Michelle Owen

Michelle Owen

 Oakville, Ontario, CAN
BandPopAdult Contemporary

I try to write music and lyrics that reflect my experiences in life. I wrote the songs for my first CD (released 2011) while in high school and the songs reflect events and emotions during that time but with an uplifting theme. My second CD is following that trend but with a bit more rock!

Biography

The phrase "wise beyond her years" could have been coined with Michelle Owen in mind. She is just 18, but this Toronto-based singer/songwriter should certainly not be lumped into the category of teen popster. On her dazzlingly accomplished self-titled debut album, Michelle exhibits a lyrical and musical maturity far beyond the reach of most of her peers.

She may be soft-spoken in person, but don't let that fool you. Michelle possesses steely conviction and true grit when it comes to her music. She was determined to make her record the old-fashioned way, using real horns and strings. This brings a warmth and richness to the sound that cannot be duplicated by synthesized subsitutes. Owen recalls that "My producer, Doug Romanow, told me 'we can can either do this as a very basic album, built around guitar and piano, or else we can take it to the next level. Have it all and have it sound 10 times better.' I think it really made the songs what they are. A lot of music on the radio now is very generic and computer-generated. The instruments are very important to me. Here it is just a real band, nothing else. You don't see that so much these days with younger artists."

Romanow explains that "I loved the immediacy and freshness of Michelle's vocal performances. These songs came from Michelle sitting at the piano, writing, and I wanted the music to always respect the space where the vocal lives."

This acclaimed Juno-nominated producer (Michael Pickett, Erin Haley) has access to Toronto's best players, and he came up with a real A list of instrumentalists to add their magic to Michelle Owen. Guitar aces featured are Tony Lind, Sean Ashby and Russell Broom, with the latter two being known for their work with, respectively, Sarah MacLachlan and Jann Arden. Drummers Davide Direnzo and Lyle Molzan have laid down the groove for artists as varied as Jacksoul, The Art of Time Ensemble, and - Molzan will check his credits, while bassist Marc Rogers has worked with Holly Cole and The Philosopher Kings. The multi-talented Romanow contributes piano, B3 organ, and keyboards, as well as horn and string arrangements. The string section is led by virtuoso violinist Lenny Solomon, the man behind the Bowfire phenomenon, while the horn section comprises trumpeter David Dunlop (NOJO, The Boss Brass) and trombonist Gord Myers (Michael Kaeshammer).

The album was recorded, co-engineered, and mixed by Romanow at his Fire Escape Recording studio. Sessions took place over a lengthy period, given that Michelle had to juggle her schedule around her studies (she is now taking social sciences at the University of Toronto). This turned out to be of real benefit, as she explains. "It helped me absorb things. I had experiences during the making of it and I also learned a lot from Doug during the recording process, and that made me better as a writer."

Recording involved three separate stages. Once Owen and Romanow had finished a song, Michelle would sing a rough track of it in the booth, with Doug laying down a piano part. The instrumentalists would flesh out the tune, then Michelle would return to lay down the finished vocals. "Performing a song with the full band behind it made me feel far more energetic about the song," she explains.

That is certainly audible on the finished album. The first track to be taken to AC radio is "Fire," an infectious tune featuring a fittingly fiery vocal performance from Michelle. "I came up with the melody first and was very excited about it 'cos it is really upbeat and fun to sing," she says. Songs like "Heartbeat," "Running Away," and "Rise Up" have a full-blooded soulful vibe that showcase Michelle's strong and passionate voice, while she is equally convincing on the powerful piano and strings-driven ballad "Who Made It So" and the haunting opening cut, "Searching For The Moon."

All the songs on the album are original Owen compositions (Romanow added some co-writing assists), and they dig deep emotionally. "Every song is something that happened in my life or that I saw happen to someone I know," she says. "Personal events give me the inspiration to write a song. If I'm down about something or upset and can't do anything about it, I can put it in a song and it makes me feel better about it. Or if I'm feeling happy about something, and don't know how to express it, I write a song. Sometimes I'll sit at the piano [Owen is a skilled pianist], play around on the keys and I may find something cool." Michelle explores a wide range of emotions and themes in her writing. "I didn't want the album to be 10 songs about being sad over a boy," she explains. "I wanted a song for 10 different things people can experience and relate to."

Owen wrote her first song at 13, and has been honing her craft ever since. Not even her parents and close friends knew just how seriously she was committed to songwriting. "I just did it for myself, and I kept it fairly quiet," she says. "Songwriting was an emotional

Lyrics

Who Made It So

Written By: Michelle Owen

Here I am
All of me
And I’m scared
To be free

I’m afraid of
Being judged
For whom I’m supposed to be
And why

*Chorus*
And who made it so
Were supposed to cry
And who made it so
Were supposed to live and die

This is it
The end is near
I feel so trapped
By all this fear

*Chorus*
And who made it so
We all should grow old
And who made it so
We do what we are told
And who made it so
Were supposed to cry
And who made it so
Were supposed to live and die

Ahh Ahh Ahh Ahh

*Chorus*
And who made it so
we all should grow old
And who made it so
We do what we are told
And who made it so
How the seasons change
And who made it so
That life is such a game

And who made it so
And who made so

Here I am

Heartbeat

Written By: Michelle Owen

Heartbeat, raindrop
Tempo is moving slow
I hear the sound
Seemed like so long ago

Rising quickly
My heart begins to race
No sound like this
Take me to another space

The mood the tone
Emotions on overload
First time I heard
I already wanted more

The power the source
Healer of human race
The feel the force
Take us to a better place

It lies upon the misty waters
It rests down in the grainy sands
Sing it to the broken fathers
Hey I’m gonna spread it across the land
Softly it speaks
Says what you need to know
The louder the beat
Feel it from heart to toe

Deep down you know
It’s where you’re meant to be
It pulls you in
This song it will set you free

It lies upon the misty waters
It rests down in the grainy sands
Sing it to the broken fathers
Hey I’m gonna spread it across the land

Hey hey hey hey hey
Touch it you need it

Hey hey hey hey hey
Reach out and feel it

Hey hey hey hey hey
Touch it you need it

Hey hey hey hey hey
Reach out and feel it

It lies upon the misty waters
It rests down in the grainy sands
Sing it to the broken fathers
Hey I’m gonna spread it across the land

True

Written By: Michelle Owen

I took a walk outside
I saw your face
My heart stumbled

Our eyes met
And soon I knew
That you were something special

Your t-shirt is white
Your touch is so soft
And no one can replace that
At first I was scared
But you did not rush
Patiently you waited

Cause you’re the one
Who helped me up when I was down
Never walked away
You’re the one
Who told me I should stay the same
And never change
You are the one you are the one
Who seems to know everything about me
You are the one who
You are the one who knows
The truth about me

Hoping I will
Find you
There you wait I glance and smile

Your deep blue eyes
Sink through me
But better things will follow

Cause you are so different
You’re not the norm
You know you’re somethin special
I might have been blind
But it’s easy to see
You’re all I’ve ever needed

Cause you’re the one
Who helped me up when I was down
Never walked away
You’re the one
Who told me I should stay the same
And never change
You are the one you are the one
Who seems to know everything about me
You are the one who
You are the one who knows
The truth

And you fought for me
And I never thought that we could be this way
But it is true
You are the one who gets me
You are the one who sees me
You are the one who caught me
You are the one to be
You are the one to be
True

You are the one to be
You are the one to be
You are the one to be
True

You are the one to be
You are the one to be
You are the one to be
True
You are the one to be
You are the one to be
You are the to be
True

Searching for the Moon

Written By: Michelle Owen and Douglas Romanow

*Searching for the Moon* © Michelle Owen 2010-2011

Here’s a story bout a girl
Living in a heartless world
Electric smile lit up the sky
Courage shone in her blue eyes

But then her sparkle turned to shade
Someone rained on her parade
And I’m still waiting for the day
When she will laugh and smile again

