Multi-versed jazz singer Heather Bambrick uncorks another vintage work with her highly anticipated album You’ll Never Know.
The opening line in Heather Bambrick’s official website bio sums up the career of the transplanted Newfoundland jazz powerhouse quite magnificently. “Heather Bambrick has been wearing many hats for many years – and all of them fit her well!”
Too true. Bambrick may well be one of the most accomplished, yet under the radar, Newfoundland born artists working today. Currently residing in Ontario, Bambrick counts singer-songwriter, voice actor, broadcaster and educator among her many credits. It’s a lengthy list that requires a steady hand, heart and mind to navigate on a daily basis, yet this self-proclaimed go-getter lives with the philosophy of operating at one’s full potential.
With the release of her highly anticipated new solo recording You’ll Never Know, Bambrick has added yet another layer to an already astoundingly diverse career portfolio.
“It’s getting harder I think as I get older,” Bambrick shared with a laugh in a Herald interview when posed the question on her mixed schedule. “When I was younger it was really easy to carry on a schedule like this when you were in your 20’s. Now all of a sudden come three o’clock you’re like is it nap time yet? From the time I was in high school at Heart years ago I was kind of go go go back then, and it just sort of translated into this life too. It means if one thing slows down you always got another couple of balls up in the air.
“I always feel badly for people who might of had a job for years and now after 20 years oh my god now I’m gone. Thanks be to god that I have a few things going on so I don’t depend on one thing,” she adds with a pause. “It’s a good and a bad thing. There are people who say you probably won’t achieve the same success unless you concentrate 100 per cent in one area. I got bills to pay b’y, I got a mortgage.”
Falling in love with jazz music thanks to a mixture of influence from teachers, instructors and of course her father, Bambrick embarked on a career path within the music scene here in Newfoundland that proved more exception then the rule when looking at our more predominant traditional music heritage.
“My dad had been listening to jazz. He played for years in a dance band in the city and he was a saxophone player,” she said. “It was probably more old school jazz, but he was listening to stuff when I was growing up. So that was always around, but I didn’t really take to it until I started singing it. Then quite honestly, it was a few trips down to Fred’s Records and you pick up a little Ella Fitzgerald, a little Sarah Vaughan and some other Canadian artists, and that’s really where I got into that …. it just took singing in a couple of choirs that really had me bitten by the bug and then you’d go out and start looking to stuff.
“I loved the freedom, because I think I felt on some level that I hadn’t really studied at the same extent of other classical singers. I didn’t know how I would have faired with them, but with jazz it was more about emotion and less about technique for me,” she adds. “Then because I had been singing with such excellent choir directors I learned my technique and developed it naturally, so then the emotional part of it took over for me and I learned how to do it that way.”
While Bambrick’s career path did steer her away from her home province out of necessity, she has always been a proud standard-bearer when it comes to Newfoundland and Labrador, a fact she boasts proudly when pressed, often I might add, for curious questions mainlanders have of her home province.
“People in Ontario have this crazy fascination with Newfoundland, and I love it,” she says with a laugh. “I love talking about home and I love prompting it. I’ll talk about it until the cows come home. It’s so funny how people are all amazed at the talent that comes out of Newfoundland. If I get one question up here more than any it’s how is it that such a small place has brought about so many talented people? Whether it’s political satirists, people doing things in theatre or the musicians. I don’t know what it is, but it’s beautiful and I love it.”
Bambrick’s first solo outing in years is 14 track crest of emotion. With highs and lows and a professional maturation that only comes from years performing at the top of one’s craft, You’ll Never Know sees Bambrick operating at her finest.
“I think it’s the best record I’ve done so far. I’m really proud of alot of stuff,” Bambrick shared. “I’m proud of the arrangements, proud of the musicians I’m working with and I’m proud of the voice that i had in it. It was very democratic but at the same time no one tried to take over and say lets do this. There was alot of positive affirmation and sort of a group effort in the project. It connects me to home probably more than anything I’ve ever done.”
While her diversified career allows for little wiggle room to breathe at times, Bambrick has made a conscious effort to try to get back to performing more regularly in 2017 and onward. A high profile performance alongside the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in June serves as one of the highlights for the coming year, an engagement she shared has the butterflies forming early. Bottom line, however, is this talented jazz chanteuse is making a point to bring her music to as many listeners as possible in the very near future.
“From here I just want to be able to bring the music around and entertain people with it. It’s not about making alot of money or all the fame, it’s about wanting to take the show on the road and entertain people and share the stories and share alot of talk about Newfoundland, because I do talk about it at a lot o f the shows and be able to bring that to people.”
You’ll Never Know is available now online www.heatherbambrick.ca and locally at Fred’s Records.