Earlier this year, Canadian country artist Sarah Wickett had us falling in love with someone’s potential along with her in her single, “Potential“. She then beared her soul in her following single, “Two Feet” which shares a part of her healing journey from a recent breakup. Both songs’ catchy melodies and relatable lyrics earned Wickett over 85K+ streams on Spotify alone. Following up the success of her two previous singles, the Beaverton native is now back with her second “Desi pop-country” single, “Momma’s Boy”– which shares the difficulties interracial couples face, from navigating cultural differences to meddling mothers.
Recently, I spoke with Wickett about her latest single, the official music video for the song and her profound appreciation of Indian culture.
Kyla Pearson: Your latest single, “Momma’s Boy” is set to be released on August 27th. The song shares a part of your personal story and shares your experience of trying to live up to your ex’s family’s expectations and dating a “Momma’s Boy”. Can you tell us a bit about the songwriting/recording process that went into making the song? How has the song helped you heal and process from the breakup?
Sarah Wickett: Of course! I wrote this song with Vipneet Kaur (a Punjabi songwriter) and my two producers Mark Schroor and Erik Fintelman. Momma’s Boy wasn’t actually initially the title of the song. Vipneet and I sat down with a similar concept but we were going to call the song ‘Switch It Up’… However, it felt like there was something missing & we wanted to make sure it was 100% authentic to the experience I went through. So, when we took the song to Mark and Erik, the idea of a ‘Momma’s Boy’ started floating around and we ended up going full speed ahead with that idea instead. There are always different stages to a breakup. First, you’re really sad and then you get angry and eventually, with time, you become forgiving and get over it… I feel like you can really hear the frustration and anger in this song and it’s very evident which stage of the healing process I was in when writing it. The entire process has been very therapeutic and empowering, to say the least. I’m so happy with how it turned out.
Kyla Pearson: In relation to the song, what is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who is trying to navigate dating someone outside of their respective culture?
Sarah Wickett: Make sure you guys are on the exact same page from the beginning when it comes to different wants, needs and expectations. Being in an interracial relationship can come with a lot of challenges and you need to make sure you’re ready to face those together and you’re going to be supportive of each other throughout the good and bad times. A lot of the things that might get labelled as “too soon to talk about” are actually important conversations that need to be had and it’s important to be 100% transparent from the beginning.
Kyla Pearson: The song is also sung in both Punjabi and English and is the second single you release in which you do so– and as the only woman in country music doing such a crossover, I might add! How do you feel singing this song partially in Punjabi strengthened and helped convey the message of the song?
Sarah Wickett: I honestly think singing part of the lyrics in Punjabi makes the message that much more powerful. There is no part of the song that feels inauthentic. I also love that it invites people who don’t understand English to be able to understand the song as well.
Kyla Pearson: In both the cover art and the upcoming music video, you’re wearing a rare, traditional Indian lehenga, which you had custom-made in denim. Can you tell us a bit more about the cultural significance of the lehenga and how it ties into the song? Was the lehenga custom made by an Indian clothing/fashion designer?
Sarah Wickett: Yes! I’ve had the idea of creating a denim lehenga for a long time now… I knew it was a way I could combine & showcase both the country and Punjabi aspects of my life/career. Denim is not a fabric that is commonly used to make traditional Indian clothing… but it is something I wear almost every day. I absolutely love the style of a lehenga and I knew I wanted to wear one for the music video. So, denim just made sense. Fortunately, I was able to work with the perfect designer (Anu Khanna Designs) and we brainstormed some ideas together to make the simplistic, denim lehenga that I am wearing in the music video & artwork. I also love that it isn’t too loud and it’s SO comfortable. Comfortability & practicality are very important to me. So I’m just in love with the way it turned out.
Kyla Pearson: On the subject of the music video, can you tell us a little bit about the creative vision behind it? What was it like on set and filming it?
Sarah Wickett: The vision I had for the music video was to have the storyline be two interracial couples to showcase two completely different relationships but have the couple still going through the same issues. Both guys are seen struggling between prioritizing their Mom and their girlfriend. There are performance scenes throughout the video and I wanted those to be HOT – so I made the guys take off their shirts and oil up. We shot those scenes in an abandoned barn and it worked out perfectly. I had them slinging hay and getting dirty. It was such a fun day.
Kyla Pearson: Something that is important to you is sharing and introducing Indian culture to a new audience, as well as demystifying certain stigmas around it and promoting anti-racism/unity amongst different cultures. However as a white, Canadian-woman singing in Punjabi and embracing Indian culture in the way you do, some people have said that you’re appropriating and benefiting off of Indian culture, not appreciating it by invitation by those pertaining to the culture (Cultural appropriation vs. appreciation). What would you like to say to those who have suggested this?
Sarah Wickett: This is a great question and I’m happy to address this. I have gotten a lot of mixed opinions on what I’m doing from a lot of different people, desi’s and non-desi’s included. I have nothing but love and respect for this culture and that is the sole reason I am doing this. I feel like the amazing thing about music is that it’s so inclusive… There are SO many different crossovers happening now more than ever and I don’t necessarily think it matters who or where the music comes from… if it’s good, then it’s good. Although I’m not Punjabi I hope by collaborating and working alongside desi artists, it will help open a door for them in country music. I think their music is so great and a lot of the topics they cover in Punjabi music are really similar to ones we cover in country music.. like farming, trucks, small towns.. so I think it could be a really cool thing.
Kyla Pearson: On a similar note, what do you think is the most beautiful aspect of Indian culture?
Sarah Wickett: Oh, how do I choose just one thing? I genuinely think all of the traditions they have are really cool. I recently went to a Punjabi wedding and I was absolutely blown away by the performances and how much time goes into planning a traditional wedding. They are extremely dedicated to their culture and pour blood, sweat and tears into everything they do to make sure it stays that way. I really admire that.
Kyla Pearson: With live music being a reality once again, what is one venue or show you’re looking forward to performing at? What live shows do you have coming up that fans can catch?
Sarah Wickett: I think Boots and Hearts is still #1 on my bucket list but I would love to put on my own festival and invite artists like myself who are doing something different and unique to help music evolve even further. I have been talking to some organizations and that may potentially happen this fall if covid allows. I do have a couple of shows lined up, which I haven’t announced yet, so make sure you keep up with my socials to see where I’m playing.
Kyla Pearson: Moving forward in the second half of 2021, what is one goal you hope to achieve with your music by the end of the year? Do you plan on releasing new music other than “Momma’s Boy”?
Sarah Wickett: I’m really excited to focus on Momma’s Boy for the rest of the year. We have some big plans for it and I hope those come to fruition. I’m dying to get back into the studio to record some more songs and finish up my EP, which is set to release next spring!
Wickett, Sarah. Interview. Conducted by Kyla Pearson, Aug. 28 2021.
Unknown. “Featured: Canadian country artist Sarah Wickett”. Photo courtesy of Sarah Wickett. Accessed Aug. 28 2021.
Unknown. “Featured: Official cover art for Sarah Wickett’s latest “Desi pop-country” single, “Momma’s Boy.”. Photo courtesy of Sarah Wickett. Accessed Aug. 28 2021.
Unknown. “Featured: Canadian country artist Sarah Wickett on the set for the official music video for her latest single, “Momma’s Boy”.” Photo courtesy of Sarah Wickett. Accessed Aug. 28 2021.