Unlike many inspiring artists stories on how they discovered music and developed talents completely on their own accord; my story differs as I am definitely the outcome of the environment that I was surrounded by growing up. Music has always been at the center of my life ever since I can remember; and hearing it around the house was such a major part of my childhood that it was like a second language to me.
I have been fortunate to have spent my youth immersed in so many different genres and styles of music; while being encouraged to feel the different rhythms and tones of each song through dancing, singing and jamming- while exploring any instrument that was in our house at the time.
My parents personal styles of music were very opposite. My Mom trained classically on the piano when she was younger, and performed the clarinet with her high-school band- while my Dad spent his youth in multiple high-energy rock bands playing both original and cover songs as the drummer. Years after when they got married they passed their appreciation towards all music to my brothers and I.
At first there was just an acoustic guitar in our house since my Dad had to sell his drums before we were born as money was tight and he was very busy with work. I remember being so drawn to the instrument as a kid; always curious where the music came from and amazed at how such different sounds could come from it. When my Dad would come home from work he would very frequently play the guitar and sing songs he wrote for my brothers and I to keep us entertained and momentarily out of trouble. I also have vivid memories of my brothers and I playing competitive musical chairs for hours after dinner to Big Band Jazz on the radio; and was just recently told that it was their method of tiring us out so we would go to bed earlier, haha.
As we grew older we each gravitated towards different instruments. Eventually my folks once again acquired a piano and a drum kit… and the house became even louder than it already was. I was instantly allured to the piano as it was an instrument that I could actually play for once- as the guitar was always way too big for me to hold and very difficult to play. Piano keys gave me a new freedom to explore all of the notes I was hearing from the guitar but couldn’t actually replicate myself. Following my Mom’s footsteps I took piano lessons for a couple years until I lost interest in playing classical songs as I wanted to keep up with my brothers and Dad who were jamming out to classic rock music. (To this day quitting piano lessons is one of my biggest regrets.)
With Matthew on the drums, David on the bass guitar, my Dad on the electric guitar, myself on the keyboards and my Mom giving us support we slowly built up our song repertoire. Our first family gig was in Timmins, Ontario-my parents home town- at our family reunion at “Camp Bickell” where we played Journey songs for Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and relatives from near and far. The first-time experience was so nerve-wrecking, but at the same time energizing and exciting. At this point in time I was very quiet and definitely not comfortable singing in front of anyone so we played instrumentals.
Spending 8 hours in the car driving to and from Timmins every summer is where I really got to expand my knowledge of different artists. The albums that I remember that were on repeat the most were April Wine, Boston, Bryan Adams, Chiliwack, The Eagles, Journey, Led Zeppelin, Rush, Styx, Van Halen, Yes, and of course various Movie and TV Show sound-tracks. (… I also remember being so annoyed in the car as my brother would be drumming and tapping on everything when I was trying to sleep, haha). One of my favourite parts of trips to Timmins was also being able to play my Gramma’s family piano, and visiting the music store, and the Shania Twain Center when it was still there.
As my brothers and I continued to get older and enter high-school, music was one of the main things that kept our family together as we spent a lot of time learning songs together. We expanded from playing our Journey Medley to learning a RUSH Tribute which we performed at the high-school talent show when I was in my first year Grade 9, and Matthew was in his final year. The months leading up to the performance were VERY loud, as a water pipe in our house literally burst, but it wasn’t for naught as we put on a good show! At this point in my life I was still super shy and quiet and just starting to attempt to play the guitar asking David and my Dad to teach me new chords or how to play something every time we would jam. I quickly became obsessed with the instrument and spent countless hours practicing the guitar… and would even regularly choose playing the guitar alone in my room over hanging out with friends. I began to sing out loud at home and even ventured into posting cover songs on YouTube but still couldn’t find the courage to sing in-front of a real audience.
Now that we are all older and have our own busy lives, we don’t get to play all together as often but always make sure we can find time at some point during the year. My life experiences have caused me to become deeply rooted in music. 🌱🎶 Whenever I listen to the radio and hear a song my Mom, Dad or brothers played or would listen to growing up I get to relive a little part of the past as my mind becomes flooded with memories.