Zoon Covers Mary Margaret O’Hara’s “To Cry About” For SiriusXM Polaris Cover Sessions
The Polaris Music Prize has just launched the much-awaited 2023 edition of their Cover Sessions series, featuring some of Canada’s most celebrated artists. For those unfamiliar, the Cover Sessions series sees past Polaris Prize nominees put their unique spin on classic Canadian songs, resulting in stunning and often unexpected renditions.
The first release from this year’s series features the talented Zoon, who covers Mary Margaret O’Hara’s “To Cry About.” Led by Daniel Monkman, who’s also a core member of Ombiigizi, Zoon is known for their hypnotic soundscapes and dreamy melodies, which they weave together to create an ethereal listening experience. This rendition of “To Cry About” is no different, as Zoon stays true to the haunting melody of the original while adding their own ambient touches.
“We wanted to turn it into a folk song almost. Her (O’Hara’s) version was really experimental. And that’s almost opposite — usually I would take a really simple song and make it really abstract and kinda spaced out. But in this case it was already experimental and spaced out, so I was like, ‘How do I make it a basic, simple structured kind of song?’” said Monkman in an interview with Daniel Tal, the Cover Session’s video director.
Zoon’s version of the song has a much slower pace than the original, allowing the listener to fully immerse themselves in the raw emotion of the lyrics. The track is a melancholic piece that speaks to the pain of heartbreak and the overwhelming sense of loss that comes with it. Guest vocals from CJ Wiley capture the emotional weight of the song, while Michael Peter Olsen’s cello playing creates a dreamlike soundscape that is both haunting and beautiful.
The release of this cover session is sure to generate buzz amongst music lovers across Canada and beyond. Zoon’s “To Cry About” is a poignant and moving tribute to Mary Margaret O’Hara, a beloved Canadian artist who has inspired generations of musicians.
Zoon’s album Bleached Wavves was Polaris Short List-nominated in 2021, with Monkman also receiving a Short List nomination in 2022 as part of Ombiigizi for their album Sewn Back Together. Mary Margaret O’Hara’s Miss America album received Polaris Heritage Prize designation in 2016.
This is the 18th Cover Session commissioned by Polaris. Other acts who’ve contributed to the series include Kaia Kater, Corb Lund, Partner, Faith Healer, Pierre Kwenders, Jean-Michel Blais, Lindi Ortega, Weaves, Little Scream, Hannah Georgas, Les soeurs Boulay, Joel Plaskett, Zaki Ibrahim, Whitehorse, Sarah Harmer, Great Lake Swimmers and Arkells. These performances are available on the Polaris YouTube and Soundcloud channels.
This song is the first of five sessions that will be released in advance of this year’s Polaris Gala event happening September 19, 2023 at Toronto’s Massey Hall. Tickets for the Polaris Gala are on sale now.
Cover Sessions are presented by SiriusXM Canada.