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Milwaukee Musician Caley Conway Says Her New EP Is About 'Everything I've Gone Through' During The Pandemic

 Caley Conway
Allie Holloway
Courtesy of Caley Conway
Caley Conway's new EP 'Bliss or Bust' was recorded in 2019 but Conway spent her time during the pandemic to finish the project.

In normal times, Lake Effect features a variety of in-studio performances from local musicians and artists. But of course, these are not normal times. Most live events are still on the horizon and recording music in isolation presents a lot of challenges — which is why we’ve been featuring these artists in a series we call Pandemic Performers.

Milwaukee musician Caley Conway says as the world turned completely upside down early on in the pandemic, she struggled to pick up her guitar. It took her time to find her footing but eventually she says she found a groove and a completely new way of making music.

“Whereas I typically think of my art form as writing these, like, completed songwriter songs on a guitar with a series of chords and like, here’s the beginning, here’s the words and here’s the end and that the whole package — that has not happened but maybe one time throughout the past year,” Conway explains.

Conway says she turned to working on the projects she had already started in various stages before quarantines began, one of which became her EP Bliss or Bust that she is fully releasing on Friday, May 7. The project was recorded in 2019, leaving Conway to mix and finalize the EP during the pandemic.

“[Bliss or Bust] is just all a product of, yea, everything that I’ve gone through as a musician. Like you said, experiencing both extremes of inaction and doing everything, especially everything all at one time,” she says.

So far, Conway has released two songs off of the project. The first is called “I Love You So Much I Don't Want to See You,” which she says is about close relationships in her life that have faded away. She found it to be incredibly relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic as so many people found themselves social distance from people that they love.

“It started off as more of a slow, jazzy waltz. I was kind of trying to channel like, a mixture between Willie Nelson and Fae Webster for that one, and it ended up becoming entirely different,” she says.

With help from her co-producer and fellow Milwaukeean Jamie Mitchell eventually the song became something that, she says, “can rock out."

The second song that she’s released off the EP is titled “Path of the Sun,” which focuses on her insecurities and worries about what other people think.

“I ended up kind of writing a song that’s sort of my take on being a people pleaser, someone who is in perpetual fear of letting down other people, worrying what they think and it the moment I kind of ended up projecting that personality trait onto the sun,” she says.

As summer approaches, Conway says she is excited to perform live again, but says that because live music has been on hold for so long, she hasn’t had to practice performing her new EP live. Once she gets that practice though, she says it’s going to be fun to play her new music outside during the summer.

Joy is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
From 2020 to 2021, Jack was WUWM's digital intern and then digital producer.
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