Nano Talrose has always used music as a tool to express his deepest feelings. While talking over Zoom from a recording studio in London, Ontario, he pauses for a second to figure out how to properly articulate the therapeutic value he finds songwriting: “Music helps me to express myself,” he says with a smile, “in a way I can’t while talking to a friend.”

In the past, most of his meditations have turned into soft, thoughtful pop ballads, but working on his debut EP, about a turbulent past relationship, he’s found himself taking new creative risks to express complex feelings. The result is a foray into a slightly edgier, more rock-oriented sound.

Talrose has always been interested in the rockier side of pop, and his favorite artists include Olivia Rodrigo and M83 – even though his early releases were gentle love songs. While working a job in the banking industry, he wrote music in his spare time to deal with emotional moments in his life. His first single, “Stay Quiet,” released in 2019, was a minimalist ballad that paired his lovestruck vocals with a finger-picked acoustic guitar. The sounds may have changed somewhat now, but his emotive, personal lyrics, and expressive vocals have remained the same.

The last few years have been a period of transition for the singer-songwriter. He left his job and used three years of savings to pursue his pop-star dreams full-time. Moving from Niagara to London, Ontario, he had to connect with a whole new community of musicians. Eventually, he met a drummer, bassist, and electric guitarist, building new creative partnerships that led to him taking new risks with his music. Now, Talrose meets with guitarist Hayden Dyson once a week to record demos and flesh out song ideas. “It’s great working with him, because he’s helping me experiment with more rock elements,” says Talrose. “‘He shreds. He’s a great guitar player.”

It seems to be working. Early in 2022, Talrose was briefly interviewed nationally by CTV’s eTalk, which called him “an up-and-coming star you’re going to want to keep your eye on this year.” To that end, Talrose and Dyson have been working together on the upcoming EP, which will tell the story of a fluctuating relationship he was in from 2017 to 2021, and the rollercoaster of emotion he experienced. Talrose plans for the EP to follow the narrative arc of an love story, going from the honeymoon period to the heartbreaking end. Working with new sounds has helped him express himself: “I have more options now with what genres I want to throw in,” says Talrose.

He released several singles last year, co-written with producer Damian Birdsey. Talrose penned “Strangers”  back in 2020, about a sorrow he experienced; but a year later, he re-tooled and released it as a more danceable song. In October of 2021, he released his latest single, “Falling Deeper,” about going head-first into new love. His voice works well with the new instrumentation, as syncopated drumming and prominent guitar strums elevate the song to a greater intensity.

Talrose has grown a great deal in a short time, finding his voice – and in working on his EP, the singer-songwriter has also located his inner rockstar. “It’s super-satisfying to be able to let this side out of me,” he says.