"I'm not a romantic at all. I'm also not a very good liar," laughs Lucie Idlout (pronounced Id-lowt) when she talks about where her lyrics and music spring from. Her honesty and poetic candor flow through her songs and carry the listener to the very depths of their heart and soul. She writes about her experiences as a participant and observer. She sings about truth and, as evidenced by great songwriters of the past, Lucie conveys truths relevant to us all.
Washed my heart at the water's edge
Washed it clean of you
Prayed to God leave you from my head
Take these stains and make me new
You were never my lover
You were only my sin
Like a dirty little secret
I bruised you up and took you in
Lucie lived much of her early life in the High Arctic on North Baffin Island, Northwest Territories as it was known at the time, now Nunavut. Of Inuit heritage, Lucie has obvious ties to the culture of the north and the struggles that come with its unique geography. Her passion as a songwriter and artist stretches far beyond the treeline, having also lived in several southern Canadian cities. In recent years, she splits her time between Toronto and Iqaluit, Nunavut.
Her sophomore effort, Swagger, continues in the tradition of her 2004 debut, E5-770, My Mother's Name. The album, produced by Chris Shreenan-Dyck who has worked with Blue Rodeo, Kris Kristofferson, and Ron Sexsmith will be released through Sun Rev Records on February 10, 2009. Swagger tackles love, abandonment, loneliness and the search for balance in life. The song Whiskey Breath signaled the end of a bout of writer's block that Lucie had endured for a year and a half. While on a trip to the Catskill Mountains in northern New York, a friend challenged her to write a song and out of that came Whiskey Breath, the dark, brooding rebirth of Lucie's writing voice. The song Belly Down tackles the feelings of a small town girl as she gets swallowed by the big city which Lucie describes as "losing in a game she had no business playing".
The track Lovely Irene is a song greater than the sound of its parts. A rocker on the album that showcases Lucie's gravelly growl prowess that harkens back to the likes of PJ Harvey, the song was re-recorded as an acoustic track with a children's choir from Iqaluit as backup singers and very meaningfully re-titled Angel Street. Lucie wrote the song, telling the sad, unfortunate details of her friend Irene, the victim of abuse. The acoustic version, Angel Street, was discovered by the mayor of Iqaluit, Elisapee Sheutiapik, who championed to have the name of the street where the women's shelter is located renamed Angel Street. Lucie performed the song for Bev Oda and all the Provincial and Territorial Ministers of the Status of Women at a function announcing the renaming of city streets across the country to Angel Street. Several cities have taken it into consideration with Fredericton, NB already on board. Lucie has been amazed by the impact of the song. She wrote from the heart but had no idea that the song would become such a symbol of hope for women and communities across the country. Both versions hold very special meaning to her. The acoustic version of this song can be found in the following short documentary, A Place To Run To, which focuses on the issue of spousal abuse in the north: www.explore.org
Swagger is a wealthy collection of songs. "Swagger came to me when I was listening to premixes of all the songs. I had set out to record the perfect driving album, or something that would be worthy of being on a soundtrack, and I wanted it to swagger." Lucie recalls "I'd spent so much time in a funk and unable to write about anything that felt sexy enough to me and then Whiskey Breath came out, and the rest was just like a purging."
In 2007, Lucie opened for The White Stripes in Iqaluit during their in-depth tour of Canada. She opened for the legendary and highly respected Buffy Sainte-Marie at Ottawa's Westfest earlier this year. She also performed at Quebec City's 400th Anniversary celebrations with Le Strada. Her first album took her all over Europe, hitting stages of this nation's finest festivals including the Stan Rogers Folk Festival, Vancouver Folk Festival, Northern Lights Festival and The Great Northern Arts Festival as well as prestigious festivals such as the Tilburg Festival in The Netherlands and the Ravenna Festival in Italy. Last year she was honoured to be chosen as one of fifty Canadian artists to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Canada Council for the Arts. Performing at the Governor General's Gala, the event encompassed singers, dancers, visual artist, writers, filmmakers and musicians from across the country. Each artist represented a year in the life of the Canada Council, having either won one of the many awards administered by the council or gained a grant to help them continue to do their art.
Lucie is a vibrant and talented singer songwriter with a very promising future. She draws in the listener with the strength of her voice and the power of her words. Her songs cut through the surface and head straight into that place only true artists can touch.
Copyright © 2008 Lucie Idlout and Sun Rev Records