Now Who Owns The Night

Very excited to announce that this week I released my new EP, Now Who Owns The Night! This collection of 5 songs written in my favourite ramshackle piano shop in Camden Market was recording by Vancouver's Cody Taylor (Fiend Recordings), and features a whole bunch of local talents including Lisa Petersen, Daniel Baxter, Bronwyn Malloy, and even some transatlantic trumpeting from Will Sullivan in London. 

For the next month I'll be touring it around Germany, Holland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden with Alexandria Maillot and Sam Lynch. It's going to be wild, so please keep in touch and see what we get up to! 

EP and Tour

In exactly one week I'll be releasing a new EP entitled Now Who Owns The Night. This past Saturday I had what I'm pretty sure was my favourite show in Vancouver in which we had a little pre-release celebration. Put on by Terrified Swan Records, it was a night of music without words (the Accidental String Quartet), words without music (poetry from Ellie Sawatsky and Erin Kirsh), and then myself which a choir full of beautiful angels (Roisin Adams, Emily Best, Caro Deady, Gina Loes, Bronwyn Malloy, and Ellie Sawatsky again), guitar from Sam Romero and violin from Lisa Petersen.

This time tomorrow I'll be on a plane across the pond to embark on a wee tour around Europe for a month. Getting over our jet lag in England for a few days, Sam Lynch, Alexandria Maillot and I will head to Amsterdam on Monday and go from there. Keep up with us over all the socials - we have a three-seater van, a cool playlist, and some really fun gigs booked and we're excited to show you where we'll go! 

A New Year Reflection

I used to really like winter. I’ve always preferred to be too cold than too hot. I loved how it used to get dark before I finished class, and going ride my horse in the pitch black. I used to love coming home to a warm fireplace, home-cooked food, and a dog to cuddle with. I liked my half an hour TV limit of watching 'The Simpsons' when my dad came home from work, and the half carton of ice cream I’d occasionally sneak out of the freezer. I liked the freshly baked muffins my mum would make in the mornings, and bundling up for the drive to school in our Volvo station wagon, listening to a new book tape we’d have picked up from the library. I liked having an excuse to go to bed, as I never used to like staying up late (I still don’t really – sleep is one of the things in life that gives me most pleasure).

I used to keep my favourite books by the fireplace, and would read them over and over again – dog-eared, with broken spines and ripped-pages. I didn’t even need to read them as I pretty much could recite my favourite authors verbatim; Beverly Cleary, Kit Pearson, CS Lewis, JK Rowling… I knew what I liked, I knew what was comfortable, and I used to just stay there (and to this day I sometimes blame my unwillingness to branch out growing up, whether that was book-wise, music-wise, people-wise on my current inability to articulate a lot of my ideas in a coherent sort of way). After about the age of eleven, when I left the school that had been a steady sort of thing since I was very young, my life seemed to go in two-year phases. My parents and I would find a school that I thought would be good fit. I’d get that nervous-excited feeling over the summer, leading up to a change. The anticipation of meeting new people, the blank slate, the feeling of being able to be a new person – these were all things that made me excited. I used to buy all new stationary, and everything would be all set up for the new school year to start. And September would begin, and I was always the new person. And then somehow I would find my way in, everything bright, shiny, and new, and I would feel like I’d hit the jackpot. Then something would happen when all the shininess wore off, and I would start to feel settled in, more comfortable and over the next few months I’d start to realize things I didn’t like about where I was. The school was too strict, the people weren’t who I thought they were, I wasn’t able to do exactly what I wanted to do, and I would sink into deep depressions about my current state of affairs. I’d always be able to find something wrong. Summer would come, and I’d dread the whole three months about going back. I’d trudge through the next year, while my mother would frantically search for something that was a better fit for the following year…and this is how it went until I graduated (from a school that was probably the best fit…however slightly more relaxed as I could skip class more than I could before…oh how I hated school).

