Lora Bidner
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Lora Bidner

Toronto, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2006 | SELF

Toronto, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2006
Solo Folk Singer/Songwriter




"'Ignite' Offers An Important Message To Those Suffering From Depression"

Lora Bidner is an emerging Canadian singer-songwriter whose new song "Ignite" appears on her 2015 CD To The North.

Howard: You suffer from depression and mentioned how "Self-Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson helped.


Lora: It really resonated with me, I read it in my first year of university. The idea that we are inherently good and that trusting your own unique course is integral to human nature. I love how it was a bit eccentric and very passionately written. It's like one big, empowering pep talk.

Howard: People don't always understand when they hear someone "suffers from depression."

Lora: I completely understand because even I look back on my experiences with depression and think, "Wow! How could I have thought like that?!"

When I go through depression it's like my personality is gone. I would be very overwhelmed by small decisions, avoid going out with friends and have a hard time even making conversation. I felt horrible, everything in my life was veiled in negativity. Depression is a black hole that just sucks all the life out of you.

Howard: Do you know when you are entering into depression?

Lora: For me it can be really hard to see the signs of depression because it's easy to convince yourself that negative thoughts are just the truth. I get myself down pretty quickly and tend to believe a lot of the negativity.

Sometimes I find myself asking,

"How did I get here? Why I am so sad?"

And logically there is no reason to be sad, it's just self-sabotage. I try to tell myself I'm healthy, privileged, I live in Canada, have freedom -- yet, I have this predisposition to fall into thoughts where the world is sinking. I get to the point where I feel I can't get out of it, and that it takes a lot to get back. I think it's really important to catch it at the onset and not be ashamed to ever ask for help. It's something I've failed to do many times and am now working on being more aware of.

Howard: Let's turn to your song, "Ignite." It is not only a stunning piece of music but lyrically raw and inspiring.

Lora: I started writing the song with the chorus, I wrote it in reflection of my struggles with depression. I found myself just singing the chorus over and over and knew bringing in JustJamaal ThePoet to collaborate would really make this song whole. It was amazing to work with him! Jamaal really packs a punch with his poetry and has such wisdom.

Interestingly, I wrote from the perspective of myself and he brought it from the perspective of the world. He brought it to the point where it was relatable to anyone. It is a universal message.

Howard: Heartache plays a big role.

Lora: I wrote from my personal heartache. At some point we all have a negative voice inside our head and with depression it becomes a little too loud!

"Ignite" is about listening to that little, much quieter voice that says,

"No, you are really good, you are beautiful, maybe you can do this."

The lyrics are amplifying the little voice telling you, "You can do this."

With the lyric "It will come to you in time," I am telling myself it will, though sometimes I have a really hard time trusting that.

Howard: That to me sounds like the Emerson influence.

Lora: Yes, especially when he says, "Trust thyself, every heart vibrates to that iron string."

You have to believe in your inner voice. No amount of advice can ever help you if you don't listen to yourself.

Howard: I enjoyed Emerson's message that it's up to us as individuals, don't worry about the naysayers, it's your toil. You are the only one that can make this happen.

Lora: Emerson really resonated with me because it was about non-conformity and you need to do that to be an artist. If you don't, then you just start comparing yourself to others and you aren't able to go on you own path and be genuine. But I still find I am constantly doubting myself.

It's also one of the reasons I wrote the chorus in "Ignite" almost as a mantra to not only remind others but remind myself, "Don't do that, don't fall into that hole."

Howard: What would you tell someone going through depression for the first time?

Lori: Be patient and understand pain is sometimes part of the process. It's like Jamaal's line,

"For what it's worth, sometimes only the pain can keep the lights on."

Nobody wants to go through pain, and depression is the worst, but I have learned so much from it and learned to have compassion for myself and in turn it's made me a more understanding person to others.

