June 2014 - Post Launch and Still Going!
*Deep Breath* ...inhale...e x h a l e...
The BAD TABOO CD Launch happened on May 28, 2014 at the House of Jazz. What a build up it was with media calls and then leading to the launch. I must admit, I was a train wreck prior to stepping up on stage. But before I go on...here are some media memorabilia that you can check out. Media calls are still coming in fast and furious even though the launch is done, I am still being called for interviews so stay tuned. Click on the links to see what they think...it's pretty awesome if I do say so myself. Google translation does an OK job to give you the gist.
Montreal Gazette (Canada) :: Montreal's Global TV (Canada) :: Zicazic (France) :: Blues Underground Network (Canada) :: Sound Guardian (Croatia) :: No More Radio.com (Podcast) :: The Suburban News (Canada) :: Wasser-Prawda (Germany) :: Cashbox Canada (By the way, this is the 2nd review they do about us. Their first review confirms that we're on the right path in pushing the envelope on the Blues. Here is their review of Original Sin.) :: Le Net Blues (Canada)
Aside from the whirlwind of Bad Taboo's CD launch, media was also ramping up for the launch of a web-series I had a role in called "Sex & Ethnicity" where I played the role of Mrs. Tan, wife to a strict Asian husband and mother of a lesbian daughter and a child with autism. Fun in an actress kinda way but no way would I like a husband like that!
So back to the launch. We had a blast! Our beloved sponsor, the House of Jazz was full to capacity. Our other much loved sponsor, Sennheiser Canada was there in spirit but supported us with another mic since this album requires 3 backup vocals. People were into the music! We even got a festival booking on the spot for October! There are some photos on the group FB page but I am purposely holding off on the videos for now. Some fans posted their videos on youtube, which I am sharing.
The day after the launch (phew!), adrenalin kicked in again as we hit the stage at the VIP Fundraiser for the West Island Blues Festival, honouring the West Island Palliative Care Residence and the West Island Black Community. Great causes! We had a big stage where each member of the band had lots of room, and of course - lots of room for me to dance around! We had a triple-exclamation-point-blast!!! We got folks up on their feet dancing, laughing at the jokes AND A STANDING OVATION!!! We also made some new friends, and the food! Oh my goodness, THE FOOD!!! A cornucopia of Caribbean, Greek, Italian fare. The bad part was that I had to be careful not to overeat before going on stage. But what the hey! I had seconds and it was well worth the tummy confusion after the show! LOL
The band is definitely a solid unit. Not only are we musical colleagues, we are friends. There were funny moments behind the stage where Tim, our keyboardist, was fighting with the thick curtains to get backstage. It was a slapstick sight to behold. Then there is Rami, our guitarist, who misunderstood the lyrics on the hook of "Not Worth The Show", thinking that I am singing something X-Rated. I still giggle.
So now, something a bit more serious. To our new fans, we truly appreciate the enthusiasm you have regarding our new album (Bad Taboo) by spreading the word on the internet & social media. However, posting a studio-version of a song, i.e. ripping/copying any song (or the whole album) and posting it on youtube, FB & other media without authorization & our consent hurts us more than your intent to help us. Doing that robs us of earning a living. As well, you could get in trouble with copyright laws (theft of intellectual property). The best way to support us is by sharing the links where to purchase the album or singles or even better, request a tune from your local radio station and if they do not know who we are, direct them to our online pages (FB, youtube, website, etc.) Here are the links to help promote the album and its singles.
Thank you for understanding, thank you for helping us make a living out of our passions for you to enjoy. We love you!
May 2014 - Countdown to Launch!
We stepped back on stage on May 10th after a month+ of studio work, administration work on the album, bla bla bla. I must admit, I was as nervous as heck. Sweaty palms, butterflies in the stomach...the whole kit. But after the first 5 minutes on stage, I was back at home and it was good.
I was quite blessed with the month off. I met so many people in the music industry. I even had lunch with a world renowned Diva who stopped by Montreal. She heard the work that we do and said that we were on the right path. I cannot describe the feeling I have inside with such an acknowledgement. Gives me strength and the will to keep on keeping on.