And so it’s gone on that every couple of years I try to re-invent myself, as everyone does when a new year provides a blank slate. Something always has to be improved, changed, reinvigorated, abandoned…and around winter time, in hibernation mode when I wrap myself in a cocoon, refuse to go outside and I am content with feeling incredibly settled, there is the unsettlement that always seems to come into view. I have a skill in finding people and places I like, and can feel comfortable in a new place very easily. And while I like feeling comfortable, it is the uncomfortable that makes me grow, and I ultimately like to grow. I end up resenting being comfortable, subconsciously masking this by finding things wrong with my current state and constantly searching for the place or the activity that will distract me from the burden of living with myself. And so January, with the pressure of reinvention and self-improvement coming at you at full force, with everyone asking what your new years resolutions are and everyone frantically trying to fix whatever society has been telling them is wrong with themselves, forces one to reflect. And upon reflection, I’ve come to recognize that I am always in planning mode - I’ve been planning for myself in the constant search of this ‘extra’ ordinary life I want to live - totally not content with being okay about where I am at on a day to day basis and always on the search for improvement. I recognize that in the end and underneath all of these that I are only left with my self – the basic self, with my flaws, my insecurities, and my anxieties. And realize that the self must be treated with kindness, in order to think clearly of what move to make next.

And so I used to like winter. The grey never bothered me and the rain gave me an excuse to stay inside and hide. But now the winter scares me because I don't have constant warmth and light to keep me positive, because it makes me think about the things I need to do to push myself forward, and reminds me that muffins will only be made for me by my mother very, very occasionally. (And she didn’t even make me any when I was home for Christmas; shock, horror! Maybe I am officially an adult…but then again she did make other delicious things…)

 And so I have not made resolutions, other than to keep on this path that I am on – being constantly open to trying new things, to constantly be learning and doing. And so here I am doing – this task of getting my blog back up and running, and experimenting with the cool new pens I got delivered to me in my Christmas stocking…

And while I have you here, stay tuned because there will be a lot of new music popping up over the year, exciting! Maybe Winter hasn't been so bad after all...

International Women's Day!

I am surrounded by so many inspiring women. Throughout my life I've had so many to look up to - friends, aunts, cousins, teachers, mentors, bosses, artists, musicians, playwrights, actors, writers, entrepreneurs, philosophers, doctors; women I know, women I read about, women I aspire to be like, and mostly my own mother - you only have one, and mine is pretty darn amazing so I feel pretty lucky.  

I've decided to narrow down three women in history that I have come across over the past few years and who I thought I'd share little tidbits about. There are so many to count (an endless list - alive and not alive) - but only gave myself three so I could try and diversify. Each one has a incredible story attached behind them, so if you feel like it I'd recommend reading up about them!

Jane Digby (1807-1881, Aristocrat-turned-Adventurer)

I found out about Jane Digby through one of my favourite books by Lesley Blanch, 'The Wilder Shores of Love' - which is tells about the lives of 4 very different women who were all very ahead of their times. Jane Digby's story was so fascinating, like something out of someone's imagination and something you'd not expect out of a women in that day and age. In (very) short: She was the daughter of an Admiral, and ‘promiscuous’ for her time - married to a Baron who became the Governor of India, had two children, one of which survived, had affairs with her cousin, then a prince, was divorced from the Baron, became the lover of Ludwig I of Bavaria, then married different Baron, found another lover, this time a Greek Count, whom her husband then challenged to a duel, then was divorced again, then converted to be Greek Orthodox faith and married the Count, had a kid who then died really young falling off a balcony, they divorced, she had an affair with the King of Greece, then with a hero of the Greek Revolution, and spent the next few years living in caves, riding horses, and hunting in the mountains, and after many years he turned out to be unfaithful and at the age of 46 she travelled to the middle east and fell in love with Sheikh Abdul Medjuel el Mezrab, 20 years her junior, and thus begins a happy 28 year long marriage.  Lots of other fascinating adventures between there. Apologies for the run on sentence.

