Toronto singer-songwriter MorMor has finally released his long-awaited – and excellent – debut album, Semblance.
Vibe-y, Toronto singer MorMor spends a lot of time seeking out his community on his termsand you can hear the results on his excellent, just-released and long-awaited, falsetto-fueled full-length debut album, Semblance.
Seth Nyquist is Ethiopian, Trinidadian and Egyptian, was adopted by a Swedish family and grew up in Toronto. He dropped out of Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly known as Ryerson) after one semester when he realized that competing for the 9-to-5 dream job was not for him.
He discovered his passion for creating music through engineering first and then producing, as well as songwriting, learning guitar and piano, and singing. He released his excellent debut EP Heaven’s Only Wishful in 2018, under the name MorMor.
MorMor’s energy is light, he deliberately chooses his words to convey meaning and allow for fluidity in our conversation.
“I think the reason I’m singing and streaming it in this format is…it’s just the most true,” he said on Zoom on a recent fall afternoon from his apartment. of Toronto. Her vocals and overall sound have a psychedelic feel to them, a journey between sonic worlds full of stimulating synths and shards of thoughts that never quite stop.
MorMor grew up in Toronto’s west end near Little Ethiopia, where he was exposed to many diverse cultures, but never really found an authentic foothold in his creative scene. Over the past few years, he’s had the pleasure of traveling a lot more through his music, especially New York, which he considers home at this point.
“I work there a lot more and, as a result, I feel more connected to the rhythm of this city. I grew up here, I was born and raised here and I love it – I’ve never lived anywhere else. But I’m at a point where I don’t feel as energized or inspired when I’m here,” he says.
“Although Toronto is very diverse, it is a much newer city. I feel like we are still figuring out our identity,” MorMor says. “It just doesn’t simmer that long; there’s just more flavor to New York in some ways.
And what inspired his soulful croons on alternative rock rhythms that he deliberately puts together?
“Growing up it was a wide range of musicians, like The Beatles, Jackson 5, Jimi Hendrix, AC/DC, Nirvana and Wu-Tang,” MoMor lists. Where many may feel like essential parts of their being are stifled by societal norms and expectations, MorMor thinks he had room to explore.
“I think I had the privilege of liking something or not without having a religious bias or an overbearing parent trying to instill their opinions. I was able to develop my taste and flexibility to not not be weighed down.
His biological mother is from Toronto and his adoptive mother – a professor of comparative literature at the University of Toronto – is American but grew up in Toronto with his Swedish mother, Nyquist’s grandmother, a woman for whom he had an affinity. before his death. (“MorMor” means grandmother in Swedish).
On his first full-length album Semblance, his ability to untangle unconscious thoughts appears in fragments, and his experiences led him to approach songwriting differently.
“I was able to be more vulnerable. There’s a directness to the record. In a way, I was less comfortable because I was hiding behind metaphors at the start of my projects,” he says.
With the song and his debut EP, Heaven’s Only Wishful, MorMor admits to having conceptualized the project as a pushback on the unattainable idea of perfection; but now, similar to the feelings we’ve all shared recently, he’s been forced to be still and introspective. Fluidity in his approach to creating and living is what he wants us listeners to be inspired to practice.
“When I first started, I was trying to put my ideas, my inspirations, everything I had in one song. But you only get a semblance of a person, so I realized through practice artistic that my desire is to be understood, but there is only so much that I am able to give in every song and project. And that too is always evolving. For this project, I wanted to offer a journey and a feeling of comfort. Especially after the pandemic and realizing that it’s really just a ride and you can only do your best.