I have been in love with music all my life. My dad has a picture of me as a 3 year old asleep in his lazy boy with the headphones on and this is how my parents would find me every morning as I’d sneak out of my room at night to listen to music. In my teenage years I took up the drums and moved from small town Alberta to Vancouver, BC where I played with several bands in the mid-1990’s. It was around this time that I started getting song melody and lyric ideas that I pitched to the guitarist of one of the bands I was in. He collaborated with me to help me flesh out my first true “songs”. I submitted these first songs to a national songwriting contest, and to my amazement, I won the contest! This effectively launched my career as a songwriter and I shifted my focus from drumming to songwriting thanks to this fateful turn of events @daniellefrench
Live Interview July 9 at 9pm EST
Episode #339B : A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax : http://www.blogtalkradio.com/avaliveradio/2016/07/10/episode-339b-ava-live-radio-behind-the-music-with-jacqueline-jax
GETTING TO KNOW DANIELLE FRENCH
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
I have been in love with music all my life. My dad has a picture of me as a 3 year old asleep in his lazy boy with the headphones on and this is how my parents would find me every morning as I’d sneak out of my room at night to listen to music. In my teenage years I took up the drums and moved from small town Alberta to Vancouver, BC where I played with several bands in the mid-1990’s. It was around this time that I started getting song melody and lyric ideas that I pitched to the guitarist of one of the bands I was in. He collaborated with me to help me flesh out my first true “songs”. I submitted these first songs to a national songwriting contest, and to my amazement, I won the contest! This effectively launched my career as a songwriter and I shifted my focus from drumming to songwriting thanks to this fateful turn of events.
Song name: It Must Be Roses
In this song I play an aristocratic heiress
(this is how I imagine her!) who demands roses from her lover. In each verse, she describes the attributes of other flowers, but insists that “If you really love me, you’ll bring me roses, it must be roses.”
Support the Artist: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/daniellefrench3
In 2012 I was invited by pAt mAcdonald (formerly of the band Timbuk3-
he wrote the 80’s hit song “The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades”) to attend a series of songwriting intensives at the Holiday Music Motel in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. At these intensives, invited songwriters are paired through a random spin-the-bottle process to write together. Each intensive has a theme and the first one I attended was called Love on Holiday, where we write songs about love and love gone away. I had the basic concept for It Must Be Roses prior to the intensive, but no chords or organized lyrics. There was a writer named Charlie Cheney who I loved his style and I ran my idea by him. He loved the concept and vibe and before we knew it we had co-written It Must Be Roses together! I recorded the version that appears on my brand new CD Danielle French Presents: Miss Scarlett & the Madmen- Dark Love Songs in Milwaukee with one of the Holiday Music Motel studio engineers, Steve Hamilton and brought in many of the musicians I have had the pleasure of collaborating with at the Motel as my band. And we added Victor DeLorenzo (one of the founding members of the Violent Femmes) on drums.
Danielle French Presents:
Miss Scarlett & the Madmen- Dark Love Songs is my 5th independent CD release to date. Much of the material on my previous recordings falls squarely in the AAA female singer/songwriter realm and was primarily written by myself as a solo artist. In attending the songwriting intensives at the Holiday Music Motel three times a year over the past four years I have had the opportunity to co-write with some incredible songwriters, which has helped me develop as a writer and has helped me find, what I think is, my unique voice.
This collection of songs is much more dark and dramatic than my previous material.
When performing these new songs live, fans have described the material as “Intoxicating… Mesmerizing… Spell-Binding… Enchanting”. The album can be quite eerie and moody at times with bizarre twists including an accordion fronted cabaret song called “This is Why We Drink.” I feel this album marks a new direction and new identity for me as an artist- a direction I look forward to continuing in as I return for more songwriting with my Holiday Music Motel song-family in the future.
My home base is Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
But I am quite nomadic and am considered a “local “in places such as Reno, NV and Sturgeon Bay, WI- and I have other communities elsewhere I feel very connected to.
The music scene in Calgary is quite diverse and quite tight knit.
There are a lot of up-and-coming opportunities presenting themselves here with the opening of the New Music Centre https://nmc.ca/ this year. And The Banff Centre is also nearby in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta https://www.banffcentre.ca/. So I feel there is some momentum building here musically.
I tour a lot, so am not in Calgary all the time, but one of my mainstays when I’m here is The Ship and Anchor Pub http://www.shipandanchor.com/. They have a really fun afternoon jam from 2-6pm every Saturday that has been running for over 20 years. Highly recommended if you are in the area!
