Mallory Chipman shares new live performance video for ‘Diving’ from solo EP As Though I Had Wings
On her new single “Diving,” Mallory Chipman sings, “I saw you / Diving, head first, you looked so free / Thriving, head strong, to what you needed / Diving for fare diving with flair out of the air to where the rushes grow, yeah you were diving to the water below.”
The lyric captures a moment of wonder Mallory felt while observing a rare bird during one of her regular excursions to the outskirts of Edmonton. These moments eventually inspired her to write the songs on her new solo EP, As Though I Had Wings, with the music derived from Mallory’s attempts to transform bird song into human melodies. Although Mallory is becoming known as one half of the alt-country duo The Goddamsels, once she fully embraced the idea of experimenting with bird song, she knew that As Though I Had Wings was a project she had to see through.
Each of the four songs on As Though I Had Wings is based on sounds of birds native to Alberta, all of which are endangered or threatened, such as the burrowing owl, the black tern, the red-winged blackbird, and the peregrine falcon. Mallory said the catalyst came one day when she heard a common birdcall and it suddenly reminded her of a film score buried deep in her memory. From there, she began tuning in more closely to birdcalls, while thinking of how to transcribe them into playable music by establishing a key and making sense of their rhythm.
She said, “Through the process, the birds enchanted me with their melodies. I began to write music behind them and around them, wondering perhaps if by doing this, I could capture a sense of the reverence I had for these feathered creatures, and maybe even inspire some attention to their circumstances, many of which are compromised at the hands of habitat loss and destruction.”
As such a personal project, it made sense for Mallory to serve as her own producer for the first time on As Though I Had Wings. The songs were laid down in April 2021 with engineer Scott Franchuk at Edmonton’s Riverdale Recorders. Accompanying her were Brett Hansen on guitar, Nico Humby on bass and backing vocals, Esther Forseth on backing vocals, and Jon Guenter on drums. For Mallory, the sessions were a way to maintain her creative energy during the pandemic, but perhaps more importantly the songs reconnected her with the feeling of writing and performing as a true solo artist.