Three years after winning the Petite-Vallée Song Festival competition in 2003, actor and singer-songwriter Viviane Audet released Le long jeu (The Long Play), a well-crafted debut album whose theatrical statements sometimes didn’t do justice to her genuine personality and musical talent. Almost eight years later, her second album, Le couloir des ouragans (Tornado Alley), finally reveals a delicate folk-pop artist with a more intimate, luminous and melodious style.

Audet’s new direction is indicated right from the jacket of her new CD, which shows a woman who appears to be running away. “That image was chosen for a purpose,” Audet confirms. “I wanted to leave my first album behind. I needed something more suggestive and less aggressive. I performed my first album as if it were going to be my last. I gave it my all! Bori said to me, ‘It’s strange, but after listening to your songs, we still don’t know you. There’s a veil in front of your songs.’ I took it wrong at the time because I didn’t know what he meant.

“Creating is a truly intimate experience. It’s not something I could share with anyone.”

“Then, I turned 30, and was able to take off my actor’s mask for this recording, which I wanted to be more personal and more restrained. During my last years as a film and television actor, directors used to tell me, ‘Try not to overact – the camera will catch your eyes and facial expression.’ I probably learned from that,” the 32-year-old Gaspé region native now admits.

The reasons Audet took so long to release a second album were her increased activities as a stage and television performer and, on the music side, her need to change record and production companies, create a new repertoire and build a new team. “I took voice lessons and got involved in projects that helped me morph into a musician, such as scoring Rafaël Ouellet’s Camion [with boyfriend Robin-Joël Cool and Erik West-Millette]. I opened my horizons while freeing myself from residual influences. I developed a taste for folk songs in their purest essence. I became interested in seeking the cleanest possible arrangements. I’d be lying if I said giving birth to this new album was easy, but I’m glad I didn’t give up, because this is the creative project I’m the proudest of,” the multi-instrumentalist musician sums up.

And rightly so. Audet wisely surrounded herself with talented people for her new recording venture: the Acadian poet Georgette LeBlanc and authors Baptiste and Émile Proulx on the lyrics side, and, on the production side, Philippe Brault (Pierre Lapointe), whose well-crafted and subtle arrangements enhance the album’s songs. “Composing is candy compared to the pains of finding the right words,” Audet explains. “I do my composing work alone at home in the morning. That way I feel that, as I just came out of sleep, my mind hasn’t been contaminated yet by the outside world. It’s my blank page. I put my hands on the keyboard, press the record button on my iPhone, and start the process. First, I look for a theme. I’m really shy. I can’t work if there is anyone next to me or even in the same room. Creating is a truly intimate experience. It’s not something I could share with anyone.”

After a pause, she adds: “I suffer from the syndrome of not liking anything I write. A couple months later, though, I can look at what I did and not find it quite as bad! I never throw anything out because I know I will see it in a different light later on. I truly have a love-hate relationship with writing, a problem with looking at myself objectively. That’s the reason why I love surrounding myself with authors. It helps me breathe easier. Plus, I love teamwork,” she explains.

Asked to name her main musical influences, Audet lists Patrice Desbiens, Thomas Fersen, Barbara, Chloé Ste-Marie, Gilles Bélanger, Yann Perreau, Juliette Gréco, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel. “And I should also mention Richard Desjardins, this amazing poet of everyday life with frequently four-dimensional lyrics. This kind of songwriting inspires me,” she says.

Besides scoring Rafaël Ouellet’s next film (Gurov et Anna) with her partner Robin-Joël Cool, Audet is scheduled to perform opening slots for Louis-Jean Cormier and Isabelle Boulay during the next FrancoFolies de Montréal festival. This will be followed in the fall with a Montreal concert and the release of the first EP from her Anglophone folk project Mentana (with Cool). “I see myself as a communicator first and foremost, whether it is through a song, a character, a story or a feeling,” she says. “I need to communicate vocally, to be onstage. This goes all the way back to my childhood. I’m comfortable with that today, and I enjoy performing as part of any kind of project. I hope I’ll be able to do this for many years to come.”


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Have you ever searched for song lyrics online? So have millions of other people, but only one company – with the sheer determination of its founder – figured out a way to get money into the hands of the writers of those lyrics.

It was a hard road pushing LyricFind up the mountain of legitimacy, but now, in its 10th year of business, the Toronto-based licensing service finds itself king of the hill at last. The turning point came last year when LyricFind acquired the lyric business of its principal rival, Gracenotes. Since then growth has skyrocketed, and LyricFind is now the undisputed global leader in online lyric licensing – boasting agreements with more than 3,000 music publishers.

