Photos taken by Michelle Johnson
Finding Her Own Way
Talking with Sedona about her new single “Sharkbite,” the changing of the seasons, and a more subtle power play
By Cath spino
Singer-songwriter Sedona is no stranger to capturing nostalgia in her multifaceted ballads that unlock definitive memories of yesteryear. I first stumbled upon Sedona through the little bouquet of songs Spotify recommends at the end of one of my many handmade playlists. It was right after she released her first EP, Rearview Angel, and I was struck instantly by “Paper Moon.” The opening synth piano notes hit a spot in my heart full of teenage nostalgia: packing up my parents car on a hot summer day to go to my first year of college in New Jersey, the sweet smell of the summer sun and dew in the air, and the undeniable knowing that my life was moving forward. It was something scary yet full of excitement. The power that song held over me in 2020 has me constantly checking in on Sedona’s Spotify and Instagram every couple of months to see if she has dropped any new music, and I’m thankful to say she gave us many gems throughout 2021. She has closed out the year with her new single “Sharkbite,” which came out December 1st and the music video released shortly after on December 9th. I got a chance to catch up with Sedona on process, vulnerability, and nurturing songs..
“Sharkbite” is different from Sedona’s past dreamy synthy singles, as the song talks about the more complicated sides of intimacy. “I try not to stay too boxed in to one sound, I feel like a lot of artists now are going for one sound and every song sounds like a different version of another song they have and that’s not who I am,” says Sedona. “I am first and foremost a songwriter, so I try to ask myself, ‘If a song were a child, what would it need to be the best version of itself?’’’ And for a song that’s dealing with an “old habits die hard” storyline, Sedona enthusiastically nurtures it with the perfect amount of gritty guitar from Claire Gilb, banging drum beats from Tia Cestaro, cinematic melodies from Merliyn Chang on keys, and star power that is reminiscent of early 2000s female rock vocalists. Co-written with Daniel Chae and Miro Mackie, Sedona’s lyrics are an emotional tug of war between being fed up with unhealthy relationship dynamics resurfacing and reminiscing on the better times, leaving you at the crossroads of, “Will I stay or will I go?” Sedona brings these lyrics to life with such control and dexterity in her vocal performance, showing us the high moments of frustration by belting the chorus, “Just like a sharkbite / You drain my energy, you take it all away,” as well as the introspective moments, singing profound lyrics like, “Your loneliness is not my problem, it’s yours.” But the song ends on a quieter note as Sedona repeats the powerful chorus in a wistful tone, signifying a shift from dominating an argument to accepting the reality of the situation and deciding what to do next.
The music video, directed by Madeline Leshner, reinforces the angsty, questioning world of the song. It follows Sedona, suitcase in hand, as she moves around New York City. The video is shot in transient locations, touching on the theme of being caught at a crossroads: the subway, highway ramps, an expressway, a bit of land in the middle of a body of water, even a shot of a plane landing in the distance. What really makes the video is how much fun Sedona and her band are having jamming out. I couldn’t help but bounce as Sedona grabbed the camera and danced around and wish I was with them all on the subway (that’s a subway showtime that I would hang around for). Trust me, even though the song touches on a heavy topic, it still is a banger.
Very much like my experience with “Paper Moon” and her other singles, “Sharkbite” illuminates these dark corners of my memory where my younger self takes center stage. The single possesses this energy that brings me back to my angsty “take no shit” years. Specifically, I see middle school Cath using a hairbrush as a mic and lip syncing the chorus in the mirror before I’d gingerly place a burned CD with this song into my Walkman on my way to Catholic school. “‘Sharkbite’ has a darker feel than my last single. I feel like with winter coming [and] the last couple of years coming to a close, I wanted to put something out that honored those feelings.” “Sharkbite” does just that. The single is a multifaceted ballad that shows the highs and the lows of honoring one’s energy in a relationship. At the end of the music video, we find Sedona and her suitcase walking into the night, and it perfectly encapsulates what power can look like: it’s not always about burning down an entire village with your anger. Maybe it’s simply packing your bags and leaving.
You can stream “Sharkbite” now on all major streaming platforms and watch the music video here. Be sure to follow Sedona on Instagram for updates on new tunes and tours.