Chloe The Perched Owl: A Year In One Breath

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It’s been months since I last wrote a blog.  After my rant on the music industry and the artist’s responsibility to their audience (see here), the superficial happenings in my life seemed trivial.  Having been so candid about the unglamorous side of the rising artist’s life, it was hard to go back to updates on concerts, or reviews etc.

So I decided to wait until I was actually inspired.

The New Year is always an impetus for reflecting on the last year.

Boy oh boy, has it ever been a full one, sooooo insanely full that it burst.!

KAAAAAAAA BOOM!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes I am a 10 year old doing grade 5 science experiments in the Arctic Vortex.

Now, I do hope that those flying little pieces were shot with enough force that they will find their destination and land one day, wherever on earth that may be.

Momentum is my friend…I am waiting…

I was thrown up against the ceiling and down against the floor, both times splatting emotions “negative” or “positive”.

But living like that is E X H A U S T I N G so I started speaking to my self more often.

(No I am not crazy, I just get that from my Mom who ~ as much as she speaks to herself or her dog ~ is definitely quite wise.  And, remember I am an only child.  I know how to NOT get lonely.  As in, “Hello, Chloe, you’re a good girl,” … Or … “Hey, Chloe, what do you want to do today?|  … and so on …

But, really, to get back to those negative-positive shenanigans:

Who am I to say what is up and what is down? It’s all one big squiggly wavelength.  Up and down and wiggle waggle.  It’s all just sounds … la la la … and in some way, they are all beautiful.

I guess I could say…

(Yes, I’m about to get cheesy here.  Here I go:)

I am living in the key of ……..CHLOE!!!

Ba da doom ching!!!! (Get it? I’m a musician?  Bahaha.  Yeah… I’m not that good with jokes but I guess you caught that.)

Anyway, I took this perspective and instead of judging events as good or bad I attempted to live by:

“It is”…

There is Chloe, the experiencer  ~ and Chloe, the observer.  Perhaps being a Gemini I can split myself into two but still, the Chloe you know is the one full of emotion: dramatic, elated, and bursting with feeling.  But there is also the Chloe you don’t really get to know.  She is the “Me” who watches from a distance like an owl perched on a branch gathering it all in as the novel unfolds. 

Whenever life falls too far to one extreme, grave or euphoric, Chloe Number 2 is actually excited and entertained by the twists and turns of the plot.

Life is quite the storyteller and it’s incredible to simultaneously be cast as the protagonist and sit back with your book and read along.

So…

… in the midst of this roller coaster, this stance allows me to ride along as it plummets or skyrockets and still maintain some measure of peace (and keep my lunch down).

Sometimes as we watch our lives unfold, we take a step back and realize that it is also possible to co-author our own lives if we know what we want and what is important to us.

Occasionally I know what I want.  I always know what is important to me:

Relationships, creation, challenge and passion.

And while last year sure was filled with the people I love, tons of new creations, bundles of new challenges, and even more passion for music than ever before, this year I plan on increasing that exponentially ! Hehe!  

So, Happy New Year to everyone!

Here is my story in one big breath:

Last year I…

… went tribal on your ass, grew some kick ass eyelashes, shared stages with Maceo Parker & Boy, played some festivals in Holland where I got to check out Gregory Porter and Ghostpoet, hung out in the trees of Kentucky with Neil and Mack, travelled 48 hours by bus with Neil from Shangri-la studio in Kentucky to Number 9 studio in Toronto, rocked it at the Mod Club with Dr. Draw and Cai.ro, learned how to skateboard, played the London Jazz Festival, was an extra on the latest David Cronenberg film, worried about money, spent a lot of money, had some crazy allergic reaction, got some love from Billboard Magazine, got some love from Rolling Stone, braved a blizzard to chat with Jian Gomeshi on The Q, played dress up, played dress up again, and again, had a  few breakdowns, considered quitting this music thing and then played Jazzahead (Bremen, German) which gave me hope…

…lost my grandfather, took up painting again, moved twice, made friends with a family of Nutria (giant swimming rodent that is not nutritious), had my portrait painted, signed the same guest book as Katy Perry (my hero! Bahaha), fell in love with Toronto in the summer, spent tons of time with my friends, hung out on rooftops with cocktails in the Toronto sun, went swimming in Lake Zurich, played under a magical tree on the river of Solothurn, lost my phone, had it returned, lost my phone again, had it returned, lost 2 phones, had them returned, lost my wallet, had it returned, lost my wallet again and had it returned and finally lost my phone, did not have it returned…

