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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Perfection, Songwriting,Ted X & Other Updates

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Nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Composition entails accepting imperfection, having the confidence to be vulnerable and opening oneself to judgment. Life’s imperfections are what make up life and flaws are what lead to progress and adaptation. When you strive for perfection you risk stagnation because mistakes and flaws need to be actualized in order to learn from, grow, develop, motivate, evolve, challenge and inspire new ideas.   My life goal has been to let go of shame and accept my humanity, live vulnerably and never dismiss an idea.  This is my compositional process.

I have dedicated this summer to songwriting.  I set out with a goal to write 30 new songs but it looks like I will end up with a ton more.  I’ve been writing by myself, with artists and producers and songwriters — soul, pop, folk, electro, whatever.  Not all of them are incredible but each and every one of them brings out something new in me.  Each and every person I write with inspires me and shows me the world through a new pair of glasses. 

I wanted to grow this summer.  I wanted a challenge.

Not that this life of touring like a mad woman isn’t challenging.  But I wanted to try something new.

How about sitting in one place for a legitimate amount of time?

Sounds different!

So here I am in Toronto living on Queen West with some of my favourite people.

Nate Daniels happens to be one of them, from the about-to-be-huge Toronto band Cai.ro.

Toronto summers are incredible.

Outside of writing like a mad woman, of course I  had to perform just a little.

Most exciting performances:

  1. I’ll be performing at the Markham Jazz Festival right before Maceo Parker!  Um…Hello…that’s BIG!!  Friday, August 16th   7:00 pm
  1. I will be a Keynote Speaker at the 2013 Ted X Conference held in Richmond Hill.  What an honour!  Who doesn’t love Ted X?   Monday, August  12th

Oh, and of course I had to drop and shoot a couple of new music videos.

1.  Break the Balance shot by Natasha Kudashkina:

2.  And life would be boring without some crazy coloured smoke bombs and 14 dancers.  Shot by Danielle Da                  Silva, Refrain From Fire will be coming out in the fall.

So that is my life in a nutshell for summer 2013 in Toronto.

Hope you are loving your summer!

Lots of love

XO

Chloe

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… 

 

 

 

 

 

Toronto Law Enforcement Endorses Medieval Killing Practices!

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Don’t get me wrong.  I appreciate law enforcement and have only had good experiences with police, once giving me a napkin after noticing i had bike grease all over my hands from changing the tire, another time, just riding up beside me and chatting, and daily keeping my old hood “crack town” safe and sound.  This story is by no means a generalization or meant to slander cops.  It is just my experience with a sociopath who just happened to be a police officer, his role in society making the entire situation freakier. 

Last week I went to my second Blue Jays game ever. Being a rooky I texted my Jay’s obsessed friend saying, “Hey, I’m at the Blues game”.  “Blues game?, he laughed”.  Well I now know that to be taken seriously it must be called either the Blue Jays game or the Jays.  Now I am knowledgeable and you are too – Chloe’s lesson of the day!

So, I went with three friends. Myself and the sexy lead singer Nate of the band Cai.ro were only there to drink some beer and be ridiculous with our friends.  I don’t think I actually paid attention to the game for more than 10 min total. 

At some point before it had ended we all decided to leave, Justin had to pee so the three of us awaited his return seated on a bench and people watching.

Up strolled confidently, a police officer, like a cow smacking his gum.  Hands in his pockets with a cocky swagger and taking himself very seriously he made eyes with us, meandered over and started up a conversation.

He seemed eager to show off his bravery, strength and power so we egged him on and asked him questions about the dangers of patrolling a Blue Jays game at the Rogers Centre.

“Well, he said, it’s pretty dangerous.  People get rowdy after a game”

“Are there ever fights”, we asked?

“Oh yeah, he retorted, swaying his hips as if his manhood held the key to his authority.

“Are there ever shootings”, I asked.

“Oh yeah, yep.. mmm hm..” as he grabbed for what looked like his retainer. Clear and covered in saliva, he slurped up the excess. “I’ve got to wear this mouth guard”.  Very proud of himself and his imagined or confabulated or exaggerated near death experiences his began to rant

“I just wish we could go back to the Roman Empire so I could just kill anyone who mouthed off to me”.

In disbelief, we all decided to see how far he would go.  Did he really mean this or was he just kidding?  No no, he was serious.  I wanted to confirm his statement so I said, “ Yeah, wouldn’t that be great if we could just kill people?…and he nodded in agreement.

Gob smacked, Justin and I looked at each other motioning to film this conversation.  Think of the YouTube hits.  However, just as with my life, my phone is overloaded with crap and has no more space left for videos (of course) and Justin was scared to be too conspicuous.

So we just continued on attempting to dig out more on his strange medieval beliefs.  It turns out that he is of Roman descent and according to his logic this explains why he thinks the way he does.  He, being of such noble blood should be granted the authority to decide who should live and die.  “An eye for an eye”, he said.

But no no it didn’t end there.  This macho man of course was a little oversexed.  Once the drool had subsided and he felt we were all in agreement, he blocked out the other 3 and turned to me and asked, “So Chloe, where do you live?”.  Uhhhh St. Clair and Dufferin.

We quickly saw where this was going and made our move.

Nice meeting you sir…

Shangri La, Cabaret and a Music Video!

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Just back from Kentucky where Sam and I spent one solid week doing pre production at Shangri la Studio’s with producer Duane Lundy and Justin Craig. What a bubble of musical insanity and freakishly good vibes.  Vague eh?

Well you’ll just have to keep posted on the album’s progress!

In my spare time, I created this video for Progression from Little Green Bud while in Lexington.