So, when you're in it, hang on, don't give up and do not trust everything you are telling yourself. We wrote "Ignite" as a message saying that the pain will pass and you can absolutely ignite your soul, no matter how bad it's gotten. I firmly believe that and I want to share that with every person going through depression or heartache.

And reach out to others and confide. I told some of the strongest people I knew of my struggles who in turn opened up to me about theirs. One even told me of wanting to commit suicide. I realized it wasn't just me and we all can be a big support for one another.

Every time I get out of it I feel more wise and ready to take on more challenges. - Huffington Post -Howard Kerbel

"Lora Bidner To the North"

While To the North may be structured like your typical singer/songwriter release, Lora Bidner strives to make every moment of her sophomore LP bigger, broader and more ambitious. Blending an elegiac mix of guitar, ukulele, piano and orchestral strings, tracks like "I Awoke," "Ignite (featuring JustJamaal ThePoet) and the title track swell, sweep and expand organically and seemingly effortlessly, never feeling overwrought or obligatory.

On the album's softer moments, like the quirky "Author," jazzy "Understand" and tender "3,000 Volts," Bidner uses her dramatic vocal delivery, melodies and myriad of instruments to help cast a shadow of musical momentousness over the album. Bidner, a talented vocalist, instrumentalist and arranger, does a tremendous job at balancing each facet of her musical psyche, never having to lean on a single virtue or mode, allowing To the North to come off as moody as it is eclectic. (Independent) - EXCLAIM! - Daniel Sylvester

"Ottawa-raised art-folk songwriter Lora Bidner launching album"

Two years, hundreds of hours, and plenty of love and money later Lora Bidner is all set for the release of To the North, her impressive full length debut. The Ottawa-raised art-folk songwriter is celebrating with a release show at Live on Elgin on September 26.
Saturday’s release show will be a rare chance to hear Lora live now that she’s moved to Toronto for a music and technology masters at U of T. It’s also going to be a treat to hear Lora recreate the album’s lush sound with a full band, string section and backup vocals featuring Raphael Weinroth Browne of “The Visit” and “Flying Horses” and Mike Giamberardino of Harea Band.
Recorded with Dean Watson, To the North is an eclectic, atmospheric album with a big sound featuring lots of string arrangements, layered vocals and electronic experimentation. Lora who grew up playing piano and percussion found her drive to create at the arts high school where she played in the string ensemble. “Canterbury was where things really started to flourish because we were all collaborating,” she says. Collaboration is still a key element in Lora’s music. There are some really great ones on the album, namely “The Tide” featuring cellist Rapahel Weinroth Browne and “Ignite” featuring spoken work by JustJamaal the poet. Versatility is another key element. On the album Lora plays piano, ukulele, guitar, all the synth parts and even a little vibraphone. To the North is a 9-track journey through a range of moods and soundscapes from the melancholic “When We Were Young”, to the epic “To the North”, to eerie “The Tide”, before taking you out with the anthemic “Ignite.”
I got in touch with Lora to talk about the making of the album, her influences and the backstory to some of the songs. Here is an excerpt from our conversation.
Apt613: How would you describe your sound for those who have never heard Lora Bidner?
In so many words I would say it’s progressive, electronic art folk. Ok, so that’s like four words but a lot of people have said art folk, people have said progressive folk, and there’s a lot of electronic experimentation. It’s definitely an eclectic album. As an artist that’s my thing; every time I write something I want to do something new.
Who are some of your major influences and inspirations for this project, musical and otherwise?
Film is a big love of mine. I’ve always wanted to go into writing music for film. So movies and directors like the Coen Brothers and their films Fargo and No Country for Old Men. Their films have always inspired me and because I love film scores. I find film does translate into music for me, it’s the mood and it’s the style that I think has influenced my music in some way. Also, movies that are fantastical like the NeverEnding Story which I grew up on. The music’s also great in that.
And for other artists, Neutral Milk Hotel which is grungy folk. I love that album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. All through high school I listened to it. I would say they definitely influenced me because I just love the eclecticism of that album and their experimentation and the rawness.
Are there any other major musical pillars for the project?
There’s three I always tell people: Florence and the Machine for the production values and the drums, the pulse of the drums and the epic-ness of those songs. Lana Del Ray, her album Ultraviolence. I love the mood of her music and I love the vocal reverb on Lana Del Ray’s voice so Dean and I listened to Lana Del Ray and we wanted to find a reverb that made my voice really nice and big and luscious like Lana Del Ray’s. So writing, when I was in high school I listened to a lot of Regina Spektor.
Tell me a little bit about the recording process for the album?
I did all the pre-production in my home studio and I did a lot of the synth work at home. So “To the North”, all the electronic stuff I did myself at my home studio and when we came into the studio I wanted to do a better job of it. For example on “Author” you hear a lot of beautiful reverb and ping pong delays. We experimented with cool echoes and we experimented with positioning things in different ways and panning. I really love panning. It’s the coolest type of production to put one instrument on one end and make it move to the other so when someone is listening there’s dimension to a song. When music is coming at you from one source it’s cool but when it moves to another point you feel like it’s alive.
What was the backdrop for the lyrics on this record?
Some songs are more just the reflection of the mood I was in. So “The Tide” I was on the beach in New York City babysitting my cousins and there was a gorgeous sunset in front of me and the tide was super strong and I just sat down and played my ukulele and “The Tide” came out and I just got really moody because the sky was this gorgeous pink going into purple going into blue and the ocean was kind of ominous and I just got in this mood and I wrote. Most of my songs are like that.
Do you have a favourite song on it, maybe one that resonates personally ort that’s really fun to play?
I really do like “The Tide.” I like how moody and eerie it is, especially playing with Raph, it’s really awesome. I also like “3000 Volts” because I love the feedback I get from it. Some people really get taken aback by it. And that’s cool because it’s a difficult subject matter and I always wonder what people are going to think and if they caught on to the lyrics.
Lora Bidner’s To the North album release show is Saturday September 26 at Live on Elgin (220 Elgin St.). Doors are at 7pm, show is at 7:30pm. Advance tickets are $12. You can learn more about Laura Bidner on her website, Facebook, or Twitter. - Apartment 613- Chrissy Steinbock

