“I was always like this they just tried to stop me”, Nyssa sings on her new single, “Hey Jackie”. This sentiment of resilience and rebellion threads its way through all of the Toronto troubadour’s work. Her cross-decade, cross-genre approach to songwriting and production are a rabble-rousing, wrecking ball to collective malaise and ennui, while her 21st century greaser style and sneer—like some kind of “alternate universe hard-rock disco Elvis” (DOMINIONATED)—form a beacon for the disillusioned.
Nyssa has been writing and performing music since she was 12 years old—cutting her teeth in the Toronto scene and befriending musicians of all ages and paths throughout her formative years. Between her loner childhood and musical obsessions—plus over a decade’s worth of waiting tables and people watching—Nyssa has cultivated a unique lyrical voice, seeking to tell stories that haven’t been told.
“Stories shape us and allow us to control our own destines,” she says. “Somehow, though, stories of female outcasts are still a rarity. How are we supposed to break free if we don’t see ourselves in that role? I want to live in a world where women are allowed the full scope of their appetites. I want to remove the shame from the equation and unfetter the desire. I want to play my part in shifting the narrative.”
Indeed, her upcoming single, “Hey Jackie”, is downright cinematic in its scope. Nyssa offers us the story of an independent, “wayward” woman in charge of her fate, seeking the thrill of the open road for the sake of it, refusing to be bound or defined by the small-time expectations of family and friends. This is the rare report of a woman bucking convention and constraint that ends in neither tragedy nor enforced domesticity—an important and timely tale made all the more stunning for Nyssa’s production and arrangement.
Enlisting longtime friends and Toronto fixtures, Carlyn Bezic (Ice Cream, Darlene Shrugg), Matthew Aldred (Michael Rault, Teenage Man), Zack Burgess (Gardenworld, Kremlin) on synths, pedal steel, bass, and live drums, and gathering them together at home and in the studio, Nyssa has created a dynamic, genre-defying, modern anthem of freedom. Watching Nyssa perform live, one gets the sense of witnessing something important. Performing solo to her self-produced backing tracks, she exudes a punk-Madonna vibe that feels completely fresh and unprecedented. Having become something of a local hero, she’s been handpicked to open for such stalwarts as The Voidz, Fucked Up, Juan Wauters, and Alex Cameron.
It’s no surprise that Nyssa has gathered a growing following of dedicated fans since releasing her debut EP, Champion of Love, last year. “Hey Jackie” will doubtless cement her as both a songwriter and performer to watch.