Clara Schumann (Pianist, Teacher, Composer - 1819 -1896)

I love this quote by Clara Schumann:

"Composing gives me great pleasure... there is nothing that surpasses the joy of creation, if only because through it one wins hours of self-forgetfulness, when one lives in a world of sound"

For a long time after she died, Clara Schumann was not widely recognized as a composer, but was better known as a pianist - having given concerts from as early as 13, one of the first to perform from memory. She was the main breadwinner for her family, and the sole one when her husband, Robert Schumann, died. Never accepted charity, even when a group of musicians offered to have a fundraising concert for her and her family. She had a very tragic life, four of her eight children and her husband died before her, and when one of her sons died, took on his children to raise as well. A brave women, she was famous for walking through the front lines of the city of Dresden in 1849 during the May uprising, defying an bunch of armed men, rescuing her family, then walking back the same way again.

Francesca Woodman (Photographer - 1938-1981)

I really love Francesca Woodman's work - I find her imagery really similar to what I think about when I'm writing. As some of you may know, I love ghost stories, and find a lot of inspiration in abandoned buildings, so I was immediately drawn to her when I first heard her name. I was then drawn in by her story which is equally fascinating. Comitting suicide at the age of 22, she lived a short, intense, prolific life.  Never famous in her lifetime, she had an incredible collection of evocative portraits that has influenced an entire generation of artists. She was usually the subject of her photographs, one time saying only because it was a matter of ‘convenience’ as she was always available. Her pictures are simple, sophisticated, in stark, empty settings, and frequently appears in the nude – the long exposure times cause a lot of blurredness, resulting in really haunting imagery. Sadly, she suffered from depression, and, rarely satisfied with her work, she fell from a window of her New York apartment. Not leaving a note, she wrote this in a letter to a friend a fews before her death: 'My life at this point is like very old coffee-cup sediment and I would rather die young leaving various accomplishments, ie some work, my friendship with you, some other artefacts intact, instead of pell-mell erasing all of these delicate things.’

 

And there you have it! I'd love to hear from you: women you find interesting and why. Always looking to be inspired. 

Ye Olde (mini) Spring Tour

April 29th marks a year since that wonderful day when I arrived on the shores of England, and what a year it has been thus far. It just so happens that I'm spending this night playing at one of the most beautiful venues in town with two of my favourite musicians Tom Price-Stephens and Amy Gillespie, unveiling my new band, playing new tunes, and reflecting on all of the crazy, exciting things that have happened in the past 365 days (whoops - 366...it's a leap year! Happy February 29th!) 

April also brings a few more exciting adventures - the first week will take me back to France for some music making in Paris and Reims...and during the last week I'm pulling one of my dearest friends, Lisa Petersen, out of her Danish classes in her new home of Copenhagen to join me on a little busking adventure/mini-tour of the UK...live in any of these places? Come pay us a visit!

21.04.16 - The Marwood - Brighton

25.04.16 - LEAF - Liverpool

26.04.16 - The Bristol Fringe - Bristol

27.04.16 - The Whiskey Jar - Manchester

29.04.16 - St Pancras Old Church - London 

Looking forward to seeing you on the road, stay tuned with updates about our adventures!

 

 

#HEARYOURCITY

There are lots of exciting things in the works with Gigbloc, an exiting new app that launched last month and is attempting to bring local live music back into being an important part of everyone's lives, to make it easier for artists and venues to connect, and to get artists paid - something that is always quite the struggle. It's early days yet, but I have so much faith in this endeavour and the two lovely founders. In addition to being their 'social media person', I also get to work with them (along with Tom Price-Stephens and Amy Gillespie) on putting together a beautiful spring event at St. Pancras Old Church - keep Friday April 29th open for all you London based folks! (Also will be the maiden voyage of the new Laura Reznek musical troupe...including drummer-turned-banker-turned-drummer again Adam Loats, and bassist Ronald Mass (Paper Wolf, Jaya), as well as violinist Lisa Petersen all the way from Copenhagen! Stay tuned for many more details - and take Gigbloc's advice and #HearYouCity and support your local live music scene!