May 20, 2022 – Toronto, ON: Today, Canadian singer-songwriter, producer and mixing engineer Sarah Shafey has released “Competitor,” the first single off her forthcoming album Blackbox Universe, out September 23.
“Competitor” is an upbeat, catchy, electro-pop track that draws the listener in immediately with the beat. The mood is powerful and Sarah’s vocals radiate with confidence. Written during a time when she found herself questioning her own intuition because of an individual who was a silent wrecking ball in her life, “Competitor” is an anthem about listening to one’s inner voice.
Read the music premiere and stream the single on GuitarGirlMag.com.
“This song was a way for me to remind myself to listen to my own heart and let it guide my actions now and forever. The world opens up to you when you listen to that voice. It’s beautiful,” explained Shafey. “I remind myself every day that the North Star symbolizes a beacon of inspiration around the world and if anyone makes you question yours, they are not your people.”
Each single that is released leading up to the album will be accompanied by a comic series beautifully illustrated by Sarah B. Moore. Princess Layla is the character for “Competitor” and in this series, Sarah celebrates her Egyptian heritage. As the comic unfolds Princess Layla marries King Reh out of duty in the name of the Great Order.
On her fourth album, Blackbox Universe, Sarah Shafey delivers her most theatrical album to date. Filled with big, bold, heavy production, this genre-bending collection includes influences of electronic, pop and rock. Shafey brilliantly weaves themes of unveiling different versions of ourselves, women empowerment and science fiction, while captivating listeners with her seamless vocals and strong production.
“We all have different versions of ourselves so I felt the need to explore who they were. It was cathartic,” says Sarah. “Some of it was a shedding of skin that I don’t want anymore and other elements are more closely aligned with who I am now and want to be more like.”
As an advocate for women’s empowerment, Blackbox Universe is a homage to celebrating the different facets of womanhood. Sarah is proud to have co-produced, co-engineered and co-mixed the album with Hill Kourkoutis; the first female to win a JUNO award in the Recording Engineer of the Year category (2022). Hill has produced for and played with some of Canada’s most notable artists including The Weeknd, July Talk, Serena Ryder, Madison Violet, SATE, Good Lovelies, Dear Rouge, Adam Cohen and more. Mastered by Kristian Montano of Montano Mastering, the album features musicians Sekou Lumumba on drums (Serena Ryder, Bedouin Soundclash, Kardinal Offishall, Thornley), cellist and Grammy-nominated songwriter Michael Peter Olsen (Drake, Arcade Fire, Funeral, K-OS) and well-known Toronto guitarist Mike Celia.
From her previous three albums and a decade-long history in the Toronto music scene, Sarah Shafey has been praised for her sophistication and professional production. She’s been described as powerful, influential and independent, with each release receiving rave reviews throughout the Toronto community and across internet music blogs. Although she has mixed albums for bands across genres in her studio Squeaky Clean Records, her personal sound has grown over the past decade from piano folk-pop to emotive alternative and grungy shoegaze rock, to the present with the pop, electronic, and rock vibes of her forthcoming release. Along with her powerhouse team, Shafey has created a transcendent soundscape with Blackbox Universe, confirming her talent goes far beyond one specific genre.
Album: Blackbox Universe (September 2022)
Genre: Electronic, Pop, Rock
Origin: Toronto, ON
Songwriter: Sarah Shafey
Producer: Sarah Shafey & Hill Kourkoutis
Mixed by: Sarah Shafey & Hill Kourkoutis
Engineered by: Sarah Shafey & Hill Kourkoutis
Mastered by: Kristian Montano at Montano Mastering, Toronto
Photographer: Paul Steward
Stylist: Lee Baillie
Princess Layla Crown: Marta Quintiroli
Princess Layla Skirt: Neema Arafa
Follow Sarah Shafey: