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Music

Press


"A “jazzy” lady"

Warm, Rachel Chantal openly recounts her journey as a jazz singer. An uncommon journey which lead her to self-produce a show, last Thursday, at the National Arts Centre (NAC).

- Joisanne Haspeck

Born in Montreal, she moves to Ottawa after finishing one year of college studies. She obtains first a bachelor’s degree in Russian to finally work in the public service. A few years later, her job is strangling her. So she decides to return to study. She then gets a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music. Since then, she has been teaching voice and sight singing.

Her passion for jazz is not innate, but came later in life. “I took a jazz improv class during my bachelor’s […] I was the only singer in the class,” she underlines. It was through singer Holy Cole that she really discovered this style of music, since in her childhood it was rather 50’s music and classical which dominated.

During three consecutive summers, she participates in the Ottawa Jazzworks camp. There she meets musicians and forms, with four of them, the group Sonic Circle. The band dissolved as a result of scheduling conflicts. In the same years, she is the leader of a Latin jazz band, Caoba.

Last July, while she was eight months pregnant, she decided to take a chance and record her first CD, Close to my heart. “Amiel wanted to sing with me, she was dancing in my belly,” adds the mother of a pretty little girl. Her disc is mainly composed of ballads. She explains this choice by saying: “I wanted to make a disc that held together […] a disc that people would listen to over supper to create an ambiance.” She dedicated it to her baby who, one way or another, participated in the production of the this project.

It is in an intimate atmosphere that she came onto the 4th Stage at the NAC. Accompanied by three musicians, she presented the songs of her new album. It is with the song Les moulins de mon coeur that she opened the show. Her clear and sober voice was featured from this very moment as she began to sing a cappella. It goes to show how well her nervousness was under control.

She interpreted a mixture of French, English and Spanish songs which transported the public throughout the entire evening. Rachel Chantal knew how to create a good rapport with the audience, making them laugh several times. Her love for song is palpable. She has fun on the stage: she smiles and laughs. We feel that she gives to the public and at the same time the public gives a lot back to her.

For the future, she is planning to send a submission to the Ottawa Jazz Festival. When La Rotonde asked her if she would be doing the same for Montreal, she straightens her back, takes a serious look and in a decisive tone responds “yes!” before breaking out laughing. Her plan with this new “baby,” is to try to bring it throughout the country.” She admits she “would like to break through with this album.”
- La Rotonde newspaper


Discography

Close to My Heart - 2002
The Dawning - 2009

Photos

Bio

Singer/songwriter Rachel Beausoleil has been entertaining Ottawa audiences with her warm and sultry interpretations for over 15 years. She has played at private parties, large corporate functions, and cultural events such as the Ottawa International Jazz Festival and the Feast of Fields. Her most notable venues have included Molson Stage at Harbourfront in Toronto, the NAC’s 4th Stage, and the Prime Minister’s residence.
Currently, Rachel has been working on a new project of original songs in a blend of bossa nova, samba and jazz beats, along with guitarist and co-composer Evandro Gracelli. The words are intimate and touch on themes of deep emotions.
Her last album, The Dawning, features her powerful and dynamic voice against an intimate backdrop of piano and bass. This eclectic collection includes not only jazz standards, but also songs from diverse ethnic traditions (ranging from Acadia to Latin America, with a detour through Russia) and a new arrangement of a familiar number from the Sound of Music.
The Dawning is the follow-up to Rachel’s first recording, Close to My Heart, released in 2002. That earlier CD is a rich collection of ballads—all especially arranged by Roddy Ellias, who is the featured guitarist and producer of the album.
Over the years, Rachel has performed with numerous ensembles, including mainstream, Latin, and a cappella jazz combos, as well as a classic rock band. Rachel sings in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian and Russian.
Along with her extensive experience in the jazz realm, Rachel has training in classical vocal technique. Her master’s thesis, focusing on Montreal jazz vocalists, allowed her to gather insights from some of Canada’s top performers, specifically Ranee Lee, Jeri Brown, Karen Young, Lorraine Desmarais and Roddy Ellias.
Rachel’s influences include Milton Nascimento, Sarah Vaughan, Jeri Brown, Lila Downs and other great voices of the world. Rachel studied vocal improvisation with Montreal diva Jeri Brown and Toronto's Julie Michels. Like these singers, Rachel actively cultivates a unique sound, touching the listener to the core with her depth of conviction.

The late Seattle trumpeter and vocalist Floyd Standifer Jr. called her “a great talent.”

“Her love for song is palpable.”—Joisanne Haspeck, La Rotonde newspaper

A sampling of audience comments: “You made our evening!” “Quelle Muse!... J'ai eu des larmes et des frissons. … Ta voix est envoûtante.” “…you had them eating out of your hands...” “You`re voice is never an obstacle to the music.”