Serena Postel began writing songs as a cathartic exploration of her struggles. She released her first album Spare Change in 2006.
Serena Postel is in a good place these days. The Winnipeg songstress has abandoned cigarettes, endured painful personal growth and started using her artistic abilities to help others. She is also working on a follow-up to her widely acclaimed 2006 debut Spare Change.
“I’m facing a really great direction. I’m not even close to scratching the surface in terms of having it all figured out, but I’m recognizing life doesn’t have to be so hard,” the cheery 31-year-old said last week at The Edge, the non-profit art gallery on Main Street that she runs. “It doesn’t have to hurt as much as I thought it did.”
But this wasn’t always the case.
A tumultuous period in 2003 left Postel off work on disability for depression. Attempting to cope with feeling like a victim of the world, she picked up a brush and a guitar and started a journey she didn’t see coming.
“It was a circumstance I needed to learn to deal with and at the time I didn’t have the tools to do so. By doing art and music, I started to get to know myself better and recognize where I would function better,” she said.
Postel’s cathartic songwriting explorations soon led her to busk outside liquor stores, engaging passersby with her honest stories and sharp wit.
What followed was Spare Change – a raw, soulful alt-folk EP bearing the personal mark of her experience.
“I’m trying really hard not to discount that recording, but I have trouble listening to it,” Postel admitted.
That’s because she has moved on. Once angst-laden and anxious, Postel is tranquil and harmonious. She talks about peace and kindness and is reaching out to at-risk youth in the community by organizing songwriting circles, open mic nights and art workshops at The Edge.
Her music has also changed.
“The new songs are more fun to listen to. The guitar work in itself is telling such a great story and can really take the listener on an adventure. It’s about easier experiences,” she said. “I’m totally in old age. Becoming softer and for lack of a better word, cheesy and mushy.”
Postel will debut the new songs Thursday, Dec. 3 at the Park Theatre and is quick to warn she may improvise onstage – a new habit of hers. Money raised supports her recording costs.
“If people think it’s weird or kooky, fantastic – because we all are! I want to be the weirdo, ‘cause maybe it will be inspire someone else to be a weirdo.”