can we talk Publisher Sue Hodgson talks with Jazz Singer Edie DaPonte
With your family roots in Portugal, you’ve always had a strong connection to Fado, or fate, as it can be translated into a genre of Portuguese music originating in Lisbon. I’ve read that this music was born 200-300 years ago and sung by Portuguese seafarers. How has this influenced your style as a musician today? My parents emigrated from Portugal to Canada and I grew up listening to their vinyl records of the legendary Singer, Amalia Rodrigues from Lisbon. For sure I can still hear her voice in my head when I'm singing. She sings with a striking emotional tone that touches your heart. I try to sing from that emotional place when delivering a song. Influenced by Fado music but drawn to the Brazilian Portuguese Bossa Nova, I found my real voice there. Ironically, it was my Spanish friend, Rafael Gonzalez from Chile, who encouraged me to sing the Bossa. It's fragile but powerful, sexy yet solemn and highly accessible to the listener. I enjoy singing in English and other languages too but Portuguese is effortless and natural for me.
Your affinity to music started at the young age of 15 playing in various bands but over the years the corporate world took its place as your career and then in 2001, you and your husband decided to move to Victoria. What prompted the move and your encouragement to allow yourself back into your love of music?
We both turned 40 that year and decided we would stop "making a living" and "start making a life". Ontario had its beauty but we had a desire to live on the west coast and near the ocean. Living here opened up exciting new possibilities and that included pursuing our passions. It was magical and it still is. We both love our town of Sidney and the community of people here! What do you personally consider to be the decisive moments in your music career? My friend and champion is Donna Phillips. She and her husband, Bill, own the Beacon Landing in Sidney. Several years ago, she encouraged me to reignite my singing career from its dormancy. After mentioning to her my love of singing as a young woman, she suggested I pick a date and perform in the lounge. I responded "But you've never heard me sing?" She said "I know you'll be great!". From that first show with my friend Rafael Gonzalez on guitar, I've been finding my voice again. I've also learned to find musicians with all the right elements: talent, professionalism and generosity of spirit. I am so grateful for Donna and Bill for providing me with such a beautiful venue and foundation for sharing my music. Another decisive moment was when I started singing with Victoria musician, Joey Smith. An enormous talent, he is a friend and mentor who encourages, coaches and supports me while providing me with total freedom of expression when I'm singing. He also makes it so much fun. We both appreciate the importance of entertaining the audience and making it all about them. How do you balance your music with other obligations – family and full time job? Music is only one aspect of my life. Everything has a special place and I try to wake up early and stay organized and focused on enjoying the process. Every day begins and ends with walking my wonderful goofy dogs, Dixie and Vinnie. During the weekdays I focus on my job on the road as a medical representative. I try to do something every day which contributes to improving my music – singing and vocalizing or thinking up new songs while I'm driving up island. I take one day a week for family, friends, rest and play. It seems like a busy schedule on the outside but I love my life and I'm doing what I like to do at the pace I want to do it. I’ve recently watched a movie called Grace Unplugged; a coming of age movie about a young Christian teenager following her music career in the wake of her father’s deep opposition. How relevant is it to chase ones dreams and passion in life?