I slept in cars, went hiking in the rivers of Algonquin Park, talked to wild turkeys, tried to look more like my Mom and went blond for a day, got some snuggles from my Mom, made friends with a caterpillar and a snail, read a lot of dumb German books to improve my German, wrote a bunch of songs, sang a bunch of songs, did a ton of co-writes, played a ton of shows, flew way too much, drove way too many kilometers, learned to appreciate my alone time, cried from exhaustion, danced till 6 am in condos atop Toronto’s sparkling streets, made some baby fans, let out my really girly side and took advantage of the samples and nail polish booths at Sephora, made colourful explosions in Sunnybrook Park and luckily avoided the attention of the police, lost my father, got eaten to death by mosquitos trapped under my skirt, shot my favourite music video (Refrain from Fire), missed my kitties, Rufus and Tuula, played dress-up again (this time with my Nana), hung out with my “best” friend Rob Ford in his diaper at Newstalk 1010,  saw my first shaved cat, got to see my album in the stacks at HMV in Toronto and at Dussmann in Berlin,  hung out at Toronto’s nudey beach…

…made a delicious lemon tart (twice), rocked a fanny pack, got to blab on about how useless the idea of perfection is for a TedX Talk, had my album reach number 9 on the iTunes Rock chart in France, heard way too much about this paleo diet, enjoyed a delicious paleo meal that made me consider converting, wrote a blog that spread like wildfire (see here), ate a ton of Muesli, lived off of frozen fruit smoothies all summer, blew bubbles that turned into ice, turned boiling water into snow, fell in love with the magic bullet (its blending powers are dreamy),  had stretching yoga parties with my roommates, went tobogganing on  pure ice at Trinity Bellwoods doggy park, celebrated the best and coldest Christmas ever, made a lot of new friends in a lot of new places …

…and made new memories with old friends and family.…

Here’s to new challenges, love, creation and passion in 2014!

Love you all,

Chloe

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Life is a Pollock Painting: From Tears to Ecstatic Screams

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2013 has already shown me its colours. And boy, are they ever bright, blinding and bipolar. In only four months fate has painted my path using all corners of the palette.

What is the overtone of this painting?

It’s a mixture of everything: possibly looking something like a Jackson Pollock … and then, every once in a while, life splatters a few black blotches onto the canvas. Some people would think it’s ugly and sometimes it hurts but in the end all those spots, black or bright, create the full picture. It’s a story unfolding, one that at first perhaps even you can’t read.

So here I am, riding the rollercoaster of 2013.

How did it begin?

The passing of both my Grandfather (Jan 17) and my Father (Mar 10) cast a bitter black splat over my winter, already dreary (as Toronto winters are apt to be).

It’s strange. My family has always been very female dominated. With girls being the ones fighting harder to be born, I didn’t have the strongest male experience. And now, within 2 months of each other, they both disappeared.

It’s strange and I still can’t wrap my head around it (that thing we call Death), but I think about them every day. Who knows if that will ever stop?

Fortunately, to balance out this heavy start, I’ve also had an abundance of delightful things fall into my lap to remind me that life goes on, Spring does in fact arrive, and all will heal — with time. 

On Feb 13, I celebrated my album release for “Break the Balance” at the Revival Bar in Toronto. It was a proud moment for me. We packed the house, with thanks to all of you — as well as a little extra special promotion generated by my. Feb 8th interview with Jian Ghomeshi on Q (listen here). A memorable morning, for sure, because it was also the day a meter of snow shut Toronto down but couldn’t stop us from reaching CBC at 7 am. (Yes,that’s A.M.). What a feat and a privilege!  

I know my Poppa (Grandad) would have been proud.

And then came the press: a very complimentary article with live montage by the Globe & Mail, album reviews from all sorts of media, including The Star and Now Magazine, an exclusive interview & performance on CBC TV (see here), and shout outs by one of Canada’s most recognized Much Music VJs, Michael Williams on CTV. 

I feel lucky and all warm and fuzzy all over. Thanks, Canada!

Also released my new video for “Find Her Way”. The filming of this flick was by far one of the best days of my life — or at least one of the most ridiculously hilarious!

Now, don’t you agree, Neil Whitford should really go into acting?

We somehow managed to shoot this video in only 2 days, with about 100 costume changes, inside, outside, & wherever, and at 7 different locations! I don’t know how we even slightly coordinated our outfits in such a hurry. Wonder why Mariel is wearing rainbow gloves? Why Im wearing leopard print with a bow tie and sequins? Well, that’s why. We had begun to lose it, in the best of ways. 

