The lowdown on lo-fi

Lhasa Petik keeps creating music throughout lockdown

Singer-songwriter Lhasa Petik's new single is a catchy and mournful ode to pre-pandemic nostalgia.


Lhasa Petik’s new nostalgic single “Hurts To Be Young” might strike a chord with people longing for their pre-pandemic life. The indie-pop tune is full of longing for the past and the freedom that came along with it. 

The Winnipeg musician wrote the song during a trip to Colorado. While exploring, she imagined what it would be like to grow up in the area, discovering waterfalls and hiking in the mountains.

“The purpose of that song for me was to get back that carefree attitude in my current life," Petik says. "When you're young, you have such trivial issues, and you always want to grow up. And then you grow up, and you're like, ‘man what was I so hyped about?’”

That carefree feeling is infused in several of Petik's songs. She pulls inspiration from her travels to Australia, England and Montreal and collaborates with other musicians to create her signature blend of lo-fi bedroom electronic pop music. 

Usually after travelling, Petik goes through an intense phase of writing. 

“I write until I'm burnt out, because I just want to get everything out,” she says. “There's not (much) to write about these days, but I still manage to find stuff and go to old inspiration.”

One of her favourite songs she wrote was a collaboration with a near-stranger she met on Tinder while in Montreal. 

“He was like, ‘you wanna make a song together?’ and I was like ‘sure,’” Petik says. 

She and her Tinder match, the Toronto-based musician Makzo, bounced demos to one another, adding vocals and ambient sounds before the track “Dreaming” was thrown into the world. 

While Petik makes writing and producing music sound easy, like she can't help but create, her steely work ethic is obvious. 

She plays six instruments, most of which she taught herself. She started her career playing violin at the age of four after begging her mom to sign her up for lessons. In high school, she played the violin and double bass in the Winnipeg Youth Orchestras, but found it limiting.

“You don't really have the ability to be creative, so I hopped over to guitar and taught it to myself and started writing, and now here we are today,” she says. 

Writing is a form of therapy for Petik, who processes her feelings by turning them into music. 

“Creativity comes from feeling things intensely. It’s hard, because you're taking your pain and putting it into words,” she says. “I like to run away from stuff, but you can't really do that as a musician.”

Petik isn't immune to COVID fatigue, but she's juggling several projects at the moment, including a record deal, a collaboration with musician Roman Silver and a new lo-fi project called Oh Caroline. 

“I’m someone who works very well under pressure. The downside of that is I don’t usually work well before that pressure is on. If I have a deadline, I’m the type to wait until the last possible moment to start it,” she says. “But I’m reliable. If something needs to get done by tomorrow, it’ll get done by tomorrow. Maybe not in high school.”

”Hurts to Be Young” is available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, Tidal and Deezer.

Published in Volume 75, Number 25 of The Uniter (May 20, 2021)

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