by Danielle French

Released 2007
Scarlett Raven Productions
Released 2007
Scarlett Raven Productions
Danielle has strayed slightly left of centre on her latest CD 'Shadows'. Her music has been described as "beautiful strangeness", cruising through the either, as well as the underworld, with artist such as Tori Amos and Tom Waits.
Having released two independent CD’s of a more radio-friendly nature, Danielle has veered slightly left of centre with her third independent release, Shadows, opting to experiment, explore and push her artistic boundaries. Her latest material has been described as beautiful strangeness as Danielle has uncovered melodies that are somewhat strange, yet somehow familiar. She is possessed of a diverse and slightly surreal talent: cruising through the ether, as well as the underworld, with artists such as Jane Siberry, Tori Amos, and Tom Waits. Shadows has been receiving rave reviews and was named among CKUA Radio’s Top 100 Albums of 2007.

Danielle French is an award-winning singer/songwriter who, in her 10+ years as a recording artist, and performer, has worked with an impressive list of musicians and producers that reads like a who’s who of the Canadian music industry. Artists such as Burton Cummings, Rita McNeil, Tom Cochrane, Matthew Good, as well as members Spirit of the West, Blue Rodeo, the Rheostatics, Veal, Sarah McLachlan’s band, Barney Bentall and Mae Moore’s band have leant their talents and/or support to Danielle’s various projects. She has co-written with Matthew Good, Jenny Allen and Annette Ducharme and several of her songs have been covered by Jenny Allen, Shelley Lennox and the Plaid Tongued Devils. Career highlights include being invited onto Rita MacNeil’s hit CBC show Rita and Friends, and being welcomed onto the Calgary leg of Lilith Fair.

On her latest release Shadows, Danielle handpicked a short-list of “musical soul mates” to contribute their particular quirks to this recording. Shadows was co-produced by the multi-multi-talented Jonathan Lewis (the Plaid Tongued Devils, Rembetika Hipsters…), who also played violin, accordion, mandolin and keyboards. This project features the tightest rhythm section in Calgary, with Peter Moller on drums and Diane Kooch on bass (both of Kris Demeanors’ Crack Band). Brent Van Dusen did a bunch of crazy random percussion. The maddest of madmen guitarists, Martin Tielli (Rheostatics) played bizarre and beautiful electric guitars and also contributed some gorgeous vocal tracks and Diego Medina (Chad Van Gaalen’s co-producer and keyboardist) picked up where Martin left off and added just the right amount of strange synth sounds to take this project into outer space.

One of the songs that appears on Shadows, a Tom Waits inspired song called Time to Kill, placed 2nd runner up in the Calgary Folk Festival Songwriting Competition in 2005 and made it to the semi-finals in the 2006 International Songwriting Competition. Danielle recently received both a Canada Council and Bravo!FACT grant to produce and direct a short film to Time to Kill which was edited in co-production with the Banff New Media Institute at The Banff Centre. This film is currently being broadcast nationally on Bravo! and was accepted into the 2009 Sedona International Film Festival. Her song Descending, was licensed to the TV show Falcon Beach, which aired nationally in 2007 and around the world on ABC in the United States, on BBC in the UK, and in 30 other countries from Vietnam to Israel. Shadows was completed thanks for the generous support of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

Danielle has coupled her well-spent studio time with a relentless work ethic. Over the past decade she has toured extensively across Canada and the United States (for three years she literally lived out of her mint green, flowery-curtained Dodge Maxivan!). She’s opened for (surprise!) another who’s who list of performers including Burton Cummings, Holly Cole, The Barenaked Ladies, Spirit of the West, Mae Moore, Melanie Doane, and Lawrence Gowan. She has also been spotted touring with a project called Grrrls with Guitars, a female singer/songwriter showcase and compilation CD series based out of Vancouver.

Danielle’s undying allegiance to film, theatre and the arts culminates in a myriad of ambitious undertakings including (co-)writing music for several theatre productions including Rapture: A Study in Seven Songs by The Green Fools and the one-woman clown show Bobby by Judith Mendelsohn; being featured in a gallery show displaying her photography series, Reflections from my Rearview Mirror, at The Banff Centre’s Other Gallery (2005); and producing and directing several short films including the aforementioned Time to Kill and her debut film, Avalon, which is set to one of her songs of the same name and appears as a DVD enhancement on the Shadows CD release. Avalon premiered at the Mutton Busting Festival as part of One Yellow Rabbit Theatre’s High Performance Rodeo in 2004, and went on to enjoy screenings at Theatre Junction’s Random Acts Festival (2004), the Calgary International Film Festival (2004) and the Herland Festival. (2005).

It’s obvious that music, for one who oozes creativity from every pore, is just part of the overall tapestry of expression that is Danielle's life. If you haven’t seen Danielle command the stage (in one of her trademark flower-print polyester dresses - where does she find them all?) you now have a mission.