By Harriet Kaplan
Described as a self-driven singer/songwriter, the Vancouver-born, L.A.-based artist Geneviève Bellemare has released her new album “Melancholy Fever” on Verve Records. Bellemare has a soulful sound that,at times, is moody and has a penchant for arranging her very personal songs with an inventive sense of melody. Producers Mitchell Froom (Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello), Tony Berg (Nickel Creek), Paul O’Duffy (Amy Winehouse), and busbee (Ingrid Michaelson) worked with Bellemare on her latest effort to create bright, off-kilter pop that can also be stark and brooding. Bellemare recently spoke to Blackonthecanvas via email to give a bit of glimpse into her musical background, influences and artistry. Though her answers were short, and sometimes felt vague and seemed undefined, that was telling in it if itself in that the artist perhaps wants the listener to go directly to the source and listen to her music and draw their own conclusions without giving too much away.
When did become a singer/songwriter and why?
Geneviève: Officially I became a songwriter when I was about 14 years old… why? Because realized I had decent voice and that singing and making songs made me feel happy.
Are you from a musical family and did get your inspiration from them?
Geneviève: YES! Everyone in my house growing up. Sure I would say I definitely got some inspiration from that. Exposed to music I probably never would have listened to…
What kind of music did you grow up listening to?
Geneviève: Church music… Celine Dion… Whitney Houston…Mariah Cary thanks to my mum and sis.
When I was early teen my brothers played a lot of classic rock. Lots of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath
Can you tell me more about your influences and how do they speak to you or resonate with you emotionally?
Geneviève: I would say Astrud Gilberto was my first real influence. Her tone is what spoke to me. She makes me feel safe and comfortable. She is my go to for when I cook dinner.
Lyrically do you draw up your life experiences to write songs?
Geneviève: Mmm not consciously for the most part… I will start writing something and then I will like the way it sounds texturally. I then go from there to build and then sometimes halfway in I say ohhhhh this song is about that( or could be about that ) some songs that I have on my album I am still not totally sure what I meant by all the choices I made lyrically… but I know I feel a connection to it and it still makes sense to me In a way.
Do you journal?
Geneviève: No. But I should god damn it!
When did you sign with Verve Records and how did that come about?
Geneviève: Signed with Verve in 2012. Came about because my manager knew the james Foster ( David Foster’s sister) and showed her my music and then it went from there…
Did the label team you up with this great group of producers for your debut?
Geneviève: Yes they did!
How was it working with them in the studio and what did you learn or take away from the experience?
Geneviève: It was great. I love that all of them were in home studios. Got to meet their wives, kids, cats, and dogs : ) I experienced what its like to collaborate which is something I have never really done before and was very trepidatious about it. But it ended up being great and extremely helpful to me.
What can your fans expect from Melancholy Fever?
Geneviève: To feel something
Have you released singles only up to this point preparing you to record a full length album?
I noticed you are playing El Cid. That’s a record release party and performance, right?
Do you plan on touring nationally or doing small dates here and there in support of Melancholy Fever and have you toured before?
Geneviève: My HOPE is that I will be able to do both. I LOVE London… so I would like to see the rest of Europe as well… but also be doing shows at the same time : )
You can grab the album here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/melancholy-fever/id1030641975