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Changes, but the music remains at the heart

Patio time is a summer staple that took on added importance this year given all the changes brought on by the coronavirus. Hitting the patio also took on new significance for musicians such as Giselle Sanderson, who found herself performing out of doors perhaps a little more than usual thanks to the coronavirus measures.

“When the pandemic hit, all my teaching and theatre shows were obviously cancelled, so that was a bit of a change. But it was nice when they opened things up … and I was allowed to play on outdoor patios – it was such a beautiful summer with all the hot weather that I was able to sing on patios this summer. I haven’t been back into the studio or into theatres yet, but I’ve definitely enjoyed playing outdoor patios this summer,” she said.

Over the summer, she hit more than a few patios across the region, taking the altered circumstances in stride. It was the latest path on her musical journey.

Born and raised on a farm near West Montrose, Sanderson’s musical journey has taken her from singing at her local church to becoming a Juno-nominated artist. She remains busy to this day, adding vocal and performance coaching to her résumé.

She loved singing as a child, first involved in the choir and then singing at weddings.

“When all the work was done, you’re left with a lot of time to yourself, and I just used to sing all the time,” she said of her time growing up on the farm.

Sanderson had various influences that helped her shape her path to full-time musician. “My dad really enjoyed blues music and he likes rock and roll, so, a lot of Led Zeppelin – I grew up with that. And my mom really enjoyed country. And then I had the whole classical side to – my grandparents really enjoyed classical music,” said Sanderson. “So those are sort of where my influences come from.”

It was when she found herself writing material at Kitchener’s Cedartree Recording Studio that Sanderson saw music as a career option.

“I started writing songs at Cedartree Studios in my early 20s, and that’s where I met Rick Hutt, the owner and producer at Cedartree.”

It was there Sanderson was introduced to Beverly Mahood, and they began singing together. Sanderson’s first single she released was ‘I want the fairy tale,’ and Mahood’s first single was ‘your ordinary girl out of the ordinary.’ They both provided backing vocals on each other’s tracks, solidifying their musical partnership.

Shortly after the two singers released their tracks, Sanderson says Mahood met producer David Foster, who was keen on forming a ‘girl group.’ After Foster vetted through some other girls in Los Angeles, Sanderson auditioned and was accepted into the trio Lace along with Mahood and Corbi Dyann, who was later replaced by Stacey Lee Guse.

It was a career choice she relishes to this day, even if there have been changes along the way.

“I still am still heavily involved with music – [but] it looks a little different,” said Sanderson. “I’m not touring as much as we used to, obviously, and I have a family, so I’ve moved into teaching vocals, music, voice lessons, and I was also doing James Taylor/Carole King show with a good friend of mine, Jim Witter.”

Although she hasn’t been able to record in the studio, Sanderson has released a remix of her song Counterfeit, which is available on Spotify.

Sanderson also took a stab at online live streaming, but says she prefers watching her friends perform online rather than doing so herself.

“I did a virtual show for Lana’s Lounge here in town. And for the rest of the pandemic, I enjoyed watching my friends do virtual shows and trying to support them,” she said. “If we had to stay home, I just loved being able to boot up my computer or watch on my phone. The really talented musicians that were doing virtual shows I thought that was an amazing idea to keep music alive during that time.”

More information on Giselle and her musical catalogue can be found online.

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