This Polaris nominee and Juno Award winner is on most critics’ Best of 2007 year end lists and there is a reason for that. Julie Doiron made a lot of noise when she released her bare and moody album Woke Myself Up. Three years after her previous release, Doiron didn’t only wake herself up, she shook ears across Canada and now the country is calling her the next Leslie Feist.
Doiron made her start in the early 90s playing bass with Eric’s Trip and quickly became Canada’s underground indie darling. On and off the radar until now, Doiron’s Woke Myself Up is a testimony that this sweetheart is back on the scene and knows what she wants.
The beauty of it all is this Maritimer’s latest effort means business without obvious force and ammunition. With the help from co-producer Rick White and the rest of her former band mates, Doiron presents a delicate album so fragile that it’s fearless. “No More” stands out with a funk that until now, only Feist has successfully brought back to the table. This one is for the iPod, folks. It’s a surprise Apple hasn’t snatched it up for a TV spot. “Swan Pond” is a dark acoustic waltz with a cold, raw and eerie winter feel. The title track and “Yer Kids” warm up the 11 tracks of Woke Myself Up as “Don’t Wannabe/Liked by You” does with its edge and certainty.
Conviction, confidence and honesty pulsate through Woke Myself Up. For an album that plays itself out in less than half an hour, it certainly made some waves from coast to coast and stirred enough for Doiron to talk about getting her through 2007 and well into 2008 on a strong note.
You made your debut with Eric’s Trip in 1990 then the band broke up in 1996. You’ve reunited to work on Woke Myself Up and toured again in 2007. Is Eric’s Trip back?
We got back together last year in some way. Everyone is into keeping it going. There’s been talk about going to Europe in the spring. We’ve been invited there by a few different people. There are things in the air and there are songs. If we wanted to, we could record an album. We’re not opposed to that idea. It’s definitely open and we’ll see what happens!
When did you know that you wanted to make music your career?
When I was young listening to Olivia Newton John and Blonde, I would tell everyone I was going to be a singer. Then I was taking music lessons when I was 10, but it wasn’t until I was 18 playing with Eric’s Trip that I knew it was actually happening. But still when you’re 18 and from a small town in New Brunswick and you start touring, it’s such a shock. It was just a shock that it was even possible.
Did you have doubts about your music after Eric’s Trip broke up?
It was after touring and when the band broke up that I actually realized, “Oh wait! This is my career.” So I went solo and just kept doing it. It was all I knew how to do.
Your former alias was “Broken Girl”. Did you think of yourself as broken?
That was a long, long, long time ago. I was feeling like I was in some ways. That is how I ended up with that name. But at one point I realized that I didn’t like that idea at all, so I went back to Julie Doiron.
Your recent album, Woke Myself Up. What did you have to wake up from?
This is like the second stage of my life. I’m separated from my husband now and that’s pretty major. I’m ready to try and make my music work now, whereas before I was kind of afraid of success. I’m waking myself up from the denial I was in.
What were you in denial about?
I was confused. I wanted to stay home and be with my kids, when I was being booked to go on tours. On one hand I didn’t want to be a musician anymore I wanted to be home with my kids. I was afraid to be successful or become popular because I knew that would take me away.
How have you changed and what is going to make this year different?
I’m just going to do everything with my full heart in it. Even though I was always putting my all into my performances and really believing in those, at the same time I was sabotaging my career. Leaving things for the last minute and not letting people know about what I was doing. I want to make this work. Now I’m ready, I’m awake and I’m ready to start over again and be a new person. I want to do this.
Julie Doiron plays La Sala Rosa on Friday, January 11th