A month ago I was not familiar with Lindsay Ferguson. Flash forward to today, and numerous times happily bebopping to her music, and I can say that I am officially a fan.
Born in Bermuda to Canadian parents, the talented singer-songwriter writes melodic and catchy tunes. Drawing from folk, pop, acoustic rock and other influences, her work is a pleasure to listen to. (In fact, the past few days has seen me eagerly talk about her to my wife and children).
Splitting her time between Bern, Switzerland and Wakefield, QC about 30 minutes north of Ottawa, Ferguson officially releases today Chameleon, her third album. Her record release party, however, takes place this Saturday, May 23, at The Blacksheep Inn in Wakefield. Tickets are $15 in advance and can be purchased online.
The Wakefield show, in which she will perform with a full band, will kick off a cross Canada tour that will see her play solo.
“[Chameleon] is a very important shift for me,” says Ferguson in an interview with Apartment613. “After time and practice, you learn more, you listen to more and you play more. . . . [G]etting to know new musicians and collaborating more, gaining confidence through experience has broadened my scope and I am more open to new musical possibilities.”
This expanded musical knowledge, she adds, has allowed her to take a freer approach to songwriting. “Music is ever-changing and I wanted to add a modern feel in keeping with that notion of constant flow,” she says.
Raised between Picton and Belleville, as well as living in Wakefield on-and-off for the past decade, Ferguson has strong Canadian roots. Her Swiss husband, meanwhile, has also allowed her to live in and be influenced by Europe.
“Yes, my husband is Swiss. We both have jobs that can allow the switch ups!” she says, when asked about living in two countries.
Video of Chameleon shot in Wakefield
Among her globetrotting adventures, one thing that has remained constant is her love for music. Trained as an opera singer during her teenage years, she would later turn to open mic nights to perform her own work. She eventually released her first album Sound in 2007, which was picked as the best Folk Roots album in Ottawa in 2008.
After receiving a songwriting grant, she recorded her second full-length album Monkeys Under Stars in 2011. (She also produced two 7-song eps as bootleg works early in her career for her fans).
Her lovely compositions led her to be voted the best singer and singer-writer in Wakefield in 2012. This is a fitting accolade for someone who wrote a song about The Black Sheep a few years back, after a local newspaper asked her to do so in response to a call by the CBC for musicians to compose songs about their favourite Canadian music venues.
Now, with her third album, she can be heard experimenting with, among other things, violin, rap, mandolin and heavy bass. This desire to try something new led me to wonder if the name of her new album, Chameleon, expresses how she views songwriting, i.e. as an artistic process in which one changes regularly.
“Not necessarily how I view song-writing but more to do with how I view life and exactly our ability to change regularly,” she replies. “Humans, much like Chameleons, can (in general) adapt to anything that life throws our way. Life throws a lot of curve balls and we roll with the punches. . . . In the music, there is colour; pain, glamour, sadness, grace, grit, soul and more. The one thing for certain in this life is nothing is for certain! It’s a bit like a game where being versatile and resilient are great and necessary skills. Way to go us!”
Lindsay Ferguson performs at The Blacksheep Inn in Wakefield on Saturday, May 23, at 8:30 pm. Tickets are $15 in advance.