Canadian Indie Music · featured artist: lisa winn
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lisa winn


Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


Lisa Winn was born and raised in the enchanted land of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, where her life has been intertwined with the brilliant musicians who happen to exist there in the dozens. "The Hammer" seems to be a breeding ground for true songwriters who, while partaking in each other's lives and music, hold incredible commitment to the development of their craft.

The birth of Lisa's career was signified by her heavy involvement in the Hamilton music scene as one of the most coveted backup singers around. She has the ability to blend with anyone's voice perfectly while maintaining her very distinct and powerful sound. She has instant chemistry with whomever she sings with and the aptitude to instinctively follow her partner through a range of moods and dynamics. Some of her backup credits include Gordon Lightfoot, Shannon Lyon, Jacob Moon, Mike Trebilcock (Killjoys), Rob Lamothe, and Jamie Oakes.

The most impressive part of Lisa's career begins with her emergence as a solo artist. Not only as a vocalist, but as a burgeoning songwriter. After tentatively picking up a guitar for the first time she made a brave attempt at bearing her soul through words and melody. The result was a small but beautiful and honest collection of songs. She then co-wrote a handful of songs with producer/songwriter Rob Lamothe, chose covers penned by local musicians Ray Materick and Mike Daley and released in 2000 her stunning debut 'Mother Earth'. This record expresses the true contradiction that is Lisa Winn. There is a lightness that exudes from her being, a beautiful earthy quality, her love of animals and nature visible right from the albums artwork and her enormous capacity to love, which her songs further convey. But then we are exposed to her darkness which digs a little deeper into who she is; it shows us a more private and vulnerable aspect of her being. It's where her passion is fiery and violent and unabashedly honest. It is what reveals her as a true artist.

The release of 'Mother Earth' brought with it a flurry of praise and heightened respect among her musical peers. Lisa began performing her own music for the first time and gradually broke away from her title as 'backup singer'. Taking her album throughout the Canadian festival scene and even all the way to Europe, Lisa found herself sharing the stage with such notable musicians as Holly McNarland, Emm Gryner, Damhnait Doyle, Oh Susanna, John Mann (Spirit of the West), Danny Michel, The Rheostatics, Martina Sorbara, Luke Doucet, David Francey, Tom Wilson (Junkhouse), Jackie Washington, Katherine Wheatley, and Lynn Miles.

Back home Lisa became part of a Canadian collective called The Ladybird Sideshow including fellow songwriters Erin Smith, Melissa McClelland and Janine Stoll. The collaboration of talent only helped to solidify Lisa as a songwriter among songwriters and once again showcased her talent as a stellar harmonizer. The Ladybird Sideshow is an in-the-round format featuring each of the girls original material layered with three and four part harmonies. The group has traveled to the far ends of Canada and an album is currently in the works.

Continuing with her solo effort Lisa headed to Hamilton's Grant Avenue Studio to begin recording her sophomore cd, 'Out From Under'. Once again Lisa had her wonderful musical companions join her, and elicited the help of producer Bob Doidge to embellish on her sparse arrangements. But she wisely chose to keep production to a minimum in order for the listener to be struck by the bare reality of her confessions and the raw emotion of her experience. 'Out From Under' is a personal narrative of the hardships of love and loss. The songs describe a potent and virile time in her life and are seeped in melancholy, but there is also humor, hope and happiness weaved into her moving tales of heartbreak. With her unforgettable 2003 follow up, Lisa has proven herself as an established and confident songwriter willing to tell the hard truth with a breathtaking and unwavering grace.

From her debut release 'Mother Earth' to 'Out from Under' Lisa's haunting voice gives us no choice but to feel every single sentiment she delivers right down to our core. What lies ahead is surely another long road lined with new visuals of a stunning musical landscape. Her travels will take her from one rich experience to the next and we, the listener, have the fortunate opportunity to follow alongside her and feel secondhand the power of her abundant emotional life. The ups and downs. The highs and lows. The light and dark. And all the beautiful contradictions that make life worth exploring.