“We’re paying out three times as much now as we were a year-and-a-half ago,” says LyricFind co-founder Darryl Ballantyne.

“We monetized an industry that was entirely illegal,” he adds proudly. “The only people making any money were lyric websites that were selling a ton of ads and not paying any royalties at all. That made it a little easier to get the initial deals done, because it was found money for the music publishers.” Online lyric display also drives music discovery and sales, which makes additional money for artist-songwriters.

It may be based in Toronto, but LyricFind has been tilting towards the U.S. almost from the beginning. Its North American royalties are distributed through the Harry Fox Agency, and one of its biggest champions has been the National Music Publishers’ Association, which sued lyrics site LiveUniverse in 2012, winning a major $6.6 million settlement.

LyricFind now has deals with reproduction rights and performance rights societies in 30 territories around the world.

“As we’re expanding globally, we’re doing more and more deals with societies,” says Ballantyne. “To us it doesn’t really matter whether the society is mechanical or performance, what matters is the connection to the publishers and the society’s ability to get us the correct ownership/split data.”

LyricFind licenses a wide range of lyric users – websites, digital music download services, mobile phone makers, etc. The company negotiates individual royalty rates depending on the revenue model of the user’s business, be it a percentage of ad revenue or a per-unit fee for device sales.

“Lyric websites were selling a ton of ads and not paying any royalties at all.”

“We pool all of that across the various different revenue models and we end up with an average we’re paying the publishers of around one-tenth of a cent per display,” explains Ballantyne. These small micro-payments add up.

“It’s very much a hits-driven business,” explains Ballantyne, “so the majors see a significant amount of money from us every quarter.”

Ballantyne founded LyricFind in 2004 with partners Mohamed Moutadayne and Chris Brock who met as students at the University of Waterloo. “It’s a lot of fun now, but early on it was very much a slog,” remembers Ballantyne. “We freeloaded off parents and ex-girlfriends… It was a lot of long hours and no real money. But we always believed there was a market there and eventually it proved right.”


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First name Kalle. Last name Mattson. Notice the two L’s. Don’t confuse the musician with the trendy vegetable. He’s named after J.J. Cale, the late great songwriter, who penned such classics as “After Midnight” and “Call Me the Breeze.” Some tough musical shoes to fill. Then again, maybe that bar isn’t so hard to live up to when you’re already an old soul at 22. You’ve toured Europe, won a pair of Northern Ontario Music awards, and most importantly – thanks to your muse – you’ve learned to grieve.

This past February, Mattson released Someday the Moon Will be Gold. The singer-songwriter’s third album, it’s also his most personal. It’s a record he was unsure he could ever release. Grief got a grip on his muse and demanded he write these songs.

Mattson spoke to Words + Music prior to a showcase for the album at Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern. One month since the album’s official release, he’s feeling comfortable with this song cycle about death. The response, from fans and critics alike, has been incredible.

“I felt like it was a risky move to put my life on display.”

“This record is a part of my soul,” Mattson explains. “It took me a really long time to want to make it. I felt like it was a risky move to put my life on display, so I sat on this record for a long time. I’ve learned that allowing that vulnerability is good. It’s cathartic in a weird way and people have responded to that.”

Five years ago, Mattson, then 16, lost his mom. Still too young to fully grasp this life-changing event, he turned to music for answers. Walking home from school, he listened to Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky. Hearing Jeff Tweedy sing about death comforted him; it made him feel he wasn’t alone. That seminal disc, along with Evening Hymns’ Spectral Dusk, inspired the songwriter to write and record the emotive songs that make up Someday the Moon Will be Gold.

In May 2011, Mattson’s grandmother passed away. He moved from Ottawa back to his childhood home in Sault Ste. Marie for the first time since his mother had died. The songs – such as “A Love Song to The City,” one of many poignant compositions, which he wrote in his living room in an afternoon – came fast.

“Looking back on it now, I grieved through this record and came out the other side,” he writes in a blog entry on his website. “I escaped into these songs, and in a lot of ways they seem like all I have left, but at least I have them.”

 TRACK RECORD

  • His video for “Water Falls” has earned more than 250,000 YouTube views, and for “Thick as Thieves,” more than a million.
  • Anchors (2011) received a pair of Northern Ontario Music Award wins, for Album of the Year (Group) & SOCAN Songwriter of the Year.
  • Mattson loves to bowl while on tour: “It’s a cheap way to have fun.”

FYI
Publisher:
N/A
Discography: Whisper Bee (2009), Anchors (2011) Lives In Between (EP, 2012), Someday, The Moon Will be Gold (2014)
Member since 2009
Visit www.kallemattson.com


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