Then at a moment when I felt unsure, I receive a phone call from one of Montreal's living jazz legends. He wanted to congratulate me and the band on the launch of our 3rd album. I had a long talk with him, about my insecurities, about my fears and wishes, and, about wanting to do this right not just for me but for the guys in the band. We all worked so hard, we were oh-so-patient, we kept getting hit by life time and time again, but we continued on. His wise words, "Do you feel it is right? Then it is. You've managed to do it all on your own. It's hard, it's costly, it's lonely but it is all yours. So now, breathe. Like a mother who is about to give birth, breathe in deep and give birth. Share your gift and never stop doing so because you owe it to us."
Our 3rd album. I have the boxes of CDs under my stairs, I've mailed hard copies to radio stations all over the world. I've been receiving some congratulatory emails, confirmations that airplay has begun and some who are wondering when they will receive theirs. Canada Post has them and will surely bring them to your doorstep. Media interviews have begun to promote the launch. There is something different about it this time around. I cannot pin point it. It feels like the first time...but even more. I don't know if it's good or bad, but I go with the flow. There is a new familiarity about it. I am careful and somewhat scared.
This 3rd album is not about me. It's about the collaborations with the guys, the guest artists Guy Bélanger...the honor of having Shun Kikuta on a tune. Goodness! My head hasn't spinning since Shun accepted to collaborate a few years ago.
I catch myself stopping to inhale deeply and exhale slowly.
May 28th is coming fast.
I've turned a page.
I catch myself stopping to inhale deeply and exhale slowly.
April 2014 - We're Stepping Up!
We missed you!
March and April has been such hectic months preparing for our CD launch that there wasn't enough time in the day to update the news. But we're back. Things have calmed down slightly enough to take a breath and give you some exciting news!
2014 Lys Blues Awards
For the 3rd year in a row, I have been nominated in the category of Best Female Blues Artist.
Montreal's man about the town, The Montreal Gazette's Richard Burnett says, « Best Female Blues Artist" at Quebec's 2014 Lys Blues Awards is by far the toughest category this year: Nominees include the awesome Carolyn Fe (Carolyn Fe Blues Collective), living legend Nanette Workman, and the kickass Dawn Tyler Watson and Angel Forrest. »
To be nominated in the same category as veterans of the Blues world is quite an honour. I never thought that the Blues insiders would consider me in the same calibre.
The winner is decided by the public and voting ends on Sunday, April 27 at 11:59pm. Here is the link and I hope you will take the time to vote, here is the link: 2014 Lys Blues Awards
Back On Stage
Although we did not have any shows in April, we were busy behind the scenes getting the new songs under our belts and preparing for the CD launch. So here it is...we step back on stage in May and it is going to be a blast!!!
New CD is Finally Here!
CD Launch on Wednesday, May 28th from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at the House of Jazz. Don't wait for the last minute. Seating is limited and although we are still in April, seats have already been reserved! Call the House of Jazz at 514-842-8656 and reserve your spot today!
Numerous postponements delayed the release of the album. But now, the long awaited CD is finally seeing the light. Our 3rd album, BAD TABOO featuring Shun Kikuta comes out at the end of May! Dedicated to Barry Mell, BAD TABOO will be debuted on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at the band's Montreal base and resident venue, the House of Jazz. The 3rd album BAD TABOO, CDs (including the award winning Original Sin and the band's debut 100%) and T-Shirts will be available for purchase. A tour will ensue shortly after, visit the calendar: http://www.carolyn-fe.com/index.php/calendar
The album features a collaboration with Mr. Shun Kikuta on the title track, BAD TABOO, wherein Shun serves up the notes to this soulful R&B styled song. Mr. Kikuta who has left Chicago and now resides in Asia was formerly the guitar player for Queen of the Blues, Ms. Koko Taylor and dubbed “The light (skinned) BB King” by BB King himself.
This collaboration is quite exciting as Carolyn Fe Blues Collective keeps pushing the Blues envelope and continues on with our personal take on the musical genre's evolution.
Check out the calendar and we are looking forward to seeing you in May - especially at the CD launch!
February 2014 - New Beginnings
Old Habits Die Hard ~
If you've been following my blog, you will notice that I am not really good at starting the blog in the New Year. Especially now that each New Year brings bittersweet memories.
I hope that the holiday season was kind to you and that memories you have make you appreciate each moment you live.
