JessicaLalonde

Jessica Lalonde, Femmina, Canada
www.jessicalalonde.comUltimo accesso: Ottobre 2011

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Descrizione

Jessica Lalonde has gone from singing since early childhood in local music festivals to making her dreams of a music career come true. With such a distinct voice, genuine natural talent and undeniable beauty, she is almost surprisingly down to earth for someone with such abilities. Leading up to the launch of her upcoming debut CD of jazz covers, she has been on a unique musical journey, making her an exceptional and already accomplished artist, who is very hard to label.

A native of Midland, Ontario, Lalonde has spent her life following her passion for music, which has often led her in many different directions. She grew up with parents that listened to classic rock, yet she gravitated more towards her grandparent’s taste in music for the big band era. Soon Lalonde discovered Billie Holiday – which was a very pivotal moment for her. “I literally became obsessed with her and then my musical voyage went from there,” she says. “Billie was a major influence for sheer emotional power for me.” She then also immersed herself in the music of other dynamic female artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Jo Stafford, Helen Forrest and Nina Simone; and developed a love for opera and classical music along the way. “First and foremost, I just realized that I loved to sing,” she reflects. “Taking in a variety of genres and influences to this day keeps everything fresh for me.”

While in high school an invitation from her music teacher to come do a song with the acclaimed Music Maker’s Big Band that he was part of, turned into much more than that, after the 15 year old Lalonde blew away the other skeptical band members to earn herself the permanent vocalist position. Performing with an actual big band was such a thrill and motivated her further into pursuing a life of music.

Over the years, Lalonde has been a featured soloist at various charity venues, galas and choral concerts. She was part of the world première broadcast of Craig Galbraith’s The Spell of the Rose on CBC Radio Two’s “New Hours” and in 2006, she was the winner of the Laurier Concerto Competition, the Stratford Civic Orchestra’s Concerto Competition and the recipient of the Keith Knights Memorial Award for Performance at Laurier.

Lalonde completed her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance and attained her Opera Diploma at Wilfrid Laurier University where she studied under the direction of mezzo-soprano, Kimberly Barber. In the summer of 2007, she even traveled to Italy and participated in the renowned Centro Studi Lirica opera programme, under the direction of Joan Patenaude-Yarnell. While at Laurier, she held the title role in Puccini’s Suor Angelica and performed La Princesse in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, Lady Billows in Albert Herring and Sarah Good in The Crucible.

“It occurred to me that by studying opera I could learn to sing better and develop a fuller vocal range,” comments Lalonde. “As well, I was always drawn to artists and songs that really told stories and the world of opera is built around understanding the roles you play and stories you tell. This has definitely made me a stronger performer and more emotionally in touch with the songs I am singing.”

While at Laurier, she had the opportunity to create the role of ‘Rebecca Reid’ in the première of a new Canadian opera, To Daniel, by Glenn James. “The experience was so collaborative,” Lalonde enthuses. “To actually be able to help develop the character was incredibly liberating. It made me want to have more creative input in what I was doing and brought me back to the jazz and crooner style of music that I always seemed to relate to the most.”

In late 2007, when Lalonde made the decision to move to Toronto, she re-connected with life long family friend Rob Brooks and suddenly everything just fell into place. Brooks with over 36 years of music business experience, including 30 with international music giant EMI, was quick to sign her to his company, Bloo&Wite management.

Soon after he arranged for her to meet with Bill King, one of Canada’s most respected jazz musicians. The two immediately hit it off and plans to record an album of jazz styled songs with a nostalgic feel began. “Bill King has really created a flourishing environment for many young artists to find their direction and their voice,” says Lalonde. “I feel so privileged to be developing a project I’m so passionate about with people that share a similar vision and know how to make it all happen.”

This extends to the musicians that she got to work with on this album, which not only includes King (who is arranging and producing the album), but also some of Canada’s other most sought after players such as: Kevin Breit (Norah Jones, kd lang, Cassandra Wilson), Davide DiRenzo (Jacksoul, Sophie Milman, Tomi Swick), Duncan Hopkins (Diana Krall, Mark Murphy, Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass) and Ann Lindsay (Blue Rodeo, Dionne Warwick, The Chieftans). Never did Lalonde expect her first proper studio and album recording experience to involve such established artists. “It was surreal,” she admits.

The album, currently scheduled for release late summer 2008, is all covers and includes such engaging classics as “Slow Boat To China,” “You Belong To Me,” and “It Might As Well Be Spring.” The approach to deciding the material comes back to great stories again for Lalonde.

“These songs take you somewhere. They connect you with such universal themes and emotions of young love and longing for those who aren’t near,” she remarks. “These are stories that take you back to another time, but still very much resonate with the world we live in today.” The chance to take these songs and bring her ‘own flavour’ to them, with the help of her new creative/musical team, has been extremely inspiring.

It is especially fitting for her to cover the Stafford classic “You Belong To Me” and make it her own, as Lalonde often garners similar accolades to the beloved American pop singer. She too is often admired for the purity of her voice and for being such a versatile vocalist, the way that Stafford was in her day.

The studio experience itself has been an exciting new adventure for Lalonde. “It blew my mind!” she raves. “Being in the studio provides such freedom. To be able to approach things in a gentle and creative manner so that you can fully develop your own feel to a song and story is so powerful to an artist. I’m used to performing live where you’ve got only one shot to get it right.” Although now a fan of the studio, she ultimately can’t wait to take these songs on the road, as the stage is the home she knows and loves best.

Lalonde is not one to just rest on her inherent talent. Her deep-rooted love and passion for music motivates her to constantly become better at her craft. Even with the launch of her debut CD still forthcoming, those that know her already can’t wait to see and hear what she will do next.

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