Susie Yankou couldn’t choose between screenwriting and music, so she just “threw everything at the wall” to see what would stick. And while the former brought the Toronto-born artist to Los Angeles for film school, it was ultimately the latter that took off faster. So, Yankou now focuses full-time on songwriting and performing under the moniker of BARKLEY – though she admits that “both will always be part of my life.”

As a songwriter, Yankou channels her storytelling skills to write conversational lyrics, as she does on her latest single, “3AM,” a synth-pop anthem about an unattainable lover. “I always really loved writing dialogue,” she explains. That style of plain-spoken honesty and narrative-building has paid off so far, especially when combined with musically infectious hooks and Yankou’s gorgeously soaring vocals.

BARKLEY honed her writing skills at SOCAN’s Kenekt Song Camp while living in L.A., and calls her move to the city “legitimately life-changing.” She says her short time there felt like “writing songs in paradise” and, most importantly, it taught her “to just let yourself be in awe of the talent around you, and to follow people’s ideas.”

While her own instincts are an integral part of the process, her time writing with others has hammered home a lesson she learned from the song camp. “The song is only as good as the weakest writer in the room,” she says. “I’ve learned to come prepared to sessions, but also not be precious about my ideas. My number one rule is probably to let the best idea win and to not have an ego about where it came from. If the song is great, that’s a win for everyone.” And so far, BARKLEY is definitely winning.