Plumes on “When I Walk In,” Classical Influences, and the Power of an Unplugged Phone


“When I Walk In” feels like an unexpectedly pleasant crossover episode as a whimsical blend of indie pop and classical music. The track feels current with its clean production and poignant, personal lyricism, while the simple ensemble of three instruments moves you like an intimate concert hall performance. Veronica Charnley of Plumes’ voice is paired with soulful viola, in what feels like a push and pull between the two as the song unfolds. While the viola holds the heaviness of the lyrics, the words flow from Charnley in airy, effortless breaths. The richness and dreamlike atmosphere, reminiscent of impressionist music, draws you into the winding melody as it takes shape before quietly settling. The height of the journey happens in the instrumental section, where the viola sings before giving way to the piano, which begins the delicate resolution of the track. 

“Sealed off from the fire of love, 

Walked right in and filled up the space” 

The song feels like an open letter to a beloved someone. Though it’s unclear whether Plumes or the recipient filled the room as they entered, the memory of them continues to permeate her space as she moves through life. When you walk into the space Plumes herself has crafted, you slip into a dream of fond and forgotten memories. I love when music is used to express words that would otherwise remain left unsaid, and Plumes delivers her letter with equal parts elegance and a heavy heart. 

In the music video, what was the inspiration behind the shots of singing into the rotary phone?

Singing into the unplugged rotary phone was cathartic for me because over the years, having moved so many times to different countries, and then during the pandemic, I’ve had to deal with emotional events and make difficult decisions over the phone. To sing into a useless phone for this video was me taking my power back, you could say. I think we can all relate.

Who are your musical influences?

My early influences are Joni Mitchell’s Blue, Bjork, Liz Phair… in my late teens I discovered jazz and classical music while studying voice at Concordia University in Montreal.

How did you come to combine classical and pop elements in your music?

As I came late to classical music, my way of “rebelling” was to explore it, study it and integrate it into my songwriting. It’s such endless pleasure!

What do you hope listeners will take away from the song?

I hope listeners are soothed by this song and that it helps you feel less alone, especially after what we’ve been through and what we’re currently facing.


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