An artist biography
Meet Cindy Doire: Troubadour and Vagabond
How a young singer from Timmins made
three CDs, and took a music career on
the road for five years on two continents
OK, let’s tell the truth here. You really don’t expect Timmins to produce multi-lingual pop singer-songwriters, even though that gritty north Ontario town did give the world Shania Twain.
And you don’t expect an artist who’s just at home in a chansonniers’ bistro in Paris as she is in clubs and coffee houses from Vancouver to Canada’s Maritimes.
Music’s always been part of Cindy Doire’s life, but she has a footloose wandering soul that has seen her living in Mexico, teaching English in Cuba, recording in Nashville, hanging out in Brussels, busking in Spain, and laughing her way through another songwriter night at Not My Dog, Toronto’s smallest live music venue (licensed, last time anyone checked, for 28 people).
Cindy’s deceptive, too. Slim and petite, she has a voice that can whisper a lyric in your ear that will startle your heart (and maybe your libido).. This is a woman who can channel the moody atmosphere of French singers from Piaf to François Hardy and pin you against the back wall with a Joplin-esque wail to shatter your soul.
Cindy releases her first English CD
Now, as if to offer proof, Doire recently released her first album of English songs, Sticks and Mud, produced by Canadian guitarist Colin Cripps. It’s a varied, reflective collection of songs that range from the intimacy of “Spill Me Down the River” to the rollicking “The Road’s a Temptress,” the slow-burn rocker that opens the CD, “Charlie Boy” and the gritty plea “Don’t Let the Bastards Bring You Down.”
Sticks and Mud is dedicated to “all the troubadours, vagabonds and bandits with whom I’ve crossed paths.”
A troubadour and a vagabond herself, she’s also an inventive, collaborative, thoughtful songwriter and a dynamic on-stage performer, and one who’s been at home in a recording studio since she made her first CD back in 2007.
Le vie en Bleu was a striking debut. Completely bilingual, her northern Ontario heritage and her affection for southern blues and the romanticism of Europe helped create songs which trans-Atlantic audiences regarded as brilliantly French, yet somehow “different.” Closer to home, the CD earned her Music in Film and Motion nominations for Best Album, Best Songwriter and Best vocal performance.
Cindy’s second album, Chapeau de Pluie, was produced in Nashville and Toronto two years later by expatriate Canadian producer Colin Linden. It built on the success of her debut, and earned applause — and radio play — in Quebec and in Europe.
And, again, it earned recognition from her peers: The “best discovery” award from the Gala des Prix Or, and the Songs from the Heart award from the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals. The CD also earned honours as Best Album by a Solo Artist at the Northern Ontario Music and Film Awards.
Chapeau de Pluie continues to gain applause: so far this year she has won major awards at Quebec’s prestigious Festival International de Granby and from Contact Ontarois. And she has been nominated for no less than three awards at the upcoming 2011 Gala des Prix Trille Or.
This troubadour is a road warrior: Get in the van and drive
Cindy Doire is a road warrior, and she has learned the geography of Canada the hard way: get in the can and drive. You don’t make a lot of money doing this, and you play in small clubs, bars, coffee shops and house concerts in peoples’ homes. Hard work, far too many miles — but you build a fan base, one by one, on the road.
Unlike most of her Canadian contemporaries, however, Cindy also tours extensively in Europe — there were no less than four trips there last year, and there are upcoming 2011 dates in Belgium and France. Her language skills — she also speaks fluent Italian and Spanish — make her foreign trips less stressful, and allows her to build an easy rapport with her listeners.
Now Sticks and Mud has been launched, and the process repeats. Into the van, cross the country, hit the pubs and clubs and festivals and coffee houses. Play showcases for “industry” people. And sing your heart out, night after night after night.
Cindy Doire may be a troubadour, and she’s blessed with a true voice and the gift of creating songs that you can remember. Her energy, laughter and joy on stage make her concerts very special.
Best of all, she’s still a vagabond, and she just might steal your heart.