The Oh Wells: a dash of Taylor Swift's songwriting combined with Juno's quirky charm

What do you get when you mix Taylor Swift's songwriting charm with elements of the quirky, indie flick Juno?  Why, The Oh Wells of course.

See video

"I used to say “oh well” after every sentence ... and it kind of got into everyone's head [like a catchphrase]. I think it was 5 in the morning and we’re [The Oh Wells] like, "It should be 'the oh wells.'" We were just kind of kidding but the next morning, we thought it back and we're like, “Yeah that works."

- Sarah Jickling, on how she came up with the name of her band

"Oh well" is the kind of expression you might utter in the face of mild disappointment. For Sarah Jickling, however, this catchphrase appropriately captures the lead singer/songwriter's indie-folk band, The Oh Wells.

Deemed as "too cute for its own good" by The Tyee, The Oh Wells have gained a solid fan base for their personal and honest lyrics.

With themes of heartbreak embedded within their songs, their music is ironically sunny and upbeat. "Oh man, my heart's broken," Jickling describes, "but whatever ... ['oh well'] sing and dance about it!"

Peaked

Back in May, The Oh Wells made the top twenty for the Peak Performance Project. Created by The Peak 100.5 FM and Music BC, the "Project" was developed to assist emerging local talent around British Columbia. 

Unlike most music programs, the “Project” grants participants the opportunity to learn how to thrive in the music business, with marketing and promotions serving as important aspects. The competition lasts for six months and will wrap up with a final showcase in October.

A huge fan of the Peak Radio station, Jickling got her first taste of this competition last year when she watched Behind Sapphire perform in the “Project”.

“I was just watching in amazement at all the great things that they got to do," she recalls.

"Once they finished they were going on tour with all these new opportunities. At that point we were too young to enter, but I couldn’t wait until next year." The age limit for the "Project" requires participants to be 19 years of age. 

Jickling, now 20, added, "And we got in which was so amazing.”

Photo courtesy of The Oh Wells

Humble beginnings

Initially, Jickling put little effort into music. Inspired by British singer, Lily Allen, she particularly admired "her blunt way of saying things."

"This is what I want to say, I’m going to say it exactly like that."

Jickling started posting her music online when she was 15 and quickly gained recognition and praise among her peers. It was "fun and kind of just blew up," she comments upon her early days. But Jickling attributes different things that made her reconsider the thought of pursuing a music career. 

"For me, it was when people started saying - this might sound cheesy - that my songs helped them," she explains.

These reactions got her thinking about the endless possibilities she could achieve. How far could she go if she actually tried and committed 100 per cent to it? With these thoughts lingering in her head, she coincidentally met her original band members during this time. Two years later, The Oh Wells was born.

"I just had a lot of people, even people I didn't know, emailed and facebook messaged me saying, 'I just went through a break-up and I listened to your song a million times a day.'"

"That's when I thought, 'Whoa, people actually care.'"

And look at her now.

More in Music

Ariel: 'brave spirit[s]'

Youthful - but polished - quartet pinch-hits for Chamber Music Friends

Worry. (But still Be Happy)

Circlesinging cares away with Bobby McFerrin, Gimme5 and Musica Intima at Chan Centre

Scroungers at the Movable Feast

VanOpera showcases up-and-comers in Barbe-Doucet's Jazz Age staging of "La Bohème"
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.