After her 2011 album, Modern Romantics, Adaline ran out of “emotional fuel.” She was lyrically drained and wanted to take on different challenges.
So she dove into the world of songwriting and scoring music for film and TV shows. In the six-year interim between then and now, her music found a place on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, 90210, Flashpoint, Lost Girl and Ringer. She also teamed up with Broken Social Scene co-founder Brendan Canning to score the Bret Easton Ellis film The Canyons.
That work brought Adaline a new sense of joy, one that eventually inspired her to sit down and write a new album.
“I hope people can feel my honesty and desire to connect.”
“I felt ready to share my life again,” she says. Another big inspiration for her was water. Bodies of water became a constant wherever and whenever she wrote and, for her, there was a sense of romance that came from that. “Water has the ability to sustain a whole ecosystem, with millions of mystical living things; it’s incredibly spiritual,” she explains. “But on the other hand, water has the ability to completely destroy and bring panic and immense fear — and isn’t this so true with love? It both sustains and destroys.”
The result of those writing sessions was Aquatic, an emotionally-charged collection of songs that runs the pop-rock spectrum, from upbeat, guitar-driven numbers like “Commotion” to more subdued, lush piano melodies like “Break Me Apart.” Somewhere in the middle lies its most vocally stunning and effective track, the soaring “Stronger.” All of this is done with one goal in mind: to connect to listeners through her forthright songwriting.
“I hope people can feel my honesty and desire to connect,” she reveals. “Over the years, I’ve realized the thing that gets me out of bed and into the studio every day is connection.”
Photo by Matt Smilenot
Guitars, Fuzz and “Vulva Sports”
Story by Marie Hélène Poitras | July 27, 2017
It was the 2017 Francouvertes’ third night, a night with strong folk-rock programming. We were all excited to find out we would hear from a band who had the audacity to call itself the Vulvets. Had I seen them when I was a teenager, the Vulvets would instantly have become my role models. There’s something oddly off in their live show: An irresistibly haphazard aspect, tons of fun, with spontaneous and free musicians who unabashedly enjoy themselves and pass each other the mic. “The juvenile casual sensibility of sixties’ psycho beach parties that go wrong at dawn,” is how they present themselves.
“That was our fourth or fifth show ever,” says Isabelle LaTerreur Ouimet, the band’s bass player, and programmer for Coup de cœur francophone. “We were a bit anxious about how things would go, because we all work in the music industry, so playing for our peers was a little off-putting, and we’re not exactly the ‘contest’ types. What’s more, we don’t exactly play easy-listening music that a lot of people enjoy. Reverb and fuzz are not exactly ‘in’ sounds nowadays; we play loud, according to the distorted and muddled garage-band aesthetic. That’s what we like.”
The Vulvets’ charisma and strong stage presence didn’t go unnoticed, earning the band a few prizes, and paid gigs that will see them playing all Québec this summer. Osheaga, FRIMAT, Festival de l’Outaouais émergent, Québec City’s Festival OFF. If you attend ferstivals in Québec, there’s a good chance you’ll run into the Vulvets this summer.
The Vulvets Spirit
The Vulvets adventure started during cider-fuelled evenings. “Dorothée Parent-Roy [guitars, vocals] and I often hung out at l’Esco [a famous Montréal watering hole and music venue, L’Escogriffe],” syas Ouimet. “We both played in bands – myself with Buddy McNeil and the Magic Mirrors, and she with Ultraptérodactyle and Dearbunnies. We’d occasionally talk about how tough it can sometimes be to be a girl in a guys’ band. At some point, we realized we both felt like starting a feminine project with a different dynamic. We rapidly established ties with my friend Marie-Ève Bouchard [drums, vocals], and someone introduced us to Marie-Claire Cronier [guitars, vocals], a singer-songwriter that had just left Sudbury to come to Montréal. We all shared musical influences. The chemistry was instantaneous at our first jam.”
The band’s name reflects the sense of humour that the musicians share. “We used to sing in English,” says Ouimet. “Then one day, Marie-Claire came to us with a song in French. I can’t stand bilingual albums, so we just switched to French altogether, and the Velvets became the Vulvets! When it’s just us and we talk about feminine activities, we call them ‘vulva sports.’ We all work in a super-masculine industry, so we’re all well versed in dirty jokes in tour vans! Early on, we called our music ‘c__t surf’: Surf rock with a feminine, dirty-minded approach!”
