Music

Toronto Alt-Pop Singer/Songwriter Lisa Humber Urges Critical Thinking & Human Connection on “Shades of Grey”

One of the most frustrating elements of the pandemic has been the lack of clear information and the inability of everyone to collectively get on the same page. Canadian alt-pop songstress Lisa Humber addresses these frustrations in her piano-driven ballad “Shades of Grey” — available now. 

Spotify — “Shades of Grey”

YouTube — “Shades of Grey (Official)”

Featuring bold piano and moody, dramatic strings, “Shades of Grey” can be taken as both a challenge to think critically as well as a song about the tumultuous end of a relationship. The lyrics are passionate, and also open to interpretation. “I’m so sick of talking/ And you taking offense/ As you pontificate/ While sitting on the fence,” Humber sings. 

The one thing she knows for certain, however, is she can’t succumb to wishy-washiness, or to rigid thinking. The longing for a deeper connection is visceral and palpable: “Engage in conversation/ Meaningful and true/ It never hurts to listen/ To another point of view.”

“‘Shades of Grey’ is an anthem for the times,” the Toronto-based artist says. “Born in the midst of misinformation and fake news, this song is a rallying cry urging listeners to ask questions.”

The song is one of eight on Humber’s new EP, The Space Between — slated for a late-August release. The project represents the renewed commitment Humber made during the pandemic to her own music; up until then, she had always worked behind the scenes as a stage manager on most of the commercial musicals that have played in Toronto. “I love that job,” Humber says. “I thrive on the fast-paced exciting world of ‘backstage’ life. Music has always existed in the space between my professional ambitions and the blue skies version of my life.

“I don’t want to call this a ‘pandemic record,’” she continues, “but I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that in March of 2020, Covid-19 not only changed life as we know it on a global scale, but it also had a significant impact on a micro individual level. 

“When it felt like everything else had been taken away, music and the stories I wanted to share through my own creations were the only thing that made sense.”

Blending dreamy alt-pop, melancholic rhymes, hopeful optimism, and elements of adult alternative to create a unique sound that rises from the ashes of the pandemic, The Space Between highlights life in the space between the good, the bad, and the messy. 

Humber collaborated with producer and guitar master Justin Abedin, who she met while working backstage on the musical, Come From Away. “Justin has this incredible ability to breathe beauty into everything he does and knows exactly how to frame and shape my lyrics and melodies into something that feels authentically me,” Humber shares. “Without him, I don’t think these ideas and songs would exist outside of my own heart and mind.”

Her single “Shades of Grey” is available now. The Space Between is available Summer 2022. 

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