In school, Andrea Lindsay “didn’t really take to French.”
Now, the Ontario native has earned a Juno for Best Francophone Album of the year.
Her love affair with the language started at 18, when she went to France to visit an exchange student she met in high school.
“It was a language that was alive,” she said.
“I loved the musicality.”
Already passionate about music, Lindsay decided to try mixing in her musical new language.
A move from her hometown of Guelph, Ontario, to Montreal helped.
When she sings in French, Linsday can trick audiences in Quebec and in France.
They hear a slight accent, but assume it comes from a regional dialect.t
It’s when Lindsay talks to her audience that she lets the cat out of the bag.
“When I speak French they can really tell,” she said.
In Quebec, people assume Lindsay learned French in Europe.
But in France, they think she speaks like a Quebecois.
“My accent tells my story,” said Lindsay, who learned French in France but calls Quebec home.
“I have a better accent when I sing,” she added.
Lindsay compares it to people that stutter when they speak, but can sing perfectly.
“You use different sections of your brain when you speak and when you sing,” she said.
By singing in French, Lindsay knows she’s narrowed her audience.
“My market is mostly Quebec, France, Switzerland, Belgium and Japan,” she said.
Japan is a weird one.
“They listen to music in English, which is not their language, why shouldn’t they listen to it in French,” said Lindsay.
“And French is in vogue in Japan right now.”
Lindsay is also reaching out to an anglophone market interested in French music.
To get that more traditional French sound, Lindsay’s band includes accordions and vibraphones.
But she’s also thrown in a trombone, a cello and a glockenspiel to accompany her guitar, creating a pop sound.
Lindsay’s music plays on everyday life.
Assuming her life wasn’t worth singing about, Lindsay tried to write about bigger, more “high falutin’” stuff.
But success didn’t come her way until she started writing about her own day-to-day experiences.
“I think people felt the authenticity when I finally started writing about my own life,” she said.
On Thursday, she was in a van with her band, travelling through Quebec en route to Montreal.
From there, her trio will fly to Whitehorse to play the Old Fire Hall on Monday, November 29th.
The show starts at 8 p.m.
Contact Genesee Keevil at