Gloria Song is a music writer for Apartment613. She also has her own band, Scary Bear Soundtrack.
Darrelle London once faced a choice between law school and music. “When I was finishing undergrad,” she tells me over the phone, “I was interested in law as an academic subject, and I think I would like law school, if I didn’t have this crazy obsession with music. So I wrote the LSATs and got into my top choice schools. But when I found out, I wasn’t excited at all. That’s when I realized I need to pursue this music thing and give it everything I have and see what comes from that.”
And so, rather than struggling to handle both law and music, like Paul Banwatt of the Rural Alberta Advantage or Ray Murray of the Souljazz Orchestra, she sacrificed one to concentrate on the other. “I feel like it was the right choice,” she concludes. “It’s a grind and there definitely are highs and lows. But I’m really excited about this new record and I’m really happy doing what I’m doing.”
The 26-year-old Toronto musician has certainly known success in music. Not only has she collaborated with Chantal Kreviazuk, Darrelle and her nimble piano playing fingers have also won the Lilith Talent Search in Toronto and played at Sarah McLachlan’s Lilith Fair. She has been working hard at carving out for herself a special place among female musicians. She tells me, “I find that young women want to hear their lives and experiences reflected in song, and that’s what a big part of my audience is, high school and college women.”
Darrelle’s second album, Eat a Peach, was released earlier this month on April 3, with three of the songs co-written by Chantal Kreviazuk. “It was amazing,” Darrelle comments. “It was the first time I had co-written with anyone and I’ve always shied away from that, as it made me nervous, because writing is such a vulnerable process. When I had this opportunity to write with her, obviously I couldn’t say no… As soon as we started writing, all the anxieties went away and I was able to be myself and throw things out there. She was amazing, and it just flowed.”
Inspired by the T.S. Eliot poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, which contains the line “Do I dare to eat a peach?” the album is full of Darrelle’s piano pop sensibilities reminiscent of Ben Folds. Darrelle’s music is striking in the playful manner that it addresses the tougher things in life like break ups and heartache, wrapping the achingly honest lyrics in a soft blanket of catchy melodies, sweet “oohs”, and finger snaps. It seems to be, in the end, less about making light of one’s tragic situation and more about choosing to be in control of one’s attitude toward it, as suggested in her song Fine, where she sings, “It’s my choice to be fine.”
Darrelle London will be performing in support of her new album Eat A Peach at the Centrepointe Theatre with the Abrams Brothers on Friday, April 20.