What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
9 years ago I was working a high-profile, high-responsibility job for a giant corporation…what seems like a lifetime ago now. I adored my life at that moment so it was really surprising when my heart just kept insisting that I make a change…and finally when it was my 28th birthday, I decided to really follow it. I quit my job, sold my house, and packed up a Uhaul to move across the country to a city that I knew little about other than their appreciation and love for the arts. Since then, I got some intense musical training by performing with at least 30 or so different bands and musicians that have taken me on tour or into studios all around the world. Making this giant leap forced me to not only discover my own sound and voice, but it also helped me dive deep into myself and learn, the hard way, who I truly was. Now, I can’t stop myself from writing and creating,
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
I am releasing the first single off of my new album (Nowhere In Time) due to be released early 2020. It is accompanied with an incredible short film/dance production that I developed with my live show partner, dancer Brittney Canda, and director Vincent René-Lortie and his company, Telescope Films. I am so excited to finally release this film in conjunction with the single…it’s been in development for 2 years, from the moment we developed the concept to acquiring the funding and the incredible cast of dancers and film crew.
The song WRAP ME UP was born out of a time when I was spending a few years in and out of various therapy and self-help groups in order to deal with the pain I was experiencing resulting from being in an abusive relationship. The words and feelings that flew out of me when writing this song almost bring me back to the time when I was in the thick of the relationship, and there is a huge sense of love and compassion (which I still feel) towards the person who was indeed himself in so much pain. And so the film’s concept seemed only fitting, as you see a group attending some form of a self-help group; it’s great because it shows them letting out their pain and anger (rather than bottling it up), and then finally resolving it and eventually coming to a place of love. What is ironic is that my character is not even able to accept her own advice, which literally happened for years in my personal life. The choreography, filmwork and performers in the film are absolutely fantastic, and it was such a blast to create this film with Brittney and Vincent’s incredible direction and choreography. I’ve always wanted to be a dancer so it was a dream come true to attend the rehearsals and work with some of Montreal’s most talented and eclectic dancers.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
I was heavily influenced by Julee Cruise, Bjork, Tori Amos, PJ Harvey, and Sarah McLachlan, really bad-ass women who paved the way for other aspiring female musicians and never made me think twice about wanting to be open and share so much passion and depth. And then a good mix of 90’s rock/electronic, like Radiohead, Orbital, and Boards of Canada. When I listen to my music, I can hear some of these influences coming to light. They also remind me that it’s good to find your unique sound and rock.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
My music comes from an artistic, meditative headspace. When I write my songs, I am not concerned about following a formula or traditional song format. I am from a long line of visual artists, and as a result, I look at composing music like how a painter looks at a blank canvas. All of my songs are born out of improvisations, literally, I do these marathon solo improvising sessions that I record; I let everything from the music to the lyrics naturally flow out, and then I listen back to these recordings and find the true magic moments or gems, and then reconstruct them until I’ve created a “song.” This is why many of my songs can be very long and droney, and sometimes they start in one place and end in another and are jam-packed with some deep and intense feelings or whatever I might be needing to release in that moment. What comes out tends to surprise me and I have no control over it – it is a complete form of therapeutic meditation where sometimes the messages I’m singing are messages for myself, or messages to the “world.” I try not to change the lyrics and music too much, and I almost struggle trying to capture the same feeling and sound as the original recordings. It is definitely more important to me to create music that is unique, but also comes from a deep and vulnerable/honest place.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Album: Anything by Boards of Canada: I have been listening to their music nearly on a daily basis for years (it’s the only mix on my running pod; feel-good, vibey, brain music)
Book: IQ84 by Haruki Murakami, because I’ll finally have time to finish it!
Movie: Oh, I don’t know. Something funny like So I Married An Axe Murderer or Grandma’s Boy, because it’s important to laugh and be silly.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
If I really HAD to choose, it would be performing live. This is definitely my greatest passion and also why I have a hard time saying no to anyone who wants me to join their band/go on tour with them. I adore connecting with humans and creating that magic that you can only do with your bandmates and an audience in a live show.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
Oh gosh, I feel like I could write a novel of all the crazy tour stories, but one really sweet and memorable moment was when I was invited to jump on the tour bus with Lou Reed and his band through Italy and France. Over the days, I had a few moments with Lou, and finally we got to chatting about his love for tai-chi as he had really gotten into it in the latter part of his life. I recounted to him how my grandfather was a tai-chi master from Guangzhou and was one of the first tai chi masters to introduce it to Toronto. One night, Lou asked me if he could talk to my father about tai-chi. Obviously (and without any care of how expensive it would be), I got on my cell phone and called my parents win Maui and got my dad on the phone. Of course both of my parents are like, “Lou who??” I just remember sitting there mortified as Lou tried to have a conversation with my father who has the THICKEST Cantonese accent and they were both just trying to understand each other until my father just eventually hung up on Lou, hahaha. I still don’t know if my father has any idea who he was even talking to!!
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
Keep Your Head from my first EP – I can’t really say I’ve ever heard any other 9 minute tracks quite like this, and it’s a mix of electronic sounds and raw violin/Iranian drums/trumpet.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
I’ll finally be releasing my new record, Nowhere in Time, this coming spring (yippeee!). And hopefully some new material with The Besnard Lakes too. I am also going to get to town recording all of these song ideas I have for the next couple of records, one being ACOUSTIC (only piano and vocals), and one being very electronic, working in the studio with Pheek, a Montreal electronic whiz.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
What advice can you give to young women (or anyone!) wanting to become artists:
FOLLOW YOUR HEART and your dreams. Let them guide you. Always always believe in yourself because life is just way too short to not go out there, work hard and make it possible. And always remember your self-worth (and don’t waste time with people who don’t!!!).
Photo credits: Camille Gladu-Drouin
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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