I owe so many thanks for this video. I have such an amazing group of friends and cousins out there (side note: Friends include the lovely canine (Raiden) and feline (Max) who made cameo appearances). To check out those involved, see below. And please do our hard work and public nudity some justice and share the heck out of it.

…and then came Folk Alliance (an international music conference) where I got to spend time with some of my favourite Americans! AKA @DouglasJayboyd and @BenBalmer. If you need a laugh, I highly suggest you watch ‘Ben Balmer’s rendition of”Soon on a Snowflake””. He may have stolen the limelight on that one! 

Bracketed between 2 conferences, I had the honour of singing at a Carole King tribute show put on by Juno Award winning graphic music designers, Michael Wrycraft, who is always magically creating awesome album covers (Ron Sexsmith, Bruce Cockburn, Murray Mclauchlan). His tribute shows have become a staple in the Toronto Music scene where Michael always packs the house, bringing together some heavy artists.

So, which songs did we choose to take apart and put back together with a Chloe finesse? “Natural Woman” (which some people thought was far too dangerous) and “So Far Away”. My father had just passed away that week so I dedicated the songs to him, and I think he would have loved to see me shine for him that night at Hugh’s Room..

Less than one month later our dear friend CMW (Canadian Music Week) put on its party hat. With one show at Tattoo Rock Parlour (No, I have not turned rock) and one killer show at the infamous El Mocambo (where I got to play before Boy), countless afternoon parties, evening parties, fabulous concerts (AKA Cai.ro), and free nasty energy drinks (don’t think they went unappreciated but let’s be honest, they are NASTY), and my surrogate sister’s always-welcome company (Aly Tadros), I came out of that week an empty sack of delirious.

To my surprise, a music writer from EXCLAIM attended my show and wrote a rave review! Not too shabby eh?

“so dramatic that you could feel a cold wind blowing through the song’s clenched bass tones, brooding cello swells and scurrying guitar touches.”…”There was little question as to why such a diverse cross-section of music fans and seasoned players alike have been caught by Charles’ impressive creative light.” (see full)

But soon after this whirlwind I had to fly away yet again. The day I was leaving Toronto to begin my German/ Swiss tour, feeling a little sad to say goodbye again, my cousin called with some amazing news: Billboard Magazine had listed me, yes me, your little Chloe, as one of “5 Canadian Acts to Watch”.

WAAAAAA?????

Yes, I screamed a little. (I am now adding up the happy scream moments and will share with you one day.) What a nice way to hop on a plane.

So, now you understand how 2013 (so far) feels something like a Pollock painting, and how, with both a heavy and a light heart, both tears and a big smile, I begin my tour and a new chapter in my life.

Love you all
XOXO
Your Chloe

 

P.S.  Check out my tour link if you are in Germany or Switzerland because I may just be coming to you in the next weeks!

P.P.S. Who contributed to ‘Find Her Way’?

Danielle Da Silva directed
Shawna Downing did makeup
Justin Johnstone starred as the guy who talks to himself
Neil Whitford starred as always amazed Alice in Wonderland-like man
Eugene Draw as crazy drummer
Kelly Lefaive as hot chick getting hit on
Mariel Gonzales as deep art critic
Adam Jenkins as record collector
Raiden the dog as fuzzy assessor
Max the cat as pissed of fur ball
Brock Dishart, Lindsay Dworkin, Evelyn Cream, Robert Wraith as yarn pullers
Zoe Edwards, Danielle Knight, Robert Wraith, Freddie Mojallal as hyped audience
Of a Kind as super cool record and vintage store
Saving Gigi as my favourite Toronto cafe

And for sure I’m missing someone… 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t eat garlic before an important interview.

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My day today:  Breakfast in Germany, lunch in Austria and dinner in Switzerland.

This tour may have been more spaced out with less shows and more time to unwind but in reality the days off didn’t end up being days off.

They have been days filled with interviews with great magazines and fabulous German radio stations.  What a whirlwind.

I had a long and leisurely interview with Uwe Golz from Deutschland Radio in Berlin – a national station. He said, play as many or as few songs as you’d like.  Never have I had such a relaxed interview and especially on such an important station! If I remember correctly, Deutschland Radio is the oldest station in Germany and was actually an American station following WWII.

I also had one with Jazzthetik, now out in print where they say my tourmate Davide Santi is Iranian and not Italian (Whoops).

One with Jazzthing which is also now out in print where they call me British (Haha).

