Gyllian Mullen, aka Aslin, is paving a path for herself as a new artist in the music world with her latest release “The Sauvie Island Project”. Aslin’s lyrics paint the picture of her experiences with young love and the pain of growing up in different cities. Her music is well-versed, and you will get a taste of pop, country, rock, and folk when listening to her beautiful music.
We were able to speak with Aslin about her new single, her musical inspirations, and why she creates music.
1. It’s great to be hearing from you as a new artist! What was your inspiration behind your new single The Sauvie Island Project?
“The Sauvie Island Project” is a love song for my hometown called Sauvie Island. It’s really small, about a thousand people live there in rural Oregon roughly 30 minutes outside of Portland. It’s mostly farm land with natural untouched lakes and wildlife reservations where I lived in the same ranch style house for my whole life until I moved to New York City for college. I remember my first year at NYU yearning for nature and the kind of social life I had back in high school. The irony in both of the songs on “The Sauvie Island Project” is that isolation was never something I dreaded until COVID-19 occurred. In both of the songs “Perfume” and “Slow Rush” I tell stories about a main character feeling isolated from her family and her peers, that I feel are so relatable to anyone at this moment in time with social distancing.
2. Why did you choose to put your two songs “Perfume” and “Slow Rush” under one single? Is there an importance behind the two?
Originally, I had planned to make a full album but I thought these two songs worked better together as a way to reintroduce myself as a musician and lyricist after almost a year and a half of a break from releasing music. I have never wanted my music to become repetitive thematically and I felt myself writing songs I didn’t care very deeply about because I was rushing to complete a whole album. What I love about “Perfume” is how it’s about my relationship with my sister and I sharing the same room for our high school years. It’s not intended to be a romantic song at all, but about feeling someone else’s presence in a place you both once shared. Of course I write love songs and breakup songs, but themes like family and home repeat again and again in my writing so I wanted to have a song on the project that exemplified these ideas.
3. What does your music mean to you and what is your favorite part of writing new music?
The funny part about writing music is that I often don’t even know what the song is truly about until I’m completely done with it and have started eating a sandwich or doing something else. I realize a lyric I wrote because I thought it sounded cool was actually an emotion or feeling I had been struggling to pin down for weeks. I sit down and start messing around on guitar and sometimes that’s as far as I go and I set my guitar down and am done for the day. Other days, a whole song will spill out of me. I should probably start treating writing more like an exercise or a craft, but for the moment I feel as if I’m quite authentic with my writing style because I can always connect with a song I’ve written recently. I’m definitely addicted to writing opening lines of songs but sometimes I don’t have the follow through to finish. I write a lot though and try not to beat myself up about not finishing a song. Each song is a process and sometimes I’ll find myself finishing a song that I started to write months ago when I have more time to reflect on what I really want the message of the song to be.
4. With your music being mainly folk, which artists inspired the sound behind your beautiful music?
Growing up, my mom liked playing music with great singers and especially good harmonies. My first favorite artist was Mary J. Blidge who I credit a lot of my harmony skills to. It wasn’t until high school that I got really into indie rock and indie folk through my friend Grace. We would sit in the library and she would play all these new artists for me like Phoebe Bridgers and Soccer Mommy who inspired me to write more down tempo, reflective ballads that felt far more like a reflection of me as a person than the pop music I had been attempting to write. I love folk music because it mirrors the kind of nature I’m used to on Sauvie Island. The slow acoustic picking guitar sound fits the scenery of rural Oregon so perfectly that whenever I sit down to write, those sounds are what I tend to gravitate towards.
5. Where did your passion to create music originate from?
I love to sing, and I’ve always loved to sing, even when I sucked. It might be a younger child attention seeking trait that brought me to performing in musicals and writing my own music to perform at Open Mics, however as soon as I stepped onstage, I felt I had the passion to chase performing my whole life. To me, music is simply storytelling. My grandfather always told me that one of the most important things you can be in life is a good storyteller. Onstage, I have the ability to share countless stories, not just my own, to a crowd of attentive listeners and be able to connect with them without them even knowing who I am offstage.
6. Lastly, is there anyone that you have dreamt of collaborating with in the future?
I would love to work on a folk duet with a male artist. I just adore the way male and female voices fit together and I’ve never gotten the chance to sing with a serious male musician who I feel would appreciate the kind of sensitivity to my music. Shakey Graves would be amazing to write a song with. He used to do musical theatre as well so I feel like our styles and personalities would mesh perfectly for a folky duet.