Douglas and Aly met up with us in Lexington after a week on the road doing their solo and duo shows.  We all had a big snuggle and hit the road, driving 12 hours straight to Toronto where we arrived last night at about 2am.  Everyone crashed on the nearest surface in our downtown abode and rolled out slowly today to be dressed for a night of cabaret by Fashion Crimes Toronto.

What for?

HELLO!!! It’s our Album Release on SATURDAY at THE RIVOLI!!!! 8:30pm

With Sacred Balance and Tropicallia!!!

WOOO

Don’t forget!

XOXO
Love and insanity
Chloe

Moms are a priceless commodity!

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Here I am north of Toronto in rural Ontario, visiting my Mom.  It’s been a while since we have spent time alone together.  Being on the road and leading such a chaotic Toronto life, we rarely get in QT.  Believe me it was needed!

Why are Moms great, mine especially?

Well, no matter how stressed I feel or how much I think I MUST do now, I can’t help but turn into a bowl of porridge in her presence.   My Mom can cast a sleepy spell on me, anywhere, anytime.

…and when those guilty feelings arise all she need do is give me the permission to take a break, the holy word of Mom.

What else?

She feeds me well…let’s me sleep in….is interested in everything I’m doing.

She lets me be the slob, lazy, needy me I often need to be.

But MOSTLY, because my Mom is an interesting, lively, intelligent, quirky, hilarious, beautiful person who makes me happy.

That’s all folks..now back to Mom and nature!
XOXO

P.S.  Don’t forget The Sweetness album release is just over 2 weeks away.  For more details and to RSVP click HERE!

The Sweetness Album Release!!!

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I have been home for three weeks, just recovered from North By Northeast Music Festival in Toronto, a weekend of fabulous chaos where I played both a solo showcase as well as with Sacred Balance a Toronto/Montreal band I’ve been fronting for the past year.  If you are here in Toronto I hope you too put sleeping off until this week.

UPDATES:

I have lots to look forward to over the next couple of months…

1) Most pertinent is “The Sweetness” album release at The Rivoli.  If you’ve been following my progress and adventures you’d know all about this coming-together.  Aly and Douglas will be making their trip up to Canada from Austin Texas for the very first time so I want this celebration to be super special.
If you still want to know what we are all about, mark Saturday July 16th in your calendar with a big star!

To make this show even better we have themed it cabaret style.  If you come in costume cover is $8 instead of $10.

Who else will be playing?

You must know Sacred Balance?  Well we will be doing an acoustic set, still danceable.  This will warm up to the evening’s party finally, Tropicallia, a Brazilian band to conclude the night in uninhibited fun!

2) In 10 days I head to Lexington Kentucky for some album pre production with producer Duane Lundy.  Again, I am raising funds for this album so if you want to contribute visit this website about the album: www.chloecharlesalbum.wordpress.com.  And a big thank you to those of you who have already generously contributed.  AMAZING!

3) Heading out on tour again from Toronto, Peterborough, Ottawa and Montreal to Boston, New York, New Jersey, Washington……Memphis, Louisville, Chicago…Austin…and eventually back in September. Hopefully, I’ll see you on the road.

4) The Hugh’s Show Concert on June 7th will be aired for the first time on CBC’s Big City Small World on July 23rd.  It will also be aired by CBC Canada Live nationally later this year.

5) I have released a lo-fi album entitled “Souvenir”, the first 12 songs I ever wrote.  All proceeds from this album go to the upcoming album.  You can find the album on iTunes, Amazon.  And of course, if you don’t already have it, “Little Green Bud” can be found at the same locations.

6) Fun Fact. Not her biggest fan but ended up getting to go to Lady Gaga’s Much Music Video Awards After Party.  Of course she didn’t attend but her dancers and band did, all of whom were incredible.  Things turned into a jam and I ended up singing with her band but don’t worry, I didn’t become popafied.

Hope to see you in a top hat at The Sweetness release.  To RSVP go to the Facebook event.  If you support what I do, please share the invite to your friends and spread the word.  Every little bit helps a whole lot!

Lots of love and shenanigans
XOXO
Chloe

Amazing show at Hugh’s last night – New Album on it’s way! NXNE

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Quick update.  The show last night was spectacular.  Thank you everyone for coming out.  Thank you to my musicians, Sam McLellan, Kelly Lefaive and Mackenzie Longpre.  They are something special and everyone there knew it.

On top of that, I was surprised with flowers 2 bouquet’s of flowers one from Alina  Vorobeychik  and one from Lisa Davidson-Hogg and Howie Hogg,  new supporters I’d never met.  So so so very much appreciated.

The CBC came out to record the evening to record the show for Canada Live.  It was quite funny to me.  They were absolutely lovely while setting up but throughout the evening you would never have known they were there as they hid away in a big fat van outside listening all the while, only appearing after the show had finished.  Thanks CBC, thanks Ron Skinner for sitting outside the entire show and recording it!

It will be aired both on Canada Live Radio 2 and Garvia Bailey’s show, Big City Small World Radio 1.  I’ll keep you posted as to when!

Last night I also set free those tracks from long ago, the album entitled Souvenir.  If you are interested I am selling them for $5 if you can catch me in person and all of the proceeds are going to the new album.  The album should be up on iTunes this week.

Right, speaking of new albums, the dates for recording the new album are set.  I will be recording in July just outside of Toronto.  For more details and the promotional video please go here and read on!

www.chloecharlesalbum.wordpress.com

I have done a mad fundraising campaign morphed into a crazy video for you…Hope you enjoy. If you can help in any way, you know how much I would appreciate it.  Please repost, tweet, share, whatever to get this out and about.

Last but not least.  I have been waiting until the Hugh’s show was over to mention that I am playing NXNE at the Cameron House on Thursday, June 16th at 1am.

Again, what a great evening. What a great audience.

Now for some quality time with Mom!

XOXO

Love love love love

Chloe