TORONTO — Geoffroy was enjoying breakfast in the northern reaches of Thailand when he decided to finally release his grasp on his debut album, “Coastline.”
Sitting alongside a local Thai family, who was hosting the Montreal backpacker in the village of Pai, he emailed his producer calling off any further tinkering with the album that he’d spent two years obsessing over.
“I’d rather go slow and do what I want to do,” he says. “I consider myself more of a sailboat than a speed boat.”
Finding the right pace has always been a fine balance for the 29-year-old musician, born Geoffroy Sauve, whose “Coastline” was named to the long list for the Polaris Music Prize.
His sailboat analogy is also fitting for the musician’s blend of smooth electronic folk that’s the perfect soundtrack for the sizzling humidity of summer.
Tracks like “Coastline” and “Trouble Child” drift along at a pleasurable pace that never overstays its welcome. Others are woven with the laidback vibe of a globetrotter who has experienced many flavours of the earth.
While he’s enjoying the heightened buzz since getting the Polaris nod last month, he’s also rejecting some pressures of the record industry.
He got his first taste of the spotlight after following a friend’s urging to audition for the French-Canadian edition of “The Voice” in 2014. His sleepy vocals on a cover of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” won over the judges and he progressed deep in the competition before being eliminated in the ninth episode.
In reflection, the singer is happy the judges showed him the door when they did. He believes the longer he stayed in the competition, the harder it would be to forge a persona separate from his stint on TV.
“It just gave me a kick in the butt — like, dude you need to take this seriously,” he says.
Connecting with a local producer, he released an EP, which led to an offer to record a full album.
“Coastline” was composed and written as Sauve made every attempt to escape his familiar Montreal surroundings. He dipped out of the country a number of times for inspiration before winding up in Thailand during the mixing process.
When the album was finished, he found a reason to travel again by shooting the “Sleeping On My Own” music video on the Mexico coast.
Sauve reached out to locals who ran a temazcal — a type of sweat lodge — and the resulting video follows his mind-altering journey taking medicinal mushrooms.
“It’s like being born again,” Sauve says. “We all did shrooms, the whole team. Everybody. It was amazing.”
Even with an album to promote, Sauve sought out a low-key summer, choosing to play only a small number of music festivals and events which carried a certain status, like Montreal’s Osheaga, where he’ll take the stage on Aug. 4.
He’s also not buying into the suggestion that musicians need to crank out new songs every few months to stay relevant. Despite finding his strongest following on Spotify, he doesn’t intend to feed that beast.
“If you rush things, obviously the quality is going to come down,” he reasons.
The musician is still figuring out his next steps. Knowing the Canadian music industry is no sure bet, he’s still holding down a full-time job scouting music producers for TV ads and films.
“As any entrepreneur will tell you, don’t quit your day job until you honestly can’t do both any more,” he says.
If that doesn’t happen in the shorter term, he’s fine with just enjoying the present.
“I think it goes for a lot of things in life,” he says. ”You get to where you want to get, but more relaxed.”