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.
Thank goodness I am an artist, first and foremost. I have been given a gift, a vehicle to express what I feel, see, hope and experience. A vehicle with license to freely go where I want, to be what I want to be, and most importantly to feel ALIVE without any borders. Free to push the envelopes and continue to discover the world around me. Free to risk.
I have a day job in the corporate world but being a working artist allows me to see out of the box and be creative in a "forcibly" creative environment. Being an artist saves me. Whereas there are a lot of good folks who really want to realize their dreams but fall into a trap of waking up one day too late saying, "I should have, I could have..." (By the way, it's never too late. It's only a matter of how important it is for you to make it happen.)
Have you ever wanted something so bad that it hurts? Hurts so bad because deep down inside you know that if you do not take the risk, a part of you will die? Will be lost? Will be wasted? Think about it. So many social standards that forces one to be boxed in and made to think that fitting in is the only way. Pretty sad. What happens is a bunch of people that identify themselves to something that is fundamentally not them. We try to stand out within the parameters of society's rules and regulations, only to find that we have pushed aside who and what we really want to accomplish.
So...this is me blabbing, being nervous, being anxious. Why? I finally see the end...the production of our 3rd album (yet untitled) is almost complete. Lead vocal tracks are done. Back vocals are on the way. Mixing has started on some tunes and, on other tunes mixing is being finalized.
I feel like I am on the edge. About to take a step into the abyss. My heart is pounding and I can hear myself breathe.
It's good to feel alive.
I've crossed the line sometime last month.
Half a century and a bit.
My body certainly feels it – after a show or when the weather changes. My mind? Well, lets just say, it giggles. My life has taken me through countless adventures. To those who know me well, they wonder how I was able to do it all and why am I still alive. LMAO!!!
...I am not done yet...
There are so many things that I still have on my list of things to do. But I am ever so grateful for all the things that I have accomplished and crossed off my list. I am humbled at the opportunities that came at hand and the friends who meant it when they said, « I got your back » … through thick and thin, they really did « have my back ».
I am grateful that my band has a residency at the House of Jazz. Having a residency at a venue that shows us how much they truly appreciate what we offer is priceless. We come in and see all the smiling and welcoming faces of the staff, the patrons who get up and dance in the aisles...THIS IS PRICELESS. Not only is this a steady gig but the venue helps us build our fan base – Folks who come up from New York City just to see us play and then go back home the next day! Then there's the couple who made sure we were playing to celebrate their anniversary and said that they wanted it to be a yearly habit...a tradition...it was the second time they celebrated their wedding anniversary with us. WOW! I cannot imagine how it can get any better than this! This gig has given us and continue to give us the time to work on our albums and then some!
The production of Jammin' The Blues Series was quite a thrill. Having Alan Nimmo and his band, King King and then Angel Forrest as guests. There will be more Jammin' The Blues. I want to bring Blues to different venues and introduce new/unkown artists to Blues fans and more importantly to those who do not know much about the Blues. You've heard it said before that the Blues is the root of all American music. From Jazz, Country, R&B, Rock...and yet, the Blues is not mainstream. Now, we gotta do something about that, no?
The opportunity to write up about indie musicians of all styles and other subjects on Curtains Up. Sharman Yarnell, formerly of CJAD AM and her partners have graciously invited me to join their project. What an acknowledgement from the media this is for me. I am actually writing articles with some of the best journalists in town! Check them out and join Curtains Up's Facebook page!
For those of you wondering about Sharman's new path...hang on! This amazing woman has things well aligned and is quite busy! Not only does she continue on promoting her love of animals and being quite the activist against cruelty towards animals, Sharman is quite busy as she continues on with Broadcasting, Travel Writing...she is even Directing a musical but most exciting is her newest venture called ACE - Arts, Culture, Entertainment - A public relations firm! I know she will even busier now!
I am grateful for the opportunity to to bring the Blues to Carleton-sur-Mer this past summer. I appreciate the following, the readership of my blog, you keeping in touch with me through private messages or Facebook, the ever growing number of fans on Carolyn Fe Blues Collective's Facebook page, the music nominations, the radio stations (on line and on air) who play our tunes regularly, the purchases of the band's CDs, the numerous sponsorships (notably, Sennheiser), the festival organisers and bookers who offered the band time slots in their festivals, the new connections and re-connecting with friends, the fans, the artistic collaborations with collaborators from the other side of the planet as well as those across the border(s), once again - the fans requesting our songs to be played at their favourite radio stations, the continuous support from the media, my acting agent who really and I mean REALLY believes in me (I have never seen a agent go to bat for an 'older Asian woman' like she does – those in the métier understand what I am talking about), the growing clientele in one of my business ventures, the haters...yep, even the haters who inadvertently help keep my ego in check and of course, the never ending support and unconditional love of my hubby.
These are just some of the highlights this past year...there are more, way too many to write about and still a lot of things happening behind the scenes. I am truly humbled and look forward to what life has in store for me this coming year. YAY! Happy Birthday to me!
I hope you stick around and I'll see you at the next show, don't forget to come up and say "Hi"
Carolyn Fe Blues Collective keeps the Summer Blues alive to the "max" in beautiful Carleton-Sur-Mer ! We were honored to have played in the 2012 Maximum Blues Festival. Sadly, shortly after we found out that it was the last time that festival was to see the light. Come joins us! Make a nice vacation out of it, come see the sights and help us keep the Blues alive in beautiful Carleton Sur Mer.
Visit the Centre des congrès de la Gaspésie (www.centrecongres.com) for more information about the show, or call 1-800-463-9099 to purchase your tickets.