Updated: Dec 11, 2019
My songs are very personal. I write songs about my sister, family, friends and, people I know in my community.
When I write for commercial work, it is more difficult; it feels false to a certain degree, but I do want to try different types of songwriting as I'm still learning and growing and, I want to collaborate and work on different things.
A song I wrote in recent years involved a local person I know in Fredericton who was being bullied when they biked around town. It's called Night Kaleidoscope.
Click Here to listen to Night Kaleidoscope
In the song, I layered the soundscape of music and harmonies so that when you listen to it, you can visualize someone coasting along the dark streets of Fredericton, no traffic around, their arms outstretched. Some people tell me they listen to the song and, suddenly, they are riding the bike. It's a song about peace and acceptance and the space to do the things we want to do without fear. These type of songs are what I love doing most; personal stories about people I know set to music and lyrics.
I spent many years making all my music alone in my room as a child and teenager. It's hard to grow and get better when you do things alone and have no feedback. I wrote a lot of crappy stuff.
When I was older, I remember being in an Irish band for a short time. I had never been to Ireland, and I was writing and singing songs about living in Ireland! I admit, I did love the songs, but they didn't ring true for me.
The best thing that ever happened to me was finding my first musical mentor, Don Rigley. At the point I met Don, we were both living in Miramichi and, he and his wife at the time knew my sister Jane. Don started helping me with all my original songs by recording them and performing the music for them to my vocals. I had such great times with him. He was a quiet man who smoked like a chimney, but when he laughed at my dumb jokes, his whole face lit up. I would look at his original drawings meditating on their beauty on hot summer days. He gave me several charcoal drawings which I still have.
He never talked about himself so, I learned who he was from my sister and other people who knew him. To the community, he was a true renaissance man; he was a talented musician, taught music, was a superb artist and, he made musical instruments. When I think about him, I am blown away by the breadth of his talent. Now, he is based in Fredericton with his present wife, Michelle Daigle and they are the very talented musical duo, Frantically Atlantic. They are a busy pair, continually traveling to perform at different festivals and events.
My next mentor was piano teacher Norma Campbell. Norma accompanied me when I sang at my high school graduation. She was always very supportive of me and nurturing whenever we performed together. I remember her being involved with theatre productions too.
When I was very young, I was always singing, it seemed. I sang at school events, nursing homes, and, in the choir. Then, when I was older, I sang in high school shows, weddings, funerals, shows, and concerts. It's all a blur now.
Along the way, I started collaborating with different people in music, Peter Lockhart, James Gauthier, to name two were great people to jam with and get together with to make music. My most recent collaborator is Bryan McDaniel, who writes excellent music that I love writing lyrics for. I still like to create my music and lyrics as well, so; it's a lovely creative mixture. I'm not alone doing everything anymore. My growth is no longer stunted.
In recent years, my mentors have been Jeff Patch, Dan Hill, Jewel, Jane Siberry, Colin Fowlie, and Jo Jo Sween.
We never stop learning. I still have a ways to go, and the journey is what it's all about.