Having recently done a workshop at a Toronto high school, we three have been reminiscing about our teen years and our journey into music- all three of us had such different paths! We decided to answer some questions about that time in our lives.
(M=Maggie, A=Alex, L=Lizzy)
1. When did you first want to be a singer?
M: Age 6 :) according to my mom lol. Really started focusing in Grade 11.
A: I remember that being the very first thing I wanted to be when I was 4 or 5. Then a poet, then a nurse, then for years a marine biologist and then back to a singer in my early 20s.
L: I don't remember deciding that I wanted to sing. I was always in the choir in grade school. Always involved in music throughout highschool. It was a slow and easy decision. By the time it I had to apply to Universities there was no question as to what I was going to study.
2. What was your musical involvement as a teenager?
M: Musicals- The Music Man (Marian The Librarian), Talent Shows, Canadian Idol- Top 100 in toronto. Writing/performing in a HipHop/RnB Group at local bars in Oakville.
A: I was weird. I didn't play in the school band or sing in a choir. But I played bass in a Radiohead cover band and the guys in that band convinced me to sing one song ("Tear Drop" by Massive Attack) at a gig we had playing for the DJs in a VIP room at a rave. I was weirded out and excited by all the positive feedback I got which lead me to believing maybe I was actually a decent singer. I hosted my first show when I was 19, a fundraiser for an environmental NGO, and sang music by my favourite artists at the time (Erykah Badu, Jamiroquai, Bjork... still some of my faves.) After that show I was hooked.
L: I was in all the musicals, I was Eponine in "Les Miserable". I was in the accapella group and played in groups with friends for battle of the bands competitions. I even got voted "Most Musical" in my senior year book! I got to travel to Germany, Belgium, Morocco, Greece, Spain...all over... to sing in The Honour Choir. For a few years I thought I was going to persue classical music. My teachers thought I couldn't do Soul or R&B, they had just never heard me do it. I went to a two month Classical "Band Camp" in between 11th and 12th grade in Michigan only to discover that classical music was not for me. In the 12th grade I focused on contemporary styles and found my voice. I applied to Humber and the rest is history!
3. Where did you go to high school?
M: T.A Blakelock High School (Oakville, ON)
A: Jarvis C.I., Malvern C.I, The Ontario Science Centre School and Inglenook (Toronto, ON). It's a longs story, but I didn't go to 4 schools because I was a problem kid, it was circumstantial, I swear!
L: After grade 9 my Dad surprised us with news that we were going to be living in Cairo, Egypt for 3 years. That was the best thing to happen to me in my youth. I got the chance to go to an amazing school called Cairo American College (CAC) with an stellar music program where I could excel and spread my wings in both contemporary and classical genres. My music teacher Ms. Louise always supported me and fostered my love for singing.
4. Who were your favourite bands/singers as a teenager?
M: Alicia Keys, Destiny's Child/Beyonce, Christina Agularia, Mariah Carey, Brandy, Aaliyah/Missy Elliot, Bjork, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill/Fugees.
A: D'Angelo, Jamiroquai, Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Radiohead, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Sublime, Lauryn Hill/The Fugees, Bjork, The Roots, Pharcyde, Dead Prez, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Chaka Khan, Billie Holiday, Massive Attack, Cinematic Orchestra, Jill Scott, DJ Freaky Flow (I was a raver for a minute).
L: So many! Lauren Hill, Ray Lamontagne, Nina Simone, Maroon Five (I know :p) Five For Fighting, Train, Ray Charles, Gavin Degraw, Jason Mraz...
Your teen years are a time when music is one of the most important things to you. It helps you cope with difficult emotions and build a sense of personal identity. Looking back it's cool for us to see how those roots lead to this tree we have together called The Spandettes.
What were your jams in high school? Are you still a teenager? We would love to know what music moves you! Tweet us @thespandettes or email us firstname.lastname@example.org