Honouring Friends - Old and New, Here and Departed ~
2013 as you may remember started out with the loss of the band's Artist Agent and my friend, Barry Mell, at what was a turning point in the band's career. Barry passed away on January 18, 2013 - the eve of our show at the Toronto Blues Summit - 6. Then, February 3, 2013 marked the Tribute show in honour of Barry. The Mell Family was so kind to me at what must have been a most difficult time in their lives. They found it in their hearts to cheer me up and encouraged me to go on. But when all was said and done, I was at a complete loss as to what to do with the management of the band. We had started work on our 3rd album, but deep down inside, I was not so sure if I could go on. I had a heavy heart and lost confidence in my capabilities to run the business of being an artist, actress, musician and producer. But as you continue to read, you will see that I have found my strength and conviction to go on.
I am so grateful for the fans, friends and family members whose encouragements touched me to the core. Their belief in my work helped me find my footing. The guys in the band, who I lovingly call my "Stage Husbands", forged ahead with writing new tunes and I had no other choice but to follow and write up the lyrics. There are times when one has to fake it to make it. 2013 was such a heavy year. It was a year of reflection, re-adjustments, planning and now, I am so happy that it is nothing but a memory!
I welcome 2014 with open arms and curious excitement at what can and will happen!
A New Life ~ Carolyn Fe Productions Inc. / Les Productions Carolyn Fe Inc.
Whereas 2013 was a year of re-adjustments and planning, 2014 is a year of action! Putting into place what was put into a plan. So we start the year with the introduction of my new company, "Carolyn Fe Productions Inc.". Inspired by Barry Mell, this company will oversee the management and booking of shows for Carolyn Fe Blues Collective.
New Projects, New Sponsorships ~
Carolyn Fe Productions Inc. will eventually represent other artists as well, but for now it is exclusive to Carolyn Fe Blues Collective. I always told Barry that "We Will Represent!" and I intend to hold my promise. For that matter, I am happy to announce and introduce you to Ms. Colette Lachapelle, our new Artist's Representative. If you wish to book the band, you can reach her by email at: colette (at) carolyn-fe (dot) com
By the same token the new company will be a production house overseeing the production of Blues Shows such as "Jammin' the Blues" (last year we had two shows featuring King King and Angel Forrest - there will be more coming), Theatre Productions (Altera Vitae Productions), and the management of my projects as an Actress for TV, Film and Theatre. My acting agent will continue to do the bookings for me in film/TV/theatre.
Most recently, the House of Jazz has become an official sponsor for the band. The band was grateful when we were given residency and we always feel at home on the stage of the House of Jazz. Sennheiser is still rock solid behind us making sure we are heard. There are more sponsors coming to join the band but I will announce them as they come.
Other projects are now in the beginning stages for the new company! Stay tuned as these are exciting times! I will definitely keep you posted in due time.
The Album, The Launch!
Sometimes, one just has to go with the flow. The 3rd album has been postponed so many times that I was ready to throw in the towel and forget it. But my stubbornness didn't allow me to let go, so I hung in there. Besides, when there are 4 stage husbands to take care of, I cannot afford to let go because if I did, it would be like corralling hamsters running free in a 1000 sq ft space. Goodness knows, I am too old to run after men. They come to me instead.
So here it is. The news you have all been waiting for. The 3rd Album, which is still untitled, will be launched at the House of Jazz in May 2014. The album has two guest artists: Mr. Shun Kikuta who played guitar for the great Koko Taylor (RIP), and Mr. Guy Bélanger who is a staple in the Quebec Blues Scene as one heck of a classy Harmonica player. I am so honoured to have them on our next album! Stay tuned for the date and time of the launch.
In the meantime come see us play at the House of Jazz, the dates are here: Calendar
The end of 2013 brings bittersweet flashbacks. Just like a present, we finally wrap it up and tie the bow.
Our year started with the excitement that is the Toronto Blues Summit 6, only to find out that our beloved agent and friend, Barry Mell, suddenly passed away as Rami, our guitarist was on his way to pick him up and celebrate with us in Toronto. A tribute was organised in his honour and although Barry may be gone, his memory lives on.
Other highlights of 2013 -
- The band received a Sennheiser sponsorship.
- Connections made with Asia in the collaboration of our 3rd album but life kept happening to various members of the band so we've had to postpone the launch dates again and again.
- Finally the Philippines, Carolyn Fe’s home country that was devastated by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in October and most recently, Typhoon Haiyan where the band and the House of Jazz with the help of local media raised over $100,000.00 for the Red Cross.
- To our friends across Canada and even south of the border, we would like to extend a THANK YOU to those who have extended their kind hands in our times of need (you know who you are).
