The brick walls are lined with loose leaves covered with words, reproductions of paintings by great masters, and black and white photos to immerse oneself in. In the middle of this kaleidoscope of images and rhymes stands a piano, an accordion, and other musical instruments. Welcome to Gaële's workshop, a place of all permissions where the singer-songwriter settles down and finds her way back to herself by tinkering with little talismans to wear close to her heart. Let us trivially call them songs.
Born in the French Alps, a Quebecer by adoption, with a classical music degree from Grenoble and a bachelor's degree in jazz and popular singing from UQAM, Gaële first made her mark by participating in various competitions (including the Festival en chanson de Petite Vallée and the Festival international de la chanson de Granby) enabling her to give substance to her own distinctive voice, a blend of theatricality, intensity, and gentle mischief. A solitary woman of the world, voluble, who underweights each of her words, a dreamer who admits to cherishing imperfection, a hyperactive contemplative; the artist is a paradox-driven artist, a trait of her personality on which the strength of her songs is based. Her first album, Cockpit (2007), reminds us of an important truth: what if gravity (Les croix blanches) and lightness (Cockpit) were, in fact, two sides of the same coin?
Numerous awards praise this strong way of encapsulating the complexity of the human experience in song, including the Guy Bel Award for female singer-songwriter at the Pully-Lavaux à l'heure du Québec Festival, the Cirque du Soleil award from the Bourse Rideau 2008, and the André "Dédé" Fortin Award from the SPACQ (the singer will incidentally become the torchbearer for the Dédé Fortin Foundation, contributing to suicide prevention).
With her second album, Diamant de papier (2010), Gaële asserts her connection to Quebec (L'Accent d'icitte), while probing what uprooting stirs in her (Ville intérieure). Her fragile interpretation of La folie en quatre (Daniel Bélanger) and her hymn to À la beauté de toutes les femmes par-delà leurs petits défauts, Femme en ic, punctuates this teeming gang album where words snap, where words rock.
Lyricist, composer, and chameleon musician, Gaële is designated an indispensable collaborator by a host of eminent figures in Quebec song, the person to whom one turns when the need for a text, music, or sound advice is felt. She wrote and co-wrote the lyrics for Marie-Pierre Arthur's first two albums, in addition to lending her pen to Monica Freire, Jipé Dalpé, Line Renaud, David Usher, Damien Robitaille, Cusson/Mervil/Montcalm and Alexandre Désilets. Her songs Sarah and Cockpit were revamped in 2010 for the album Toutes les filles, the culmination of a tour that brought together all that the young Quebecois song has to offer in terms of singular female voices. Her participation in two tracks on the album J'ai un bouton sur le bout de la langue, a tribute to La Bolduc, cements her bond of belonging to Quebec culture.
The singer emerges from these experiences of self-forgetfulness with a reinforced desire to arrange her studio and her songs as she sees fit. Microscope, an EP prelude to the release of her third album (Télescope, February 2013), enables her to tame the new economy of words that the singer-songwriter cherishes on four tracks. Songs that are strongly anchored in the body thanks to the visceral and percussive arrangements built in the company of co-director Pierre Fortin (Mara Tremblay, Galaxie, Les Dales Hawerchuk) as well as with the collaboration of exceptional musicians/guests such as Alex McMahon, Jean-François Lemieux, Olivier Langevin, Antoine Gratton, Yann Perreau, Jipé Dalpé, and David Goudreault.
At the beginning of 2019, Gaële arrived with her creative project Partir à point, whose goal was to reinterpret her immigrant female voice songs by male Quebec artists who had inspired her since her arrival in this chosen territory. The idea was materialized by a trilogy of EPs, the first two volumes of which were released last February and May. Gaële, having at heart the themes of encounter and dialogue, called upon as many arrangers as there were songs. For a return to her musical sources, she challenged them to arrange the songs with piano and keyboards as the only instruments. So each EP contains four songs, each rearranged with a different keyboard-pianist. And to close the trilogy in beauty and audacity, Gaële presented Partir à point volume 3 on October 30th at the Livart (Art Center in Montréal).
In addition to the reinterpretations and to open the male-female dialogue, Gaële invited artist-painter-collagist Adèle Blais to put the men's songs from the second EP into images by making portraits of inspiring women from History. Where the songs speak to the eyes. The song 100 000 raisons d'Harmonium was associated with Ella Fitzgerald, a famous jazz singer. Jim Corcoran's song, Ou dancer, was paired with Mary Pickford, an actress, and producer who made her mark on silent cinema. Plume Latraverse's Multicoloured Lake was associated with Marie Kingsley, the great English explorer. While Où as-tu mis ton cœur by Richard Desjardins was joined by Nenyehi (Nancy Ward), a Cherokee political leader.
In order to completely appropriate the songs in her body and to deeply rediscover her beloved profession as a performer, Gaële invited choreographer Catherine Archambault to work in movement and create a custom choreography for each song of the third EP. The latter was once again done in collaboration with selected multidisciplinary artists such as actress and singer Kathleen Fortin and circus artists Valérie Doucet and William Underwood. The theme of this EP being to find the little light in the dark, it is quite natural that the Miss Neon collective added its talent of UV body paint to make the performers shine.