Next up in Lacombe’s ‘Music in the Park’ series is Kayla Williams & the Yacht Daddies on Aug. 23.
Performances, which are presented by the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre, start at 6:30 p.m. at the Lacombe Memorial Centre’s Echo Stage.
“I’m really excited to play Music in the Park — it’s going to be great,” said Williams, who is originally from Ponoka. “I played it a couple of years ago with a band called Funhouse, and it was super fun.”
Williams has a passion for the classic tunes of the late 70s and early 80s and to that end, she is delving into a genre known as ‘yacht-rock’ which reflects that passion perfectly.
“It’s a sub-genre of late 70s and early 80s – Kenny Loggins, Boz Skaggs, the Doobie Brothers, TOTO, Steely Dan – the really smooth, soft sounds of (that time),” she explained.
She also pointed out how comparatively few women are represented in the genre, so exploring it makes it that much more exciting — professionally and personally — for her.
“I’m planning on bringing a yacht-rock revival and throwing just a little bit of femininity into it,” she said, adding that she refers to her own take on the genre as ‘yacht-pop’.
“We still do serious yacht-rock covers, but my own music is just really inspired by it — a total nostalgic, retro feel but with a modern, pop and slightly feminine spin,” she added.
“There are so many good songs from so far back that just get discounted. I’m thinking, who is going to keep them alive?”
Williams’ love for this set of hits was sparked early on.
“My parents were always listening to Fleetwood Mac, Huey Lewis, Pink Floyd and all of that stuff. I was obsessed with the Beach Boys, too,” she said. “Something about that era really speaks to me.
“As a child, I was also obsessed with 60s/70s culture,” she said, adding that those years also represented a simpler time in society — something she finds appealing as well.
She pointed to an upcoming music festival she’s performing in as reminiscent of earlier times in the music industry.
“I love it. It’s my Christmas. It’s where I come to life because we go off-grid; we are playing music all evening and staying up all night with the other artists around a fire jamming. To me, that reminds me of what it might have been like back then,” she said. “I think for me it’s about the call to a simpler time.
“I didn’t have it, but I think I would have fit right in!”
Meanwhile, a new EP — RETRODELIA — is described as a ‘positivity-forward throwback tribute with a twist’.
Singles are gradually being released from the project, and the EP as a whole is expected to drop later this year. In Your Paradise was released earlier this year with another coming out in September.
Some of the cuts were penned during 2020, when, as Williams noted, there was so much global uncertainty.
“To ease my burdens and find inspiration, I turned to music from my childhood, especially my favourites from the yacht-rock world. It’s purely feel-good music that uplifts me every time I listen. I ran with that vibe while writing the songs for RETRODELIA, but put it through a pop filter.
“I still wanted a lot of lightness around it, and so I love the playfulness of that.
“I specifically wanted to create a retro-sounding but modern pop song, heavily influenced by the yacht-rock genre,” she explained.
For years now, Williams’ raw talent has been garnering more fans and critical acclaim.
She won the 2021 Red Deer Emerging Artist award, her music has been featured on TSN, and she was commissioned to write a song (Something Right) for the 2019 Canada Winter Games (performing it to an audience of over 8,000 people).
In the meantime, Williams is thrilled with her creative direction and wants audiences to tap into the joy of yacht-pop, too.
“I want listeners to be pulled in and ask themselves, ‘What is yacht-pop and why do I like it so much?’”