Fliss is a new indie project with influences ranging from country to indie to pop to folk. Image: Felicity DeCarle/Fliss.
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DeCarle is making music and spreading joy with a new solo project called Fliss

It’s no secret that we here at the Fulcrum miss concerts.

And we’re not alone. Local musicians are figuring out new ways to promote their music and engage their communities without the in-person events we miss so much, from tiny gigs at House of Targ to bigger bops at the Bronson Centre.

Meet Felicity DeCarle, a 2016 U of O Conflict Studies and Human Rights alum with a new solo project, Fliss. 

DeCarle describes Fliss as “indie-folk/alt country,” with influences ranging from Angel Olsen and Orville Peck to Dolly Parton and Patsy Cline. Her newest single, “Comfrey and Calendula,” is ethereal and bluesy, packed with reverb and Gatineau charm (the music video was largely shot in downtown Hull’s Parc du Carré-Vaudreuil). 

You might recognize DeCarle from a previous group project, Sparklesaurus, an Ottawa-based dreampop band. But DeCarle says Fliss is a totally new direction for her in terms of sound, a pivot “from dreampop to indie-folk.” The new solo adventure gives DeCarle the chance to explore new sounds and new facets of creativity — even in the wake of COVID-19.

“I’d set up my first solo tour out west — B.C., Calgary, around there —  in the first few weeks of March, so those got cancelled. I know they’ll happen eventually, but for now, it’s a matter of waiting and creating in the meantime.”

Like many artists during these difficult times, DeCarle’s not always found it easy to keep making music in the wake of bad news: “I’ve struggled with keeping creative.” 

But the last year hasn’t been all bad, of course; DeCarle’s had the chance to “change focus and re-evaluate what I put out in the world,” and has even taught herself how to program her own synths during the lockdown.

When asked how the events of the last year have impacted her as an artist, DeCarle said that, “as corny as it may be,” she’s reflected on the power and necessity of art.

“Art should make us feel more connected as humans, and make us express the human experience in some way.” 

While DeCarle of course understood that before the pandemic, at least superficially (most artists are confronted with the existential frames of their craft at some point in their career), COVID-19 has “exacerbated” that realization of the profoundness of music-making as she’s continued to write and create.

“Music gives us a feeling of comfort — of feeling less alone,” said DeCarle. “I hope that I’m a representation of me being who I am and what I identify as for a younger generation — that younger folks see what I’m doing and think ‘hey, I can do that, too.’ ” 

“Comfrey and Calendula” is available for streaming here.