QuickFire Questions with Connor Desai on her indie-folk meditation ‘Some Time Ago’

"I also think all the romanticizing that girls do, and are led to do (Disney princesses are a cultural juggernaut) contributes to the confusion grown women face when navigating real relationships."
14 September 2022

By Vanessa B

We caught up with Seattle-based singer-songwriter Connor Desai recently for an exclusive interview on the release of the video for her single Some Time Ago. A warming acoustic indie folk tune featuring Connor’s velvety vocals accompanied by guitar and piano, it has already reached 100,000 streams on Spotify and follows a 50k Shazam frenzy created by her song Friend of the Devil cover featured in the final scene of Netflix’s 2021 hit sci-fi show, The One.

The lyrics of Some Time Ago see the narrator looking back and gently reflecting on some past heartaches and skirmishes. Chronologising a number of weighty experiences of a girl and later a woman in a man’s world, this song soulfully explores tenderly painful realities and vulnerabilities with bittersweet hindsight and mature compassion.

Make sure to check out the music video for Some Time Ago and read our interview with Connor below.

Tell us a little about who you are and your experience so far as a singer-songwriter.

I grew up in a chaotic, loving, Christian household as one of five kids. My mom is very musical – she dropped out of college for two years to tour with the pioneering Christian rock band, the Sons of Thunder. They were one of the first racially integrated bands at the time in the 60s and 70s. Growing up she was always singing, whether it was harmony to a song on the radio (she loved the greats like Laura Nyro, Carol King, and Joni Mitchell) or one of the jingles she made up for my siblings and me. We actually all have jingles based on our names. It’s hilarious and awesome and we still sing them to each other when we get together.

For various reasons, I had a tough time with the Christian aspect of our family as I grew into adulthood. But my mom always kept a safe space for music and personal expression, which she deemed spiritual regardless of whether it was Christian or not. She valued authenticity above all, and I think that really drove me to express myself through song.

What’s the story behind your single ‘Some Time Ago’?

To be blunt, it’s about my experience with sex as a woman. It’s so personal that I actually found I could not write it in the first person. I was stuck for a bit until it occurred to me to try the 3rd person – essentially talking to myself in these harrowing moments of exploring what it means to be a sexual being in what still feels like a man’s world. It follows a timeline – being young and having that rush of desire for the first time, but finding out there are consequences (like a guy not calling you back and breaking your heart a little). The second verse focuses on an unplanned pregnancy I had at 21, a consequence of the aforementioned dalliances that clashed with my Christian upbringing and changed my life’s trajectory. The third verse is as an adult, about how it feels to be intimate with someone and then get into a terrible fight. For me – and I can’t tell how much of this is innate to my personality or ingrained because of how we are conditioned as women to prize chastity – that particular experience brings about a sense of shame and foolishness. Like, how could you give yourself over to someone who then shows, in some way or another, that they don’t care about you the way you thought they did. Admittedly, it’s a very indulgent song and I’m well aware that loving, intimate couples get in fights all the time. But the feelings are there to sort out nonetheless.

How has the reception to ‘Some Time Ago’ been?

Amazing. For a short, simple folk song – hardly the kind of tune that’s considered popular these days – it’s been written up lots of times, and so beautifully. It’s just shy of 100,000 streams on Spotify less than five months post-release. It’s exhilarating and humbling to write something so personal that seems to resonate so widely.

Can you expand a bit on the significance of the paper “fortune teller” in the music video?

I love that you asked me this. When I was thinking of the visuals I wanted to include, I had the strongest recollection of the girlhood games I would play – like M.A.S.H. and the fortune teller – when the adult world was brimming with promise and mystery. I also think all the romanticizing that girls do, and are led to do (Disney princesses are a cultural juggernaut) contributes to the confusion grown women face when navigating real relationships. That may have something to do with throwing it in the fire at the end. That wasn’t planned – the fire was going and I just knew it had to go in there.

Do you have a favorite lyric in the song?

Not really, but I like how the refrain “but that was some time ago” follows things that happened decades prior and also things that happened last night. To me, it’s emblematic of the female (especially maternal) capacity to carry on, despite whatever hardships have occurred.

How would you define success for yourself?

This is an ever-evolving definition for me. In music especially it can be tough, because you put so much of yourself out there and sometimes the silent response is deafening and makes you want to give up. I went through years of trying really hard to get my music heard and meeting with dead ends. The thing is though, nothing here is permanent. When the world ceases to exist, and it will, every recorded thing will vanish – from Shakespeare to Lady Gaga. When I think about that, success becomes about making a connection here and now, no matter the scale. There’s a hidden infinity in reaching just one person with your art – one person who really gets it. I think that’s success.

What’s next for you?

I am working on some new music – a country song and a pop song. I like to switch things up as much as possible these days. You never know what tomorrow holds.

Connect with Connor via her website and socials linked below.