"Ottawa singer-songwriter to release debut professional solo album"

Lora Bidner is as much a storyteller as she is a progressive folk singer-songwriter.

“That’s what I like to do,” said Bidner, a Canterbury High School grad and former Alta Vista resident.

“I really like … getting in the space of a character and writing about it. Most of the songs I write are less personal and more of a worldly aspect.”

Bidner’s creative talents are showcased on her first professional solo debut album, To the North, which will be officially released on Sept. 26 at LIVE! On Elgin.

On it, Bidner sings and plays piano, synthesizers, vibraphone, ukulele, eight-string ukulele and percussion, but piano tends to be her go-to instrument when an idea arises.

“I usually write as the mood strikes me,” she said, adding that this can occur at all hours. “It usually happens (when) I’m brushing my teeth at 2 a.m. and then I get an idea and I run to the piano.”

However, there are times when lyrics prove a little more stubborn.

“It came down to the wire for the song, “I Awoke” on the album,” said Bidner, who took a year off to record her album after graduating from Carleton University in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in music.

“I had finished the chorus an hour before we had to go record it,” she said with a laugh. “I could not finish that song, and I knew what I wanted to say, but I didn’t know how to say it.”

“I Awoke” features a unique story, but is one she doesn’t want to publicly reveal in hopes that listeners can guess who and what it is about.

That’s only part of her nine-track album’s charm.

“She uses these (musical) talents to full effect, evoking atmospheric and idiosyncratic artists such as Imogen Heap, Regina Spektor and Florence and the Machine,” according to a media release announcing Bidner’s album launch.

“The album immediately grabs the listener as the jazzy, minimalist opening of “When We Were Young” builds into a stirring crescendo, then an increasingly furious piano solo and another mournful chorus.”