You’re the song without a tune
You’re the star without your moon
Tonight the dark has overcome
You’ve lost your way and you can’t carry on
I believe your heart is strong
You’ll be back to prove them wrong
So I’m prayin for the day
You light the night on fire again

Did someone let go of your hand
Turn your castles into sand
Leave you stranded in the promise land
Did someone prove this world is cruel
Make you the sentimental fool
Holding out for hope in a crazy world

You’re the song without a tune
You’re the star without your moon
Tonight the dark has overcome
You’ve lost your way and you can’t carry on
I believe your heart is strong
You’ll be back to prove them wrong
So I’m prayin for the day
You light the night on fire again

Ahh Ahh Ahh
Ahh Ahh Ahh
Ahh Ahh Ahh
Ahh Ahh Ahh
Ahh Ahh Ahh

Did someone prove this world is cruel
Make you the sentimental fool
Holding out for hope in a crazy world

You’re the song without a tune
You’re the star without your moon
Tonight the dark has overcome
You’ve lost your way and you can’t carry on
I believe your heart is strong
You’ll be back to prove them wrong
So I’m prayin for the day
You light the night on fire again
So I’m prayin for the day
You light the night on fire again

© Michelle Owen 2010-2011

Rise Up

Written By: Michelle Owen

*Rise Up* © Michelle Owen 2010-2011

I’m here wonderin’ why
The world has to be this way
I turned and asked you
Will things ever change?

The world is cruel
And full of hate
Sometimes it’s hard
To keep our faith

You turned and
Looked me straight in the eye
And said reassuringly
You said you said you said

You know that one day
We will rise above our ways
And you know that someday
Hands will be held our tears will dry

I passed a little girl
Crying on the street
Someone had taken her new bike
You look at me
So innocently
I say: Girl that just ain’t right

Take my hand and
Look at me
I’ll tell you what my friend told me

I know I know
That one day
We will rise above our ways
And I know that someday
Hands will be held our tears will dry

Rise up rise up
Rise up rise up

Rise up rise up
Rise up rise up

Rise up rise up
Rise up rise up

Rise up rise up
Rise up rise up
I’m here wondering why
The world has to be this way
I turned and asked you
Will things ever change?

I know
That one day
We will rise above our ways
And I know that someday
Hands will be held our tears will dry

I know
That one day
We will rise above our ways

Rise up rise up
Rise up rise up
Whoa Oh

Rise up rise up
Rise up rise up
Whoa oh oh oh

Rise up rise up
Rise up rise up
Whoa oh oh oh

Rise up rise up
Rise up rise up

© Michelle Owen 2010-2011

Love My Love

Written By: Michelle Owen and Douglas Romanow

*Love My Love* © Michelle Owen 2010-2011

All I ever wanted from you was your love your heat your kiss
But something broke, shattered like glass, something that I surely missed

Fireworks flash in the night
Feel the flame burning bright
You told me our love would last forever
Now icicles are falling down
Cutting through this carnival
My heart turns cold
To blue frosted pain

Love my love
Love my love

Tears freeze to my cheek
I watch you walk away
Like breathe on window glass
Does all love have to fade?

Fireworks flash in the night
Feel the flame burning bright
You told me our love would last forever
Now icicles are falling down
Cutting through this carnival
My heart turns cold
To blue frosted pain

Love my love
Love my love
Love my love
Love my love

Love my love
Love my love
Love my love
Love my love

© Michelle Owen 2010-2011

Fire

Written By: Michelle Owen and Douglas Romanow

*Fire* © Michelle Owen 2010-2011

I am I am fire
I am burning strong
And true

You are my desire
This heart is pure
It will always burn for you

Crazy boy
You taunt my heart
That’s where you always linger

Crazy boy
I’ve been caught in a flame
Dancing in this circle of danger

Cause you’ve been messing
With my dreams
Spreading hope like gasoline

I am I am fire
I am burning strong
And true

You are my desire
This heart is pure
It will always burn for you

Crazy boy
You ease my pain
But then you tease me further

Crazy boy
You’ve set my spark
That’s rising in your favor

I am I am fire
I am burning strong
And true

You are my desire
This heart is pure
It will always burn for you

Da da da da da da (repeated)
I am I am fire
I am I am fire
I am I am fire
I am burning strong
And true

