Picture this: a modern-day Janis Joplin with gritty rhythms reminiscent of Jimmy Page; the type of music that would suit the background of a intense, dimly-lit scene on True Detective. She’s an effortlessly perceptive artist wearing round, black Ray-Bans, a white tucked-in t-shirt, and plaid pants. Her eyes are filled with an eagerness to share her art. She has a soulful, old-school voice filled with warmth that leaves you tapping your foot as she croons in a low-lit Boston venue, a crimson Gretsch Semi-Hollow guitar slung over her shoulder.

This is Tory Silver, the captivating Ohio-born and Boston-based musician who believes that the best thing about music is that it brings people together. “It doesn’t matter your beliefs, your political views, or any of that,” she tells me. “It just doesn’t. Music will, no matter what, bring people closer.” Silver is an impassioned individual who believes that staying true to your uniqueness is the key to being a successful musician. She draws inspiration for her songs from bossa nova, a type of Brazilian music style that came into popularity in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Her recent single, “Why Oh Why (a favorite of Silver’s to perform live, and one of the picks on Sound of Boston’s list of best local songs of 2018), has a similar, smooth Latin beat. Folk and rock also power her to create a fresh style that mixes these sounds together, influenced by bands such as Sigur Rós, the Black Keys, and Haley Heynderickx.

Silver has released two albums, one live and one studio, as well as an EP. The title of her first studio album, Observere, comes from the Norwegian word for “to observe.” According to Silver, her Norwegian heritage and love of walks where she can observe the city and its surroundings strongly influence her songwriting, even in college, she constantly drew inspiration from the world around her. Silver, originally from just south of Cleveland, learned guitar at a School of Rock summer camp. “I originally wanted to play drums,” she laughs. “But I got my hands on a guitar, and the rest was history.” She graduated from Principia College in Elsah, Illinois with a degree in mass communications. Silver did open mics, where she performed and sang in front of fellow students. When I asked her what made her pursue it professionally, she revealed that she felt she put the concept of being a professional musician on a pedestal. “I saw another student that I’d known in college [through the open mic nights] beginning to make music professionally, and I thought, ‘Hey, I want to do that too. Why shouldn’t I? I want to keep going.’”

After graduation, Silver came to Boston, where she has played in venues all around the city, from Great Scott to Atwood’s Tavern and O’Brien’s Pub. She’s also played in New York City; her favorite venue is Pete’s Candy Store, a cozy, intimate venue that nurtures blossoming artists. As musician who aspires to one day tour full time and travel with a permanent band, Silver understands that you need to keep a sturdy mind frame. “I think the most challenging thing in being a growing artist is staying humble and not comparing yourself to others,” Silver muses. “You need to keep yourself in check in your own head, you know? Doing the right thing, having your own path, and understanding what will happen, will happen in time. Don’t give up on it and stay true to what you’re doing.”

After asking her what she thought of the Boston music scene in comparison to Cleveland and New York, Silver pointed out that Boston’s artistic crowd is tight-knit, something she admires about the city. “It’s such a reward,” she says. “You know, you’re meeting other musicians, and you see them at their gigs and they see you at yours, and sooner than later, you become close. You form support systems, and I’m grateful for them.”

Silver’s bossa nova and rock melodies on guitar create the type of music that is nothing short of hypnotizing. Her enthusiasm and ambition to produce music that will captivate her audience shows that Tory Silver is a musician who will be producing some brilliant tracks in the near future.

Catch Tory Silver at Great Scott on March 12.


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