One with ByteFM in Hamburg.  I now even have the teeshirt and have been wearing it way too often.  Check out the interview online.

And then many more little tidbits here and there.

At Mephisto Radio in Leipzig.

Though the funniest interview was with Radio Eins, Berlin and Brandenburgs biggest station. The interview was a lot of fun and the announcer certainly pried a little but hey I guess that’s what makes for a good interview. If you listen to the podcast, you’ll hear me wordless for a few moments when he asks me “What is your lesson of the day today?” having read my last blog post”.  Hmmm I sad “gas”.  And as the word tumbled out of my mouth I realized just how hilarious that sounded.  (If you want to know what I was referencing read my last posting on LPG gas)

But funny story, we had been wanting to make hummus for weeks and finally we acquired all the tools and ingredients to make it.  I won’t name names but SOMEBODY put a tad too much garlic in and not so finely blended so some of us ended up munching down on whole cloves.  Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE garlic but I suddenly realized, SHIT, I have an interview and now reak of garlic.  On the way there, we had to keep the windows opened because the garlic scent was so strong and even making the garlic eaters nauseous.

The interview went really well (minus the gas story) and we left hoping nobody noticed.

That interview was followed by another very thorough interview with TAILGLOBAL at Ae in Neukoln, where we were about to play.

Ok so the show was great.  Davide and I were lucky enough to be graced with Callum Jennings presence on stage.  Callum is a Torontonian classical bassist who had just moved to Berlin to continue studying.  I begged him to come play with us and boy am I ever happy I did.  He is incredible.

Just check out our first rehearsal singing the Ninja Funk Orchestra/ Chloe Charles collaboration “Fans”.  And yes it is that complicated for the dear string instruments and of course we fumble around and I scream my face off ubt look at them kill it so early on.   Bahaha FUN!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3ZXJXL8b6U?rel=0&w=1280&h=720]

OK so the show ends and the father of the hummus maker says to his son, “what did you feed those guys, They REAK of garlic.”  Oh god, how embarrassing.  Immediately we realize that these poor interviewers have probably been breathing through their mouths and trying to be polite in our presensce.

So next time someone asks me what my lesson of the day is I”ll say “ Don’t eat garlic before an important interview.”

And now I leave you with a few pics. Love ya’ll!

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Thank you for your votes! I won thanks to you!

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Hey there my dearest friends, fans and family!

Right now I am rocking it in Berlin taking a vacation for once visiting my Dad and Step Mom!  What a treat.  Played a great show in Kiel to keep my chops warm and boy was it lovely!  I love Prinz Willy.  It’s a fabulous venue on the North Sea.

So, as you might have heard I owe you all tons of kisses and hugs and endless love and appreciation for your generous votes and support for the Soundclash Awards.  I WON I WON I WON I WON!!

Here is a video of the actual show if you missed it and a few pics as well!

WOOO HOOO…Yes I was screaming when I found out.  I screamed so loud that my Nana thought I had been electrocuted!  Haha.

First of all, a big thank you to Harbourfront Centre Toronto for nominating me in the first place, to the judges who chose me and to all of you fantasico-fabulouso-awesomoso-wunderschoen-encroyable-wunderbar-lovely lovely people out there who voted.

With you I won!  We won and I love you all!

Also big thanks to CBC Here and Now for promoting the showcase by making my unreleased track “Song of the Week”, to Guild Guitars USA for promoting to their fan base and of course for their beautiful guitars of which I played at the Awards, to the blog “Toronto is Awesome” for the shout out, to Tika Simone for her fabulous introduction and to OPOPOP, Rich Kidd, Progress and the Rebel Alliance, Gyles, and LAL for their incredible music.

If you happen to be in Toronto for August 31st and want to join me, there is a great big celebration at Harbourfront Centre, West Jet Stage (the super huge dauntingly awesome one) and I am performing around 9pm.  I am one happy girl and would love to celebrate with you and show you all my appreciation.  This award will help big time with the financing of this new album so thank you.

I really feel lucky to have you all.  Toronto you have been good to me.  And all you kick ass people around the world rooting for me, I will give you a hug when I see you!  Hopefully sooner than later!

Not to mention, if you didn’t make it to the Beaches Jazz Festival, here are som pics. What a ball that was!  I love my band.  Have I mentioned that yet?  Hehe.

Alright my darlings, see you somewhere super soon!  Keep in touch and keep up with my dates so we have the chance to say hi!

Again, love you all and thank you sooooooooooooooooooooooooo much!
Kisses Chloe