You are my desire
This heart is pure
It will always burn for you

© Michelle Owen 2010-2011

Running Away

Written By: Michelle Owen and Douglas Romanow

*Running Away* © Michelle Owen 2010-2011

City stops country walks
Spin the CD from the top
Need a little bit of rock and roll

Wavy hair shoulders bare
Driving fast without a care
You know baby that’s how I go

Woh oh Woh oh Woh oh

Top is down hear the sound
People listen all around
Feel it pound when you pass them by

Hands in the air without a care
Don’t really matter what you wear
And you don’t even need a reason why

Woh oh Woh oh Woh oh

Runnin
On a Saturday
Leavin
This is the time and place
So we are runnin away
We are runnin away
Yes we’re runnin
Runnin away

No room for me so hard to breathe
All we want to be is free
But all we do is what we’re told

Sit in your chair put up your hand
Get off your ass it’s time to stand
Ah baby you gotta break this mould

Woh oh Woh oh Woh oh

One two three put on a show
Feel it flow oh you know it’s time to go
We’re free at last

We can breathe a little more
So much better than before
Put this pedal to the floor
We’re gonna blow this stand

Woh oh Woh oh Woh oh

Runnin
On a Saturday
Leavin
This is the time and place
So we are runnin away
We are runnin away
Yea we’re runnin away
Runnin away

Runnin away
We are runnin away
Yea we’re runnin
Runnin away

Woh oh Woh oh Woh oh

Runnin away
We are runnin away
Yea we’re runnin away
Runnin away

Come on
Runnin away
We are runnin away
Yea we’re runnin away
Runnin away

Runnin away runnin away runnin
Runnin away runnin away runnin
Runnin away runnin away
Away

Runnin away runnin away runnin
Runnin away runnin away runnin
Runnin away runnin away
Away

© Michelle Owen 2010-2011

Lover's Cry

Written By: Michelle Owen

*Lover’s Cry* © Michelle Owen 2010-2011

I wanna send me back
Take back everything
Every single little thing
That you said to me

I wanna go right back
Forget everything
Every single little thing
That you did to me

Honey I know you missed me
Darling I know you were there
But your-self-centered
Self righteous attitude
Is why I don’t even care

Heartbreak is a lover’s cry
I know I will survive

You stared in to my eyes
No you didn’t blink
You were always by my side
What was I supposed to think?

I believed your lies
And all your back and forth
Baby it’s no big surprise
I’m so much better off

Honey I know you kissed me
Darling you know I was there
But you’re a self-centered, self-righteous poser boy
And I don’t even care

Heartbreak is a lover’s cry
I know I will survive
Heartbreak is a lover’s cry
I know I will survive
Heartbreak is a lover’s cry
I know I will survive
Heartbreak is a lover’s cry

© Michelle Owen 2010-2011

Holding On

Written By: Michelle Owen and Douglas Romanow

*Holding On* © Michelle Owen 2010-2011

Save me I’m drowning
I’m desperately needin
Someone to come around

Emotions are raging
All that I need
Is this tide to come back down

So I look to you
I look to you

Baby, baby
I know that you’re one who
Told me always be strong
One day one day
I’ll thank you for helping me
When all hope is gone

Keep holding on

I’m lost in the deep end
It’s too hard to hold in
These bitter sweet tears

Taking me over
Dragging me under
I’m desperate to breathe

That’s why I look to you
Yea I look to you

Baby, baby
I know that you’re the one who
Told me always be strong
One day one day
I’ll thank you for helping me
When all hope is gone

Keep holding on

Save me save me baby
Save me save me baby
There’s no one else but you
Save me save me baby
Save me save me baby
Someday I’ll save you too

Baby, baby
I know that you’re one who
Told me always be strong
So one day one day
I’ll thank you for helping me
When all hope is gone
Come on now
Baby, baby
Keep holdin on
Keep holdin on

© Michelle Owen 2010-2011

Discography

Michelle Owen (2011)