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Lydia Sutherland sets her sights on Nashville

The year 2020 is going to be a transitional one for Lydia Sutherland. The singer-songwriter and Godmanchester native has just signed with the new Agence Ranch agency, is migrating away from pop towards a ‘new country’ style, is reconnecting with her anglophone roots, and is kicking it all off with a stint in Nashville.
“I have been working on a lot of new music,” says Sutherland, of her time since appearing as a contestant on the popular French-language program La Voix in 2018. “I rediscovered myself as an artist and as a person,” she says, after the whirlwind of La Voix settled and she could take a step back and decide how to move forward again.
It was during this time of self-reflection that she was approached by the team behind Agence Ranch. The attention came as a bit of a shock. “I’ve always been doing so much on my own,” Sutherland suggests, noting she was fully expecting to do the same for her second album. “These people really see something in me and really believe in me.”

 

PHOTO La Ptite Photographe Godmanchesters Lydia Sutherland has signed with the new Agence Ranch agency and is working on her second album this time with a new country sound

 

Agence Ranch, based in Montreal, is a ‘new country’ agency promoting an evolving style of music that mixes traditional country with pop, rock and folk. The company is focused on promoting this new wave as it sweeps over the Québec music industry. “I grew up listening to country — you know, Shania Twain, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline. I came back to it, which is a beautiful thing,” she says, while self-describing her new sound as pop country but very rootsy. “It happened very naturally.”
Her new direction has certainly been influenced by the popularity of the new generation of country singers out of Nashville. And, in fact, she recently returned from a pilgrimage of sorts with her manager to the ‘Music City’ for some songwriting sessions and to simply take it all in. “Nashville was so inspiring and so productive. I never even dared to dream that I’d be sitting in a room with such great writers. We wrote five new songs and I am so very excited to share them with everyone soon.”
The decision to sing in English is another dramatic change from the persona familiar to the public in Quebec. “We really want to create something bigger,” Sutherland says of her new album, which she hopes will move even further away from the “low key” individual she portrayed on La Voix. “I’m really excited to present my music, and to the people in the Valley as well,” she says, acknowledging the well of support back home.
Outside of preparing her own album, she is also working on some new French material, and has been collaborating with a number of emerging Quebec artists. Known for her songwriting abilities, she has been sharing her work for some time. “I write so much that I have too many songs for myself,” she says with a laugh. This past year she also produced an album for the first time while working with singer and friend Francis Michaud. “It’s been really, really busy,” Sutherland concedes, but she seems to relish being involved in the different worlds within the music industry. For now, she is content to keep developing her own material, with the goal of releasing the new album in the fall. “We have a lot to do before then.”

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