From Labrador, Newfoundland to Peterborough, Ontario and stopping at places like the Nashville Songwriters Festival in between, Lindsay Barr has been polishing up a name for herself in the music industry. She graced the Canadian Idol stage back in 2008, has been the recipient of numerous awards, and alongside band mates Denis Goggin, Jason Cockerill, and Doug Hewie is now creating and performing music in and around the Peterborough area. Recently, Arthur met up with Lindsay to chat about her fiery songs and electrifying passion as a musician.
So, tell me Lindsay, how would you describe your music?
I would describe it as gritty, gutter, danger, rock, and encompassing many genres.
How did you first get involved in creating music? Is your family musical?
Yes, I do have musical roots. There are a lot of performers in my family. My brother had the rock and roll guitar and was a direct pathway for me to becoming a musician. I always wanted to be like him. I then got into the punk rock scene when I was about 13. In the nineties, there was this thriving underground metal and punk scene that I gravitated towards with ease. And I could sing. I actually got kicked out of my church choir because I was too boisterous! I had this giant voice. I distinctly remember getting a talking to about being too loud [Laugh]. But I was well liked.
In 2008, you made the top 20 in Canadian Idol. What was that like? Did it change you as an artist?
It was great. I made some cool contacts. Has it affected me as an artist? Absolutely not. That was literally a month out of my life, and I’ve been a musician my whole life. I carry my gear, I book my own gigs, and I fundraise to support my albums. My band and I do it all ourselves. But it was a great experience.
Have you received any formal training?
No, I am completely self taught. I just fished knowledge out of all different places until I became affluent.
Your music definitely seems to reflect that. Are there any recurring themes or images within your songs?
Well, there is always a bit of darkness in my major chords. I have this tortured art soul. There is this one right now that I just can’t get out. It’s a complete torture. My single this summer took me five months to write. It’s good to have discipline and to exercise, and I play every day, but the song has to be harmonious within itself. Otherwise, it’s just forced. Art should feel good. It’s how I regurgitate the world around me, how I understand it.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I am blessed to have a fiancé who is musical and inspiring and a bit of my muse, actually. I get inspiration from the music I am listening to, the emotions I am feeling, or people I meet. I can be fiddling around on the guitar and a song can come from that. My favourite music when I was a little girl was East Indian instrumental music, female voices. I listen to and am inspired by heavy, soft, classical – everything.
Did you ever consider a career as something other than being a musician?
I street performed in Toronto. I danced with fire for a few years, and I thought about doing that. I was a gymnast growing up. I thought about running away to join the circus, seriously! It was a great time, but my direction was music. I am an artist. I produce art, music, I draw. I produce music more now than I did in university.
Can you describe what it is like to be a musician in Peterborough?
I am so proud to be a part of the Peterborough art scene. You can really make lasting relationships here. It’s just a wonderful place to live, to create music. I’d like to call it home.
Are you involved in the music community in other ways?
My day job is production for radio. I am the engineer, touching dials and things. I also do martial arts. It’s another passion that gives me discipline in various areas of my life and keeps me grounded, because the rock and roll can just take over with late nights and crappy diets. This allows me to maintain my body. It really centers me.
It has been said that you have an extremely passionate, energetic stage presence. Can you talk about that?
I’ve heard that said, too. I mean, I think you owe everything to the audience. If they weren’t there, you wouldn’t be there. I take everything that was building up inside of me and just give it.
What are your goals for the future in terms of music?
My desire is to be an internationally recognized, respected artist, a member of the international music community, and to have my feet stable in the music career. Also, I should tell you, I am going to be recording my next album in April. The public has helped me out. I’ve raised $2,500. I’m very excited!