Several years ago, Storry was leading a double life. While studying opera at the University of Toronto, the Mississauga-based singer-songwriter was also pursuing a pop music career. She started working closely with a producer and they began dating. But he became abusive and forced Storry to become a dancer at a strip club.

“It was hard to not tell my friends and family what was happening. I thought I would be disowned if they found out I was a dancer,” says Storry. When the relationship ended, he took all the music they’d recorded together. Storry was devastated, but eventually it led to a musical rebirth.

Over four-and-a-half years, she wrote around 100 songs that fit with the themes of her life. As part of a forthcoming trilogy of autobiographical albums, Storry recently-released her debut album, CH III: The Come Up, based on her experiences leaving and returning to sex work, and combatting misogyny in the music industry and co-dependency in relationships. Working with her friend and musician Yotam Baum, she created an album that oscillates between genres with ease, ranging from soulful funk and R&B, to hip-hop and emotional pop, with Storry’s powerful voice always at the forefront.

“Now, it’s like my voice has blossomed in every way”

After she couldn’t find a producer for CH III, she decided to do it herself. “It was my first time producing,” she says. “I hired musicians and we recorded everything in three days, because that’s all the time I could afford. I thought to myself, ‘I have to fake it until I make it,’ and it worked. As women, I think we underestimate how much we know. I’ll see men who have a bit of knowledge act like they can do anything. It’s that audacity that gets them opportunities.”

Female empowerment is an overt theme on the album. Storry describe the song “Bow Down” as a women’s anthem: “I’m saying that women are the true rulers. We are the makers of all things,” she says. As for the hundreds of songs that were stolen from her, Storry doesn’t miss them at all. “At the time I had very low self-esteem, and those feelings translated into the music. You could hear how mousey and insecure I was,” says Storry. “But now, it’s like my voice has blossomed in every way.”