Five Questions With… The O’Pears
The Toronto-based folk trio releases a winter-themed second album today. Here the members discuss its inspiration, their individual and collective creative evolution, and a shared desire for more inclusivity in the music business.
By Jason Schneider
The O’Pears are a Toronto-based contemporary folk trio made up of Lydia Persaud, Jill Harris and Meg Contini, three songwriters who weave stories that stir the spirit and capture the timeless character of folk music. With beautifully blended harmonies, insightful songwriting, and a playful love of performing, they make perfectly balanced vocal performances look effortless.
Their sophomore album Stay Warm, out Dec. 7, illuminates the comfort, darkness, and complexity of the winter holiday season. Stay Warm flickers with the glow of family reunions and new love while taking in the chill of blowing snow, drifting hearts, and seasonal solitude.
A cappella covers of winter classics are sprinkled between original songs that examine the many ways that the holidays can bring rest, joy, and cheer while also inspiring feelings of loss, grief, and nostalgia. Each member of The O’Pears is a distinctly talented musician with a stand-alone voice, style and stage presence, and together they are breathtaking.
The O’Pears perform in Toronto on Dec. 11 at The Drake Underground, before heading to western Canada for the remainder of December, and further dates in Ontario in January. Find out more at theopears.com.
What inspired you to make Stay Warm?
Lydia Persaud: The main inspiration was simply winter and all of the emotions that come with that time of year. We wanted it to be an honest reflection of life in Canada.
What songs on the record are you most proud of and why?
Meg Contini: It’s so hard to choose! All the songs, whether it’s “Silent Night” or Joni Mitchell’s “River,” together form a complete picture of how we envisioned the album, so we’re proud of every part of it.
How would you describe your artistic evolution so far?
Meg: We’ve been singing together in different groups for over 10 years, so it’s been amazing to watch each other evolve as musicians and songwriters, both in this group and in new separate projects. The evolution of this band has been guided by a decade of growing into ourselves as individuals, and I feel fortunate to share in that.
What's been the most significant change in your life over the past year?
Jill Harris: We’ve all gone through many changes this last year through loss, moves, breakups, writing music, recording, and releasing a new album. It’s been a big year for each of us, and that has allowed us to grow personally and musically.
If you could fix anything about the music industry, what would it be?
Meg: More inclusivity and more opportunities for artists and communities that haven’t been given the space for their voices to be heard.