Sara Sue Vallee brings on the heartache but the yearning ethereal beauty too of a “Baby Girl” in a long-distance relationship with NYC (release day)

Déjà vues eclipsed by the moon
Best of years spent chasing you
Miss getting lost and scared to the bones
Now it’s quiet outside, doesn’t feel like home

Words by Jason Lee. Cover photo by Baiba Fancy.

Just to give you an idea of an average night out for Sara Sue Vallee back when she used to reside in New York it could start with catching a show at one SSV’s fave Brooklyn haunts like Baby’s All Right with its glittering wall of stage lights like twinkling stars but alas it’s an early show and the night is young so after a bathroom selfie Sara Sue buys an ice cream cone from a local glacerie consuming the gooey chocolate chip and vanilla confection on the street before it melts into her hand as she perambulates her way to nearby Domino Park with its picture-postcard perfect view of the expansive Manhattan skyline with it’s bright lights reflected in the shimmering waters of the East River nevermind the dead bodies below (!) with mob bosses and spurned lovers and inveterate gamblers who ran afoul of the wrong numbers runner lying side by side in their watery grave like commuters on a subway train but what a view…

…and despite mère et père having warned her to avoid such infelicitous behavior SSV strikes up a conversation with a couple strangers in the streetlight-lit park and as luck should have it they’re actually cool and not total creepers nor the persons who disposed of the bodies earlier and they end up smoking a J probably acquired from a local weed bodega and hitting a local discothèque together drinking and dancing the night away under the glittering lights of the disco ball chatting with the club’s DJ outside during a smoke break who bequeaths Sara Sue his limited edition Biggie Smalls metrocard as a momento of the night then accompanying her new friends to their apartment where they stay up all night narrating life stories to one another never to see each again after that one special night and watching the sunrise together alas that’s life in the big city…

…or at least it is for Montreal-based bedroom pop singer-songwriter Sara Sue Vallee who launched her musical career with the release of her debut EP Skin & Bones which of course was covered in these pages and while little things like going to school and working as une actrice professionnelle have conspired to keep Sara Sue in the City of a Hundred Steeples where everyone’s good looking and other outposts of the Great White North besides and hey Montreal’s a great city as is Toronto and Vancouver etc. but Sara Sue’ll always be Gotham’s baby girl as made abundantly clear in her brand new song, um, “Baby Girl”, having spent a formative stretch of time in La Grosse Pomme and despite Canada’s superior health care system and social services and hockey leagues and maple honey and frozen lakes not to mention a starling number top-tier comedians and singer-songwriters per capita…

…ya gotta ask what’s a Québécois girl to do when she still pines for the more rough-hewn charms of the city to the south she fell in love with (not so) many years ago well you write a moody chanson d’amour in homage to that “disco ball twirling ’til the end of the night” in dusky tones over a bed of airy shimmering synths and hazy electric guitar bathed in reverb alongside a ghostly choir of overdubbed voices together erecting an ethereal cathedral of sound both minimalistic and operatically dramatic, stately and choked with emotion at once somehow and good luck not openly weeping when the mournful guitar solo hits in tribute to a city that doesn’t always reciprocate that love—in fact sometimes it’s downright mean—but when it does hoo boy cuz that’s the thing about this city when it treats you a little rough it just brings you back for more

…or in other words what we have here, hommes et femmes et personnes non-binaire, is an inconsolate love song to NYC, a city fueled by love and lust and other illicit substances, driven by delusion (paraphrasing from Sara Sue’s own self-description) and hey we wouldn’t have it any other way but here’s what we wanna know: how in the heck does Sara Sue Vallee have more fun in an average night in NYC than we do over the course of months at a time sometimes even through we’ve lived here for two decades…

photo at left taken at Handlebar in Toronto, CA; photo at right taken by Arsalan Danish

…I mean okay we get it French-Canadians are a special breed but we figure it’s something about the white-hot heated passion of a tempestuous fling of a love affair whose days you already know are numbered but which you likewise know you’ll never quite get over versus the more steadfast joys and torments of being in a long-term relationship where you really get to know your partner’s foibles and annoying quirks but equally the hidden delights known only to few or even just you but better yet here’s how SSV describes being the “Baby Girl” to a city with big daddy energy in her own words…

photos by Ryan Sides

Inspired by the introspective and emotional lyricism of singer-songwriter Gracie Abrams and Sasha Alex Sloan, and the dreamy pop atmosphere of Lana Del Rey, I marry heartfelt lyrics with minimalist instrumentals in my latest single  “Baby Girl” which is a love letter to this special place that makes us feel at home. My single ‘Baby Girl’ uncovers a push-pull relationship with “’New York’’; a city that forged my identity as an artist after living and studying there for two years as a young adult. Now only a memory, flashbacks keep haunting me about a parallel future that never took place—a push-pull relationship that never ceases to give me hope and break me at the same time. At its core, this new lyric-driven single contemplates the idea of letting go as a way to stop living in the past even if that implies mourning a life-long dream. 

Cover Photo: @jamiyawilsonstudio

Music Credits
Singer/ songwriter: @sarasuevallee__
Producer: @antoine.bens
Mixing: @itstimburon
Mastering: @dirtysoundsclean
Recording Location: Montreal, QC

Music Video Credits
Directed/Cinematography by @dpsivilli
Producers @dpsivilli@sarasuevallee__
Edited by @dpsivilli@pancynop
Colorist: @papapiccione
Gaffer: @joncarrdp
PA: @atgavin@pancynop
Makeup & Hair: @pancynop
Singer-Songwriter: @sarasuevallee__
Shooting Location: Queens, NYC

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