Upcoming Borealis Music Series artist shares her influences and what drives her as a songwriter.

When did you realize your interest in music was deeper than most?
I went to an arts high school called Mayfield Secondary School in Caledon, Ontario for the voice program. Throughout my four years there, I trained classically and did a bunch of musical theatre on the side. My deeper connection to music really began then because it became a much bigger and more penetrative part of my every day. High school is such an emotional time in our lives and I found having music to turn to, with this super expressive and strong community of people built into it, had a really influential effect on me as a person and musician. It’s where I started finding my own voice. It was once I graduated that I began writing my own songs and pursuing my own music career. I moved to Toronto to attend U of T and played shows around town a lot, getting to know the Canadian music scene. I met a bunch of fellow musicians and friends who introduced me to new inspiring music and began touring. For a big country, the Canadian music scene quickly began to feel like one big family. The artists, venues, and audiences across the country make it a really intimate and inviting community to be a part of.

What was your first performance and what do you remember about the experience?
Caledon Idol was my first time performing for an audience in any official capacity. I was in high school at the time studying classical voice and this was my first chance to sing songs that I listened to and loved. Sarah McLaughlin, Jewel, Dixie Chicks… All of my friends and family came out and sat at the pub ordering lots of food and drinks. It was such a fun experience. It was a very safe environment for me to get comfortable on stage because everyone was rooting for me! I have no doubt that’s where my appetite for performance was born. The songwriting followed shortly after.

How would you characterize your work as a musician and songwriter?
Part of why I named my most recent album “Separate Rooms” was because I felt it was representative of me as an artist. We all exist in a series of different rooms and have different versions of ourselves, that make us, US. As a musician and thinking of this album, I asked myself; am I a singer songwriter, a folk musician, some new age indie artist? I realize now that I am all of those things and I am comfortable being in all those different places at the same time. That’s what makes us so interesting as humans, how multifaceted and layered we are and our capacity to be many different things. Separate Rooms reflects that idea on the album. It’s genre bending. There are different moods throughout. I had the confidence this time around to let it move along many different paths and I hope to continue to push those boundaries and never get too comfortable working within certain frameworks as an artist.

What sets your latest album, Separate Rooms, apart from your previous work?
I wanted this album to have more pop sensibilities than my previous two albums. There are still quieter moments on the album where the songs get stripped back to the basics, but I love that the band is very present throughout. I wanted this album to embrace the many moods it carries and feel sonically explorative because that excites me. I think of this album as a natural evolution from my previous releases. By the time we got to recording Separate Rooms, I felt more confident both in the studio and as an artist. I believe that also had to do with that fact that I am in my 30’s and more aware of who I am and what I want to say as an artist. It freed me up from trying to be anything and allowed me to be vulnerable, direct and adventurous.

What music are you currently listening to?
I am currently listening to Damien Jurado’s newest album, The Horizon Just Laughed, and Margo Price, All American Made.

Megan Bonnell – Friday March 22, 2019

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