Nfld. & Labrador·First Listen

Singer-songwriter Selina Boland's stage name and album inspired by childhood poem

Selina Boland of St. John's, who performs as an electronic musician under the name "Chalk," revisited a poem she wrote as an eight-year-old, about finding a chalk rock on the ground and doodling with it.

Have a First Listen to My Chalk Stuff

When she was eight, Selina Boland wrote a poem about a chalk rock. She now performs electronic music under the name Chalk. (Tobias Brueckner/Submitted by Selina Boland)

Singer-songwriter Selina Boland says the inspiration for her new album — and stage name — is a poem she wrote when she was just eight years old.

Boland, who performs as an electronic musician under the name "Chalk," told CBC Radio's Weekend AM that the poem was about finding a chalk rock on the ground and doodling with it.

The poem is the foundation for the song I Am a Chalk Rock, which includes the lines, "When one side doesn't work, she turns me over/I feel so used and I feel so loved."

 "I can get a different meaning from reading this now.… It's kind of deep," said Boland about finding the poem and deciding to put it on her new album, My Chalk Stuff.

The album My Chalk Stuff is available on streaming platforms. (Joey Wooldridge/Submitted by Selina Boland)

Hooked on loops 

Boland, who was nominated for MusicNL's Electronic Artist of the Year award in 2020, said she started performing electronic music while living in Calgary in 2011. 

She bought a loop station and toy electronic keyboard from a friend, she said. Looping is when an artist records and then plays back a repeating section of music. 

"He taught me how to loop. I was like, 'Oh my goodness, this is amazing.'"

Boland is set to release a singer-songwriter guitar album in a few weeks, but says she prefers her electronic-music persona. 

Electronic music just as authentic as playing guitar: Boland 

Performing electronic music is more laborious and authentic than what some people might think, said Boland. "It feels just as authentic as playing guitar." 

 "Everything is manual. I'm recording on the spot with a loop station and my synthesiser… if I make a mistake it gets recorded," she said. 

"The setup is ridiculous. It takes me like 20 to 30 minutes just to set up on a stage." 

Boland is also ready to make another Chalk album, with producer Christian Johansen.

"I have a lot of material that hasn't yet been released," she said.

First Listen: Paula Gale speaks with Selina Boland, aka 'Chalk' about 'My Chalk Stuff'

Do you have a new album of music that Weekend AM should know about for First Listen? Email us, wam@cbc.ca, and tell us about it.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paula Gale

Host-producer

Paula Gale is the host and producer of Weekend AM on CBC Radio One, based in St. John's. She's been a journalist in Newfoundland and Labrador for more than 20 years. Her email is paula.gale@cbc.ca

With files from Weekend AM

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