One fun thing I like to do is attend the annual Burning Man. Burning Man is an annual gathering that takes place at Black Rock City—a temporary community erected in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. The event is described as an experiment in community and art, influenced by 10 main principles, including “radical” inclusion, self-reliance and self-expression, as well as community cooperation, gifting and decommodification and leaving no trace. www.burningman.org
I’ve been in the music business for over 20 years now
and it has changed drastically over this time period. You used to have to rely on a record label to sign you to get your music out as an artist. These days an artist can feasibly record and release their own music without a label. But this has also meant that the artist needs to perform all the business functions to promote their careers themselves- from publicity to web design to tour booking to social media and more. For myself, I am only one person and have found it impossible to do each “business” task at the level it needs to be done to effectively promote my career. And it takes away from the time I want to spend becoming a better artist! Quite the dilemma!
I have come to accept the reality of the industry in this day and age and have made a conscious decision that I want to continue to write, record and release my music for other reasons than strictly financial (or chasing fame). Creating music is a way I connect with and express my creative source and I find the process of writing to be magical and rewarding in and of itself. I love touring because it gives me a chance to travel and be part of a broader community- I get to meet some amazing people and see some amazing sites. And I am constantly learning more about the business to understand better how your music makes money in order to hone in on opportunities the best I can with the resources I have.
The “Pro” of the current industry is…
the accessibility musicians have to be able to express themselves creatively and record and promote their music for much cheaper now than ever before due to digital recording. Another “Pro” is that there are more outlets for musicians to self-release their music to be heard by a wider audience through the internet and more traditional outlets such as independent radio, having music placed in film/TV etc…
The “Con” of this…,
is that the market is completely inundated with music. Not all of it is good by industry standards (of either songwriting or production value) and a lot of it is really good and therefore very competitive! So for an artist to be heard or noticed in the vast sea of recorded music has become more difficult.
I am trying to overcome this hurdle by continuing to improve my skills
as musician, songwriter, vocalist, guitarist as well as improving my business skills and trying to keep the creative/business tasks in balance as much as possible. I try and set attainable goals and work towards them to the best of my ability. And I continue to build on the successes I have had in my career, always moving forward.
I don’t think there is a right or wrong, but I personally gravitate to releasing albums.
As an artist, I have noticed that my songs tend naturally gravitate into themes- it’s not intentional, it’s more intuitive, but for instance on my latest CD Danielle French Presents: Miss Scarlett & the Madmen- Dark Love Songs, after attending a series a songwriting intensives at the Holiday Music Motel for four years and reflecting back on the material I had co-written over the years, a group of songs stood out that felt they “belonged together” and I decided these songs should become my next album.
Logistically, I feel if I’m going to go into the studio,
I would prefer to maximize my time by recording several songs at once than have to record one single at a time. And I would prefer to maximize my marketing in the same way by promoting a full release that one single at a time.
The outlets I have marketed to in the past,
that still make sense for me now, also tend to promote full releases. And it also makes sense to my fanbase- they are still buying CD’s and I would prefer to present the whole package of an album rather than one song at a time.
I like the immediacy and the personality of social media-
that the artist can connect directly with the fans and vice versa. However this can be a “Con” as well in that it can be very time consuming to try and connect with your entire friend and fan-based one-on-one. I also find it hard as one person to maintain a presence on all the social media outlets that an artist “should” be present on. I gravitate primarily to Facebook and have had a good amount of success in promoting my music to friends and fans through using the tools there including status posts, maintaining my own fan page https://www.facebook.com/daniellefrenchmusic creating events, ads etc…
The Dalai Lama.
He has an inner peace and joy that few attain in their lifetime. I would ask him more about how I we can release our attachment to the material world.
Having been in the music industry now for 20+ years,
according to the current trends I am too old, not thin enough and my music is not accessible enough… generally speaking, I am not in the right demographic to be considered trendy. So, I don’t really concern myself with being trendy knowing that that’s not my audience anyway. I concern myself with being true to myself as an artist and trying to find the appropriate outlets for the music I make, which is intentionally “outside the box”.
My new CD Danielle French Presents:
Miss Scarlett & the Madmen- Dark Love Songs is quite quirky, not very mainstream, and rather dark. I don’t expect it to find a home on commercial radio or in the mainstream at all! But this project is perfect for a certain niche audience- those who enjoy artists such as Kate Bush or Tom Waits, are into Steampunk, Burning Man and more theatrical events!
“Your thoughts create your reality. Your mind is more powerful than you know.” Neale Donald Walsch (also Abraham Hicks)
I am also a filmmaker
having produced/directed three music videos to my songs that have been screened on Bravo! and have won awards at film festivals around the world. This is a link to my video for my song “To the Death” featuring guest vocalist Burton Cummings (of the Guess Who) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2SDK6gl7H0
Social Media Links:
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVkj6iXd6H7VOCG_aLaz2lg