O BOY! Interview: Exploring Self-Celebration With Musician Shaina Silver-Baird of Ghost Caravan

“I want to inspire people, but especially women.”

Ghost Caravan, led by Shaina Silver-Baird, is a music project with collaborators on a mission to make a difference, not only for those who listen to the music, but to also embrace the empowerment of women. With a focus on building up young women in and out of the music industry, the overall hard work that’s put into this project will change lives.

Her forthcoming record titled, ‘T.O. Confidential’ has been very much anticipated by her fans, with collaborations from members of the Weeknd, Grand Analog, and more, there’s such a natural flow between herself and these artists who have come together to make something stunning.

Let’s learn something from this amazing artist and apply it to our own lives.

Could you introduce yourself?

Hi! I’m Shaina Silver-Baird. I’m the lead singer and main songwriter of Ghost Caravan.

What's the meaning behind the name? What started it all?

Ghost Caravan is my beautiful, bittersweet collection of ghosts. Whether it is the ghost of a person, the ghost of a love or the ghost of an experience, all my ghosts inform the music I write. They are the seeds that Ghost Caravan’s songs grow from. I have this image of all these ghost people walking around with me like a posse, protecting and informing me.

Could you tell us about your fantastic single, "Shine On"? How has this single pushed you out of your creative comfort zone?

“Shine On” is an explosion of self-celebration. What started as a break up song, became an upbeat, feel good discovery of what it means to truly let your light shine against all odds. “Shine On” is the re-birth after loss, the dance party in your underwear, the uncontrollable laughter with friends. It’s a call to action: “Keep yourself moving into the sound, shine on!” Honestly it’s pushed me out of my comfort zone because it’s a challenge to myself as much as everyone else to shine in the face of adversity – to keep my heart open even when I want to shut down. That’s no small feat. It’s also a new, more upbeat, dance-y direction for me as an artist… and I love it!

Your music is such a celebration of women, it's empowering and shows so much strength. With that kind of momentum, how do you want to make a difference in the world around you?

I want to inspire people, but especially women. I want my music and content to show women in a positive light, where we are valued not just for our beauty or sexuality, but for our entire selves including our intelligence, our compassion, our ability, our strength. Both the “Shine On” and “Damn You” videos depict young women being their best selves without apology or explanation, and I think that’s something important to be putting into the world right now. The more young women see and hear positive depictions of ourselves, the more likely we are to step into the world’s power positions and to live in a state of self love. My song “Time’s Up” talks about the issue more overtly. I was really affected by a specific allegation of sexual assault in my hometown of Toronto because it affected several people close to me. I wrote that song in response to that, to keep the conversation going.

What's one aspect of today's world you would want people to pay more attention to?

It’s hard to pick just one! I think staying vigilant in the #timesup movement is important because we’ve made huge strides, but if we’re not careful we could slide backwards. I also think it’s important to pay attention to the physical world, as opposed to the virtual world. We (me included) spend so much time existing in front of a screen I think people need to pay more attention to connecting to other people in person.

Can you give us some of your favorite artists from the past? How do they each inspire you in their own way?

Fleetwood Mac: Classic. Amazing. They are a full band of awesome singers, musicians and songwriters - every component works seamlessly with the rest.

Nina Simone: As a vocalist she’s gold. She taught me so much is about presence and storytelling, not just sounding pretty.

Annie Lennox: That woman is power, sass, strength and melody all wrapped in one kick-ass package.

Any words of advice for other women out there who want to start their own musical journey?

Make your own work! Book your own gigs, get together with friends and other artists to write, do as much of it as you can. Eventually someone will take notice. And once someone does, be vigilant in how people in power positions are treating you. I am only as strong as my team and I am lucky to have one that respects me. Not everyone does. So make sure you are working with good people, not just successful ones.

We've also been listening to "Damn You" which releases today! Could you tell us the story behind the music video and connection to the lyrics? What does this piece represent?

I started writing this song on a dark, winter night when I was out of town on a gig in Sudbury, Ontario. Picture a small town with snowdrifts up to your head! I had just gotten off the phone from talking to my boyfriend and I sat down to write. I felt I needed to write a dark, heartfelt ballad to go with my material at the time, but the words just wouldn’t come. I was too happy! I was in love, my relationship was great and I wrote down what I was feeling:

“Damn you! You make it hard to write a sad song.”

That became the chorus in the upbeat, dance song “Damn You.”

Could you walk us through the beginning stages of your creative process? For you specifically, how do you start the process of writing a song?

There’s really no one way. I’ve started at the lyrics then built the melody and instrumentation around that. And I’ve also written lyrics and melody to fully written tracks that my producers have already written. One of the beautiful things about co-writing songs is that the song goes through so many different edits, filtered through different points of view. Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out how it became what it is. But I definitely always start with the kernel of a feeling or a story. When I imagine a specific scene or a situation, from my life, someone else’s or purely imagined, the words and melody come a lot easier. I put myself in the world of the song.

What's next for you? What are some of the plans you have coming up?

Next up we’ll be releasing the full album “T.O. Confidential” digitally on Oct. 5 and on limited edition vinyl on Oct. 6 at a release party in Toronto at The Supermarket. Come dance off the Thanksgiving turkey with us if you’re in Toronto!

Tickets are available here.

We’ve also written five songs for a new EP in the new year.

What makes you happy?

My lover, my family, my friends, singing, telling stories, dance parties, good food, a really good coffee, being outside.

Any closing comments?

To all you music lovers falling for the Ghost Caravan songs:

“You flip my heart upside right!”