Bidner credits Canterbury High School in Alta Vista for giving her a strong music education, providing a haven where she could constantly create.

“Those foundations really prepared me and showed me what I love to do, gave me the outlet to go and do and do and do, without any fear,” said Bidner, who moved from Alta Vista to Rothwell Heights when she was 16.

Canterbury, where she studied violin, allowed her and her peers to push their creative boundaries, and was a place where it was “cool to sit and practice all the time,” said Bidner, who recently started her first year of graduate studies in music technology and digital media at the University of Toronto.

“Whereas before, in elementary school, I was kind of a nerd,” added Bidner, who recorded her first record, which she said was an unpolished work she recorded at home over a two-week period, during her final year of high school.

To the North also features the talents of several former Canterbury students, including Dom Laporte, who provided the album art, cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne as well as Natasha MacDonald and Kiri-Christina Hauck on violin.

She also collaborated with drummer Mike Giamberardino on drums, as well as Dean Watson, who played bass and mandolin and produced and recorded the album.

Together with spoken word artist Jamaal Jackson Rogers, who performs under the stage name, JustJamaal, they created "Ignite," a brand new song on the album. Bidner wrote the chorus and Jamaal provided the verses.

“The first time we did a run through and improvised on both of our parts was actually the best take. It was what we felt and it was so cool.”

With just days to go before the album launches, Bidner said “it definitely needed to happen.”

“It’s going to be great to finally have something that I can show people and (say), ‘This is my music,’” she said. “For me, it is a milestone in my career. How big a milestone it is I don’t know. I’m eager to see how far it can go.” - Ottawa Community News - Erin McCracken

"New Music: Lora Bidner - To the North"

To the North is Lora Bidner’s first album, but she’s no stranger to the local music scene. The Ottawa native has performed at Ottawa Folkfest and Musik Ottawa, and collaborated with local musicians such as Raphael Weinroth-Browne of Flying Hörses and The Visit, who accompanies Bidner on the record. The album contains nine tracks, including a collaboration with JustJamaal ThePoet in “Ignite.”

The Carleton University music program graduate is clearly a multi-talented artist, who plays piano, guitar, ukulele, and synth on top of her vocals. The album, which was produced entirely in Ottawa, is an impressive feat for a solo singer-songwriter. While the songs vary slightly in speed and tone, each track flows seamlessly into the next. The more upbeat songs have the modern folk vibe of Young the Giant or Of Monsters and Men, but produce a more earthy sound caused by prominent strings. The distinct presence of violin adds to the haunting elements of many tracks.

What’s most impressive of the record is Bidner’s ability to manipulate her voice to perfectly suit not only her accompaniments, but also her lyrics and the general tone of each individual song. She has a soft, eerie voice, similar to Béatrice Martin’s of Coeur de Pirate. While the record is definitely emotive, her singing is calming and helps to create a highly intricate album that remains perfectly whole. Bidner’s seamless collection of tracks feels both emotional and uplifting, that is sure to give any listener a cathartic musical experience. - Ottawa Showbox - Maitland Shaheen

"Amanda Putz Picks: 4 shows to see in Ottawa-Gatineau"

Upon first listening to Lora Bidner it wouldn't be off base to think you were hearing Basia Bulat in her early days. Lora Bidner is on track to one day be Ottawa's answer to that autoharp-wielding folk phenom. Perhaps you weren't among the lucky ones to buy tickets to Basia's sold-out show at the Sheep this weekend. Take in Miss Bidner instead.

Lora released a sparse demo-debut back in 2008 (which you can download for free on her site) but she's been busy since then obtaining a university degree and playing with folk trio The Musettes. She's going solo tonight for this RAW showcase, which claims to be a circus of creativity.

