come simultaneously or did one develop out of the other?
DF: I wrote both the album and the short film simultaneously. I always thought of GOOD LUCK as a multi-media kind of project. It was always audio-visual to me. The album informs the film and the film informs the album. They’re bound together.
OS: What additional elements to the songs are you able to express further or differently by having the companion short film?
DF: I think having a visual element to something as intangible as music helps to concretize it. There’s a story you can see that’s attached to it now and I think that helps the audience to feel a little deeper and to hear me a little more clearly.
OS: Fashion and design seem to be integral to how you express yourself as an artist. Can you talk about the dimensions you see that adding to your art?
DF: I love fashion and I love expressing myself through clothing. I’m very particular about what I wear and I wouldn’t consider myself trendy but I know I have good and unique taste that works for me and translates over into my projects. Fashion as an industry can be frivolous, just like anything else. But fashion as a discipline is important and even transcendent. I admire people who can communicate clearly through this medium because it’s harder than it looks. And it’s important for art and understanding human beings. Clothes talk.
OS: Whether styles, movements or artists, what sort of inspiration do you take from fashion and photography/art direction?
DF: I like what I like and I take inspiration from everything and everywhere. I like to mix things together, I like contrast and contradiction and cohesion. I will say I tend towards the gothic, religious iconography and art history, fetish fashion, haute couture, etc.
OS: How does that translate into your live performances and what you hope to express?
DF: As far as fashion and my live performances, I think every performer needs what I call “power attire” – which is essentially stage outfits that make you feel as powerful and confident as possible. Look good, do good, you know?
OS: Does your global upbringing and traveling allow for any unique insights into how it seems we in Canada or America traditionally think of concerts or raves?
DF: Yes. I can see the differences between the structures around the creative industries in every country. Some places just have decades upon decades of infrastructure to support these kinds of events that others place, like Canada, do not have – and the results of this can be seen in how robust some scenes are versus others. It’s not for lack of trying or participation, it’s sometimes just a question of how long a country or city has been around. There’s different modes of operation everywhere but the one thing that is the same is that people who love music, love music and they will turn up everywhere, no matter where.
OS: You’ve also shared a little about your mystical studies and beliefs. Can you talk about how any of that intent informs your process?
DF: It informs my whole life. It informs how I operate in my day-to-day and that carries over into the way I do everything, including make art.
OS: Does that intent show up in either GOOD LUCK’s packaging or your live performances?
DF: Yes, of course.