Allison Crowe scouted by MTV, MuchMusic.
Nancy Hyndman, Pique Newsmagazine
Thursday, March 14, 2002
A kick to your foot and a twist of your head/
And I saw that you were afraid
But if you think that I was just being cold/
You don’t know how scared I was
-- Crayon and Ink
Who: Allison Crowe
When: March 16
Where: Pontiac GMC Canadian Snow Show, Skier’s Place, 3 p.m.
Where: The Shack, 10 p.m.
A lot can happen in 60 days.
You can pay two rents, prepare 180 meals, and probably drink double that many cups of coffee. At least if you live on the West Coast.
In just two months rising indie talent Allison Crowe has attracted the attention of MTV Canada, MuchMusic, Bif Naked’s recording staff, and the World Ski and Snowboard Festival’s programmers.
On Monday MTV Canada announced they will feature the 20-year-old Nanaimo native as part of a live concert performance. The show, headquartered at the recently established Canadian office on Robson Street in Vancouver, will air on MTV Select later this month.
She is considering doing a rendition of Crayon and Ink, a song conducive to the piano and voice format, for the show, which is being billed along the "intimate and interactive" theme.
Work on a new album, currently being recorded with producer Larry Anschell, will be placed on hold for the show recording. The album and the show are expected to position her up front in the Canadian independent music scene.
Crowe has received radio play -- on CKVW’s Mid-Day Show and Radioactive Zone -- and appeared on the Vicki Gabereau Show. Touted as the next best thing out of B.C., reviewer Kathryn Gretsinger of CBC’s Radio One has praised her "beautiful voice," while the Gulf Islands music review calls her "one helluva firecracker!"
And the past few months have seen her reputation skyrocket. Earlier she received an invitation to record three songs at Bif Naked’s studios, Her Royal Majesty’s Records, in Vancouver. Instead, she’s working with Anschell, who has recorded albums with Sarah McLachlan and Pearl Jam.
Tentatively titled Midnight_syren, the album name reflects her internet persona, says manager Adrian du Plessis. The singles Fade Away, Dark Blue and Scared, from her first EP Six Songs, will be included. A new track, called Disease, will also be featured.
Whistler will get a double dose of this up-and-coming star, as Crowe headlines the Pontiac GMC Snow Show this weekend, as well as the World Ski and Snowboard Festival’s all-ages show on April 17. Crowe will be performing with her trio, which includes Dave Baird, on upright and electric bass, and Kevin Clevette on drums.
Just 18 months ago Crowe was playing halls in Chilliwack and on Vancouver Island. But she’s not exactly an overnight success.
Crowe trained classically, and cites teacher Andrea Bertram as a major mentor. Performing on stage at Nanaimo’s Queen’s Hotel at age 15, Crowe found her own voice. She won the Island Songbird Talent Contest in 1998.
Appearing in the Saltspring Island Songbird Talent Show secured her place in the local music scene. She opened for Tara MacLean on Saltspring in 2000, and has been attracting concert bookings ever since.
A highlight was an appearance with jazz diva Diana Krall on VTV’s breakfast show last year. The two singers also shared a stage at a concert in their home town of Nanaimo.
Part of Crowe’s success lies in her focus. She once described her sound as "personal expression that says something, not just something catchy to dance to." Her Web site design echoes that sentiment, with its blue hues and song lyrics from Disease.
Ani diFranco has been a large influence.
"I like diFranco’s honesty," says Crowe.
"I’d like to release albums and music the way Ani has, independently on her own. That way you produce, without losing creative control over the music."
Her personal hero is funkily deep pianist Tori Amos (of Little Earthquakes). Adam Duritz (of Counting Crows) is another favourite.
Crowe also plays for fund-raisers like A Night Without Borders, which took place in November 2001. The concert, a benefit for Face to Face, The Afghan Children’s Relief Fund, also featured Dubh Linn Gate favourites Murphy’s Lagh.