RAW started as an idea in 2009 in California. It's an artist collective that holds a monthly showcase of artistic emerging talents, everything from make-up artists to models and musicians. Heidi Luerra started it after she landed in L.A. years ago to pursue her dream of being a fashion designer. She built this template for chapters to spring up around the globe and they have. From Perth, Australia, to Ottawa, folks are digging into the underground arts through RAW. There will be a fashion show, performance art, and you'll also get to dance to local bands The Sick Sick Sicks and Sleepy & the Noise. It's a great excuse to groom your ironic moustache and put on your vintage party dress, because cocktail attire is required! The Mansion is usually a dance club at Dalhousie and Rideau, but it's getting RAW starting at 7:30 p.m. Advance tickets are $15. - CBC


It was a pretty terrible day, weather-wise, when I got to the venue on day 4. With a small crowd of maybe 30 people, Ottawa native, Lora Bidner offered us some hauntingly beautiful ballads that matched the moody weather (in the best way possible, of course). The multi-instrumentalist, accompanied by Raphael Weinroth-Browne on cello, played us a few new songs as well as a unique cover of Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco.” - Ride the Tempo - Micayla Bussiere

"Folk-rock band The Royal Streets + Lora Bidner + Justin Toito"

Thursday August 15 at 8 pm, $5. Folk-rock band from Waterloo The Royal Streets, on tour: Algernon Friolet (vocals & guitar), Mike Demsey (guitar),Jillian Dowding (vocals), Eric Stirtzinger (guitar). Formed in November 2012, they have taken their energetic folk based tunes across Eastern Canada, performing from Waterloo to Halifax, sharing the stage with many talented Canadian artists, including Vancouver based indie-rockers Said The Whale.
Touring with The Royal Streets is Lora Bidner, is a talented folk artist who resides in Ottawa, and now plays with The Musettes. Along with vocals, Lora plays a variety of instruments including the hang drum, ukelele, guitar and piano. She has shared the stage with Craig Cardiff, Justin Nozuka, Jill Barber, Danny Michel, and many more.
And rounding out the bill is Justin Toito, of Hamilton. From age nine onwards, he has thrown his heart and soul into making and playing music. Throughout his musical career he has played guitar, piano, drums, bass and lead vocals for many bands, but has now focused on his own solo career, performing at various venues around Southern Ontario with his own original music. He has currently been working hard in the studio in Hamilton recording his first single “Memory” with producer Dan Hosh. - Artword Artbar

"L'Ottavienne Lora Bidner lancera son nouvel album, To the North, samedi soir au LIVE! on Elgin."

L'Ottavienne Lora Bidner lancera son nouvel album, To the North, samedi soir au LIVE! on Elgin.
Un disque folk orchestral vibrant, aux «paysages très cinématographiques», malgré son côté «progressif et expérimental», résume Lora Bidner, dont le ukulélé danse amoureusement avec le violoncelle et les violons. «On peut dire que c'est du "folk de chambre".»
Ce disque teinté de «mélancolie», au détour duquel on peut entendre un chant de baleines et dont «les subtilités s'apprécient mieux avec une paire d'écouteurs», la guitariste et son groupe (dirigé par un jeune violoncelliste inspiré, Raphael Weiroth-Brown) l'interpréteront dans son intégralité et dans l'ordre, car il «raconte une histoire».
To the North est un disque 100% ottavien, souligne fièrement Lora Bidner. Tous les musiciens sont issus de la capitale. Le disque a été enregistré dans le quartier Glebe, au Gallery Studio, avec Dean Watson, qui l'a coproduit. Même la pochette, joliment peinte, est l'oeuvre d'un artiste d'Ottawa, Dom Laporte, souligne-t-elle.

