Emilie-Claire Barlow is releasing her 11th album, ‘Clear Day’, and a Canadian ice-breaker played a major role. The Toronto born-and- raised singer, and voice actor, says this one began on an August night with the midnight sun.
“It became the path that is this record”
Accepting an invitation to join a group of researchers at work aboard the Coast Guard ship, The Amundsen, during the summer of 2011, Barlow and her guitar player provided entertainment in exchange for an experience she says was life-changing.
“I think that the experience of being there in the Arctic and just feeling the hugeness and the wonder of the world made me brave enough to look inside and realize that there was a part of my life that was feeling not aligned… It became the path that is this record.”
‘Clear Day’ is made up of her versions of great tunes by groups and artists from the Beatles to Cold Play and David Bowie, to name a few. The songs were chosen for their verisimilitude to her own experiences over the past few years.
She describes the songs as the soundtrack to her life. The accompaniment of the Dutch-based Orkest Metropole magnifies the cinematic quality. “At the opening of ‘On a Clear Day’ you’ll hear these very dramatic cellos and this high pling pling pling of the piano and that’s basically representing the moment when I’m on the helicopter and I’m going to land on the ship.”
There are shows and tours planned over the next year. In November she’ll be one of the artists featured during the 20th anniversary celebrations at Montreal’s Upstairs Jazz Bar. Montreal is Barlow’s new home, another change that resulted from the arctic experience. A show is in the works for the city’s eponymous Jazz Festival in 2016, and in February, a performance at Toronto’s legendary Massey Hallwill be a heart-felt homecoming.
Emilie-Claire Barlow released first album ‘Sings‘ in 1998. She received Canada’s Juno Award, the highest musical honour, for her album Seule ce soir winning for best Jazz Vocal Recording in 2013. Barlow was named Female Vocalist of the Year at the 2008 National Jazz Awards. She credits Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder and Canadian Holly Cole, as major musical influences.
As a voice actor Barlow is well known to many for the voices in animated television series, includingSailor Venus and Sailor Mars in Sailor Moon, Bakugan Battle Brawlers and one of the lead charactersCourtney in Total Drama Island.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: ‘Iceberg’ sculpture captures ‘awe’ of Canadian Arctic, Radio Canada International
Finland: London gallery offers multimedia Sámi art, Yle News
Russia: Karelian art on show in Russia, Yle News
Sweden: Swedish Sámi visual artist shaping climate changes, Radio Sweden
United States: Feature Interview – Alaskan artist Nicholas Galanin, Eye on the Arctic