Danielle Beaudin knew in grade 9, growing up on the Mountain, that she wanted to be a rock-and-roll singer. When she should have been studying for exams, instead she was playing her guitar, fiddling with a basic multi-track recorder, and writing songs.
When she hit Grade 12, she arranged a co-op placement for herself at Westmoreland Studios, run by Carl Jennings of the band Freedom Train. She has been working there ever since and, during what little downtime there has been, she recorded and had Carl produce her first album, Wait for Your Love.
The CD is in her hands now, and will have its official launch on Thurs., Oct. 10, at This Ain’t Hollywood – a classic bar on James Street North.
The nine songs on the CD were, to varying degrees, six years in the making. It takes time and money to record, mix, and master a song. The final product is the result of a lot of hard work and sacrifice – dining on Kraft Dinner instead of caviar.
Beaudin wrote all the songs, although she credits Jennings on all of them for the contributions he made in helping to challenge her and to shape their arrangements and quality. A few tunes were written in the studio, and very much influenced by Carl's creative ideas.
"Carl and I have a good relationship in the studio,” said Beaudin. “We play a tennis match of sorts, bouncing ideas back and forth. I can't praise Carl enough for everything he did for these tunes, and can definitely say some of these tunes are a 50/50 writing credit.”
Helping out at a recording studio has also taught her a lot – and she has been involved in engineering and contributing backing vocals to many projects along the way.
A lot of songs on the CD have a classic sound and feel – driven by electric guitar, by catchy choruses, and by layered harmonies. Her influences include The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and many other classic rock acts – music from, frankly, before her time. She credits her father for some of her taste in music. He was a DJ and, while he encouraged his children to listen to contemporary music, he loved the old stuff and has shared his collection of LPs with his daughter.
Beaudin says that her dad loves music and gets out to see bands two or three times a week – more than she does. Sometimes she will get a text from friends saying that they are hanging out at a live show with her dad. "My dad is a young, free spirit and a dreamer,” she said. “I guess that's where I get it from. He always encouraged both me, and my actor brother to do what we love and to find passion and follow where it leads. My mom is also amazing and supportive of my goals- she's my rock and keeps me sane when I feel like my world gets too crazy... which it often does."
She has videos for three of the songs posted on her website. The earliest video, for the song “Little Bird,” edits together grainy, old home movies of her father and his siblings. The video for “Sun Will Shine,” with its bright chorus, features some shots of her on figure-skates – something she still teaches part-time. Miz Monday put this video together for Beaudin. Her latest video – for the title song of the new CD – features artful camera angles with Beaudin in various Hamilton settings – and March Mercanti helped bring it to life.
Playing the music live is the next step. Danielle has been playing live for years, building a fan base playing clubs in Hamilton, Brantford, Stoney Creek, Burlington and beyond. She also has a friend with a connection to the BBC over in England – perhaps that will get her some airplay across the pond. In today’s internet-driven world a singer can make a break-through almost anywhere with talent and a little luck – local acts like Caribou and Jessy Lanza have helped to prove that.
Working at Westmoreland, with its busy recording schedule, Beaudin has made the acquaintance of many talented musicians along the way. Musicians who helped on her CD have experience playing with The Trews, City and Colour, David Wilcox and other established Canadian bands. Her principal performing partner is Tim Allard who can handle drums, keyboards and guitar with skill.
For the CD release show, Tim Allard along with the band Daylight for Deadeyes will be backing Beaudin. Doors open at 9 p.m. and her set starts at 10 p.m. $10 cover.