“It’s by getting used to seeing women where we least expect it that we’ll get over the fact that they’re females”— Isabelle LaTerreur Ouimet of The Vulvets
The Vulvets were among the first to sign the Femmes En Musique (F.E.M.) manifesto which denounced the industry’s sexism. “We thought it was important to point out the imbalance in the artistic presence of women compared to men, but we kept our distance when some started pointing at specific people. We won’t get what we want with a negative approach. We believe that it’s through awareness and education that we’ll be able to change things.”
Does it bother the Vulvets to be called a “girl band” when no one talks about a “guy band”? “No, we get the rarity effect, even though it doesn’t change anything musically,” says Ouimet. “We’re feminists and endorse the new approach for equality and parity. It’s a bit like female news anchors: there are many nowadays, but there were very few before. When we get used to seeing women where we least expect it, we’ll get over the fact that they’re female. The only thing that really gets to us is that, because we have a tomboy-ish side, people wonder if we’re lesbians, and that’s annoying. Why is it I can’t be feminine and love distortion, reverb and sweat – which is to say, real rock ‘n’ roll?”
We’ll still have to wait a little before we can blast the Vulvets through our speakers: their first album should come out in the spring of 2018, and the band will release two new songs before summer ends. In the meantime, we can always get an ear-bleed listening to the Vulvet’s fuzzy c__t-surf sound during one of the many festivals they’ll play this summer.
Lenni-Kim: Teen Radio
Story by Claude Côté | July 25, 2017
To infinity, and beyond! Buzz Lightyear’s famous catchphrase from the Toy Story franchise seems tailor-made for young Lenni-Kim’s ascension to the stars, a totally lit teenager who nonetheless has both feet firmly on the ground.
“I have three great passions in life: singing, the movies, and dance,” he says. “But singing is by far the greatest revelation to me. Cinema is secondary, but I do like the cinematography that can be included in my videos.” Lenni-Kim is part of the movie Le pacte des anges and also plays a young Martin Matte in the TV sitcom Les beaux malaises.
Before the worldwide release of his first album, Les autres, on June 30, 2017, the table was, as the saying goes, already set: nearly two million views for the “Pourquoi tout perdre,” a video created for World Suicide Prevention Day, and directed by Antoine-Olivier Pilon (Mommy). The song dominated Francophone sales charts for weeks.
“It’s a song that helps and soothes people,” says Lenni-Kim. “I can tell just by reading the comments and testimonies on Facebook. Some people even say I saved their lives! That’s a lot of pressure for a 15-year-old kid!” he says from Paris, where he’s currently developing his career.
“I don’t do this for fame, I do this for the music.”
And his online presence doesn’t stop there: a millions views for “Yolo,” and another million for his latest single, “Don’t Stop.” Lenni-Kim’s pop songs are more than a little reminiscent of one Justin Bieber. “Since him, we don’t really count the number of musicians who got a break thanks to YouTube,” he says wisely.
“I don’t dislike the comparison, but I’m still Lenni-Kim, I have my own personality. I do get the association, though: we started at the same age, we’re both pop signers, we’re both popular on YouTube (in his case thanks to covers of Shawn Mendes and Elli Goulding); I like his musical career path, but I can’t say I agree with all of his personal choices.”
“Music is a gateway to the soul,” one reads in bold characters on his website. But how does one open that door to the countless viewers of The Voice Kids, which airs on TF1, in France? Here’s Lenni-Kim’s take on that: “It never crossed my mind to sign up for The Voice Kids. It’s the show’s producers who contacted my singing school to search for candidates for their second season. First, I recorded a demo and the second step was auditioning via Skype.”
Jean-Yves Sénéchal, his agent and manager, jumped on that showcase – Lenni-Kim made it all the way to the face-offs – to have his protégé signed by Warner France and TF1 Music. “I knew right from the start that he has a dazzling personality,” says Sénéchal. “He has an aura and undeniable charisma. But that he’d become a teen idol? That wasn’t our plan, but in light of the public reception and enthusiasm, one might think he was destined for that. For the time being, my role is to manage supply and demand for the Québec and France markets.”
“How do I describe my music?” wonders the young artist. “Well, during the creative process with Louis Côté (K-Maro), who produced the album, we tried all kinds of things with snippets of various styles and sounds, just to see where that would take us. Sometimes it would be darker, so we’d go in that direction. Other times it was sunny and light; nothing was pre-meditated, we were just exploring. There are some darker places in the moods, there are some sad songs. What’s important is to properly latch on to an emotion, the lyrics come after. When you do music, it’s important to carry a message and even help people. I wrote the lyrics to “I Want This,” but all the other songs were written by a team of writers whom I guided for certain passages to make sure that the words fit. It is my first album, after all!”