Moving forward, we hope the 2014 brings us a new agent, the launch of our album, gigs, and more gigs.
Here’s what we’re up to this month!
December 16 & 17: Carolyn Fe joins her Blues for 2 nights at Hugh's Room. Have a Bluesy Christmas with Etta James, hosted by Danny Marks and Jesse Whiteley, with Shakura S'Aida, Cheryl Lescom, Sabrina Weeks, Dawn Tyler Watson and Carolyn Fe who will celebrate the Queen of the Blues. Get your tickets, they're selling out fast.
December 20: Let your backbone slide at the Black Cat Bone! Carolyn Fe Blues Collective in a Trio format brings the roots feel to the band’s repertoire as Blues Dancers take the floor
December 21: The band takes the stage at their home at the House of Jazz. A Saturday night and we'll get the house howlin' and dancin' to the Blues! Reservations are highly recommended: 514-842-8656, Admission: $10.00 Address: 2060 Aylmer, c. Président-Kennedy (Métro McGill), Montréal, Québec H3A 2E3
December 31- NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY: Start the evening off with The Paradise Band with jazz veterans Billy Georgette and Norman Marshall Villeneuve. Finish off the year with the Blues as Carolyn Fe Blues Collective rings in the New Year with guest musician Snooky taking the seat at the drums. Bring your dancing shoes and dress to the nines 'cause we'll be dancin', prancin' and champagnin'. Good times start happening at 8:30pm. Reservations are a MUST: 514-842-8656, Address: 2060 Aylmer, c. Président-Kennedy (Métro McGill), Montréal, Québec H3A 2E3
First it was the earthquake in Bohol, Philippines. A few weeks later, Typhoon Haiyan hits. How much more can the Filipinos handle? The Philippines is my homeland.
Although I left the country a long time ago, my heart remains. Filipinos are resilient, persistent and resourceful. But there comes a time when a lending hand is most appreciated. The band, in collaboration with the House of Jazz, Chef Michael Minorgan, ACE, and members of the Filipino community here in Montreal, are doing a fund raising event.
To the Philippines, With Love - Featuring Carolyn Fe Blues Collective and Taurey Butler at the House of Jazz offer up an evening of food, song and solidarity to gather desperately needed funds for the thousands of children and adults left destitute in the wake of Haiyan. Chef Michael Minorgan and, Cucina Cafe Resto of the Filipino community will offer up "Pansit Bihon" (noodle dish) abd "Lumpia" (similar to spring rolls) for a taste of the Philippines. Included with any meal from the House of Jazz menu.
A Donation Box for cash and cheques (payable to Canadian Red Cross - Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan) will be available
Raffle tickets will be available for $10 each to win:
House of Jazz gift certificates (value $100.00), Jewelry from Ron Hall Jewelry Designs (I wear his work onstage quite often)T-Shirts & Polos Shirts from Rock-FM
The House of Jazz will also donate a percentage of the evening’s sales. Proceeds of the event will be donated to the Typhoon Haiyan Fund of the Canadian Red Cross.
Date: November 28, 2013 Where: House of Jazz, 2060 Aylmer (corner of President Kennedy), Montreal Time: 6:30 pm Entrance cost: $10 Dress Code: Formal Reservations are highly recommended: 514-842-8656
Many thanks to EVENT SPONSORS:
House of Jazz, Mr. Georges Durst, Sharman Yarnell,Chef Michael Minorgan, Cucina Cafe Resto (46th Ave/Cote de Liesse, Lachine), Ron Hall Jewelry Designs, Rock-FM, ACE, Curtains Up.
If you cannot attend, here is a specific link where all monetary donations will go directly to the Philippines: Canadian Red Cross Money donations are the best way to help the Philippines. Funds are easily transferred & material goods can be bought from local businesses to help the economy. Donating items are appreciated but create a bottleneck when distributing. But if you insist please follow the guidelines:
1. URGENT need for: Bottled water, Soap, Toothpaste, Toothbrushes, Diapers, Sanitary Napkins 2. Canned food must be the type that does not need a can opener. They must be the 'ready to eat' type of food (stews, spaghetti-o's, etc) 3. Clothes must be clean and packaged/boxed by type of clothing/size/men, women or children's clothes (shirts, pants, skirts, etc). Do not mix them in the same box. Summer clothing (remember, it's very hot there)
Drop off centre for items: FAMAS - Filipino Association of Montreal and Suburbs.