Life experiences shape the art we create. This is my story.
I grew up in Brantford, Ontario, in a strong and fun-loving family. I was loved and felt loved.
At 18 months, I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Not knowing how badly the disease would progress, doctors advised keeping me active. I enjoyed swimming, softball, skating, and Highland dance. To exercise my fingers, I began piano lessons before I turned five and could read music before I could read books.
I began voice lessons as a teenager. Finding success in music competitions and comfort in playing for hours most nights, I decided music would be my career—I couldn’t think of anything else I’d like to do. After two years at Wilfrid Laurier University, studying arias, lieder, and chansons, I quit. That style wasn’t for me. I also felt isolated and hadn’t made any new friends there.
My husband and I moved to Boston in 2001 where I applied to Berklee College of Music—and was accepted! Having only studied classical music before, I didn’t know what a chart or a lead sheet was. They placed me as a beginner, but there I was at the very best school for contemporary music. It was exhilarating. I had wonderful teachers. But my fears, self-doubt and anxieties prevented me from taking full advantage of all the opportunities Berklee had to offer.
In my mid-thirties, my mother was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH). For nearly seven years my father cared for her 24/7. My sister and I helped, along with some Personal Service Workers whose assistance was indispensable.
It was my mom’s disease, however, that led me to pursue music again. Life was passing quickly and time was running out. I sought out local musicians in my new small-town home of Alexandria and found lots of people making beautiful art of all kinds! I began performing ragtime, joined a local Big Band, then a jazz band, formed a trio of my own, started performing solo gigs, and just put myself out there. As difficult as it can be for women to start or restart careers after raising a family, I resolved that it’s never too late to chase my dreams.
Basic tracks were laid in September 2018, song arrangements were prepared, and with an Artist Development Grant from FACTOR we were ready to start recording. Then, in October, my mom died. We had to reschedule sessions for laying down piano, bass, and drums. Returning to the studio by December, we completed Spare Skirt in May 2019.
In the fall of 2020 I wrote, and recorded “Be Still,” a Christmas song that found its way on radio stations across Canada and on CBC’s Holiday Playlist. It continues to get spins across the country during the holidays.
Most recently, I wrote a bunch of songs with very different stylistic inspirations. So, I decided to record two EPs – one jazz, and one contemporary pop. One Voice and In Your Arms will be released soon!
In my songwriting, I want my lyrics—informed by my own life experiences—to speak you and to your experiences.
All I want to do is sing.