LYDIA PERSAUD with CHARLOTTE CORNFIELD
Saturday June 15, 2019
Doors 7:00PM, Show 8:00PM
Tickets: $12 (+SC) adv., $15 door • 19+
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Lydia Persaud is a Toronto-born & raised soul artist. Lydia’s sound expands the boundaries of soul to include both folk and jazz, styles that have been foundational to her musical growth. Lydia attended the rigorous jazz program at Humber School of Music, where she won the Oscar Peterson Jazz Award and connected with fellow members of the folk trio The O’Pears, whom she has been collaborating with for the past seven years. Working in these styles honed Lydia’s mastery of sophisticated vocal harmony and blend, leading her to become an in-demand vocalist. Lydia has supported such icons as Gordon Lightfoot, David Crosby, and Lee Fields, as well as opened for Serena Ryder, Sarah Harmer, and Joey Landreth. After performing internationally with The O’Pears and Dwayne Gretzky, and backing artists such as Lee Fields, Jill Barber, Royal Wood, Jadea Kelly and Karl Wolf, Lydia has emerged with her own voice in the world of folk-soul.
Raised on a healthy dose of the country music narrative and the spiritual motivation of gospel hymns, Persaud reconnected with her roots on her debut solo EP, 2017’s Low Light. The EP featured some of Canada’s finest musicians such as Robbie Grunwald (Jill Barber, Good Lovelies), Joel Schwartz (Birds of Chicago), Josh Van Tassel (Great Lake Swimmers), and Drew Jurecka (Jill Barber). Persaud‘s follow-up single, “Honey Child”, saw her reunite with Low Light producer Robbie Grunwald, alongside a band consisting of Grunwald (bass/keys), Champagne James Robertson (guitar), Joshua Van Tassel (drums/percussion), and Anh Phung (flute), as well as Joanna Mohammed-Gonzalez and Claire Doyle (vocals). Her debut full-length album, Let Me Show You, drops May 10 on Next Door Records. With Let Me Show You, Lydia draws inspiration from her musical heroes, such as Donny Hathaway, Bill Withers and Carole King, while touching on vital issues that deeply affect her. Her music melds genres while Lydia’s clear message shines through on the power of her unforgettable voice.
“Soul music has always affected me the most, a soulful conviction on matters of the heart,” says Persaud. “Voicing struggle or sharing joy and celebration has always been my favourite method of expression.” As a woman of colour from a Canadian-Guyanese-Ukrainian background, Lydia has actively sought to break stereotyped expectations of her identity through her music. She finds it empowering to disrupt assumptions that pigeonhole her in genres such as Folk: “Swaying far from those expectations by writing soul-based songs on the ukulele felt like I was carving out my own space. I always had a love for early country music and storytelling through song, which always kept me close to artists like Shania Twain and Stevie Wonder.”
In the past year Lydia has supported Serena Ryder, Joey Landreth, Donovan Woods, and recently joined Lindi Ortega, Terra Lightfoot & Begonia as a special guest on The Longest Road Show.
“You free yourself when you take away the script,” says Toronto songwriter Charlotte Cornfield. “That’s where this record came from, dismantling patterns and embracing the process.” Cornfield’s third full length, The Shape of Your Name, arrived in April 2019 via Outside Music imprint Next Door Records. The album has a more honed studio sound than her scrappier 2016 release Future Snowbird and her acclaimed 2011 debut Two Horses, and for good reason: it was recorded in five different sessions over the course of three years. The songs are her strongest and most striking to date — contemplative and contemporary, funny and heart-wrenching — and they’ve got that stuck-in-your-head-for-days quality that Cornfield is known for.
The Shape of Your Name features a star-studded cast of collaborators including (but not limited to) Grammy-winning engineer Shawn Everett, Broken Social Scene members Brendan Canning, Kevin Drew and Charles Spearin, and Montreal songwriter Leif Vollebekk. A denizen of the road since her late teens, the 6-foot-tall musician lives in a state of bemusement. Cornfield has previously shared the stage with the likes of Sun Kil Moon, Lake Street Dive, Ron Sexsmith and Sharon Van Etten. The Globe and Mail says, “Her songwriting is ravenous. Even here, in uneasy happiness, [Cornfield] sounds like she will wolf down her life as fast as she is able. The windfalls, the crises, the concerts, the chance encounters – she’ll sprint through them all, collecting burs. This is work in the tradition of Dylan or Townes Van Zandt.”