L'album sort sans étiquette. Vu la qualité du produit, on peine à croire qu'il a été autoproduit. Le site de sociofinancement PledgeMusic a permis à Lora Bidner de réunir 25% des fonds nécessaires au projet. «Ç'a a enlevé beaucoup de pression financière.» Tout le reste sort de sa poche.
«C'était difficile, mais ça m'a donné la liberté de faire exactement ce que je voulais», dit-elle sobrement.
Un projet de longue haleine, entrepris il y a plus de trois ans. Quoique certaines chansons, nettement plus vieilles, «remontent à l'époque où j'étais au secondaire», sourit la jeune femme, qui fêtera son 25e anniversaire... samedi, sur les planches.
Jeune, mais déjà acomplie. Lora Bidner a fait paraître un premier disque en 2008. La même année, elle remportait le Cappie award de la «Créativité» pour la trame de la pièce The Triangle Factory Fire Project. En 2010, elle recevait un prix Capital Youth Spirit of the Arts. En 2013, elle montait sur une scène du Bluesfest, au sein de feu le trio The Musettes.
La musicienne est aussi à l'aise au piano qu'à la guitare, et se débrouille plutôt bien aux percussions «mélodiques», comme le hang, dérivé du steeldrum.
L'animateur radio à CKCU (et fondateur du Festival folk d'Ottawa), Chris White, la considère comme «l'artiste émergente la plus intéressante et la plus prometteuse» qu'il ait rencontré.
Elle a composé les trames de multiples pièces de théâtre et films documentaires, entre autres projets parallèles.
Étrangement, «je ne me suis jamais perçue comme une artiste de scène [performer] mais comme une compositrice. J'aime la scène mais je ne l'ai jamais vraiment prise au sérieux. Sans doute parce que j'ai longtemps manqué de confiance en moi.»
Lora Bidner vient tout juste de déménager à Toronto, pour y entamer une maîtrise universitaire, dans la foulée du baccalauréat en musique décroché à l'Université Carleton - Le Droit - Yves Bergeras


To the North - Fall 2015 9 Track Album



Lora Bidner is a compelling singer-songwriter and film composer living in Toronto. Her critically acclaimed 9 track 2015 album To The North touches on themes of human pathos, self discovery and folklore and includes styles of music from atmospheric haunt-folk in the vein of Fever Ray to electronic-pop in the vein of Florence and the Machine. Hosting two sold out album release parties in Ottawa and Toronto, To the North received radio play on CBC radio 1 and attention from media outlets such as Exclaim!, Huffington Post, Ottawa Showbox, Apt 613 and more.

 A multi-faceted artist, Lora’s eclecticism and raw talent keeps her shows captivating as she plays proficiently on piano, guitar, ukulele, and hang drum; her stunning voice can be likened to Tori Amos or Regina Spektor. Having toured the East Coast along with folk-rock band “The Royal Streets” in the Summer of 2013, Lora performs frequently in Ontario and involves herself in the local Ottawa and Toronto music community.

Notable performances include performing at the 2015 Ottawa Bluesfest, 2014 Ottawa Folk Festival main stage, the NAC 4th stage for "Musik Ottawa" and performing at the legendary Blacksheep Inn sharing the stage with Juno award winning/nominated artists like SoCalled, Craig Cardiff, Justin Nozuka, Lynn Miles, Jim Bryson, Jill Barber, Danny Michel, Hannah Georgas, Dar Williams and more.

Lora’s very unique, natural playing style comes from both a self-taught and formally trained background. An active artist in her music community, Lora is a member of SOCAN, SAC and SCGC. Having completed her Bachelor of Music degree in the Singer-Songwriter’s program at Carleton University with High Honors with Distinction in 2014, Lora is completing her second year in a Masters of Music Technology at the University of Toronto studying under four time Juno award-winning producer Jeff Wolpert. Lora continues to not only perform but also pursue a career as a composer for film, winning a SOCAN Young Composers Award for her short animation score “Missing” by Stephanie Chewy (2016). Lora is currently writing for several short films as well as a full-length documentary called “Slut or Nut” www.slutornut.com . Upcoming shows include a show at the legendary Blacksheep Inn on August 26th as well as a performance with award winning duo The Visit on October 15th at Beach United Church. For more information about Lora visit www.lorabidner.com