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Gabrielle has been very fortunate to have consistent national radio play and support from CBC Radio, in Canada, with songs in regular and high rotation. She has also had a few spotlight plays on BBC Radio 6, and her last album charted on Canadian national campus radio, CBC Radio 2, and the international iTunes Singer-Songwriter charts.
She has shared the stage with Ron Sexmith, Amelia Curran, the Head and the Heart, the Strumbellas, Arkells, Ria Mae, Old Man Luedecke, and Hey Rosetta! among others. She has also licensed her music for film and television in Canada, the United States, and Australia with 15 placements over the last three years, including Rookie Blue (USA), Offspring (AUS, Netflix), and This Life (CAN).
Gabrielle has been touringand playing music full time since 2010 and does particularly well in Halifax, Montreal, and Toronto, usually playing 120 to 200 cap rooms in those three cities. She also plays larger venues and festivals in other cities though often as part of another bill.
Keep The Fire
“When you come to your knees / when you hold what you need / you will know what to keep,” sings Gabrielle Papillon near the end of her sixth, most adventurous album. Hear it as a promise, hear it as a mantra, hear it as a weary warning from someone who’s been there—the sweeping and heart-piercing Keep the Fire is packed full of thoughts like this, wise and poignant, empathetic and understanding, open to interpretation.
Papillon’s music, too, is now open to interpretation—though it remains confidently, almost nonchalantly rooted in folk strumming and gentle vocal phrasings, on Keep the Fire she has embraced her pop leanings and pushed them to the forefront. The songs pulse with strings and drama, keys, and evocative percussion that combine for surprising left-turns, the kind of thing you’d find on a playlist between Florence Welch and Thom Yorke, bold without sacrificing emotion.
This art-pop progression comes partly from Papillon’s continued relationship with producer and pop-folk whiz Daniel Ledwell, helmer of her last, award-winning chart-topper The Tempest of Old. Recording this batch of songs—imagined, Papillon says, as a backdrop to life, a life score—at Ledwell’s Echo Lake studio made for a foundation of strength and collaboration, which allowed for the new part of her record-making process: Corey LeRue. LeRue, the EDM pop genius behind Neon Dreams, lifts Keep the Fire into a new realm with his secret mixing recipes, adding heft and punch to pretty songs. The approaches may be disparate, but the result is something thrilling—melodic and catchy, memorable and affecting.
It’s always a letdown when an artist tries new things on record and gives you the same old treatment live. Gabrielle Papillon does not do this—in fact, her show has evolved faster than the recordings, a tight three- to four-piece band acting as pillars around its diminutive leader, who commands any size stage with measured guitar-playing and a casually huge voice mixed in with observational humour. The band is skilful and supportive, offering meticulously honed musicianship and a familiar interplay that comes from spending years on the road together. In a live setting, these new songs come to life with vigour and verve.
So stay open, interpret. Sing out, dance slow. Hold the spark, keep the fire.
“Sa voix fluté voltige, se posant doucement sur des pieces mélancolique et intimistes. Un magnifique talent frais sorti de son cocon.”
“I cannot stop listening to (Gabrielle Papillon’s) stunning album”
–Sarah Polley (Director/Producer) via Twitter
“This is the kind of music that’s going to make you stop in your tracks. One of the finest new songwriters in Canada.”
–Tom Power, host of CBC’s Deep Roots
“While everyone is still essing Feist’s dee and searching for the new Hannah Georgas album, we’re looking for music like Gabrielle Papillon’s.”
–Meet the Band, Little Red Umbrella
“Papillon is one of the most interesting writers and singers to come along of late.”
–Bob Mersereau, CBC
“Youngsters, do not be fooled by her petite-ness. She is a song avalanche.”
–Jenn Grant, via CBC Music
"With its boisterous and dynamic arrangement, catchy chorus, and engaging sentiments, ["Keep The Fire" is] guaranteed to ignite something meaningful within you, too."
"...one of today’s best singer/songwriters."
"...sweeping folk-pop songs that will tear you down before building you back up."
- CBC Music
"If there's one unsung Canadian songwriter whom I can imagine as a Sia-like multimilliondollar pop songwriter it's probably Gabrielle Papillon."
- Sean Michaels, Said The Gramophone
"Filled with both charming introspections and catchy outcries....it’s a true gem."
"It’s big, and it’s dramatic."
- The East
"...a sweeping, ambitious album that swells with strings and heart."
- CBC Music
"...an incredibly progressive and influential artist."
- Canadian Beats
"...a brilliant album with incredible emotional and musical heft."
- What's Goin On
Awards & Nominations List
2015 Canadian Folk Music Awards, Contemporary Album of the Year (Nominated)
2015 Music Nova Scotia Awards, Recording of the Year (Award Winner)
2015 Music Nova Scotia Awards, Artist of the Year, Solo Recording of the Year, SOCAN Songwriter of the Year (Nominated)
2013 East Coast Music Awards Folk Recording of the Year (Nominated)
2013 Music Nova Scotia Award, Female Artist of the Year, Folk Recording of the Year, SOCAN Songwriter of the Year (Nominated)
2013 Semi-Finalist International Songwriting Competition’s ‘Unsigned Only’ in Folk and Adult Contemporary
2012 Mountain Stage Newsong Regional International Finalist
2010 One Fret Less Award finalist, Ottawa Folk Festival