Entertainment Local

Oro-Medonte artist performs in Barrie Dec. 11

By Susan Doolan, Special to Postmedia Network

Oro-Medonte Township native Chantal Preston, who recently released her first album, will perform at Unity Market in downtown Barrie on Sunday, Dec. 11. DARREN EAGLES/PHOTO

Oro-Medonte Township native Chantal Preston, who recently released her first album, will perform at Unity Market in downtown Barrie on Sunday, Dec. 11. DARREN EAGLES/PHOTO

Chantal Preston released her first album, Call You Later, last month after years of songwriting and performing.

She held a CD-release show earlier this month in Barrie.

The Oro-Medonte artist hopes it will be the beginning of a longterm career.

"I'm really excited to release this EP and excited to see what people think of it ," said Preston, adding that all of the songs were written a year and a bit ago and the title song, Call You Later, is the newest - it was written not long after last year's Boots and Hearts festival.

The album is in response to people who encouraged her along the way, pushed her at times, and told her to keep working toward what she wanted to do. It was her audiences who also told her they liked her original material better than the cover songs she was performing at area shows.

She kept her focus what she needed to improve rather than dwell on her weaknesses. The past three years have marked a more concentrated effort to hone her craft and it shows with the professionally recorded EP.

Her inspiration is country music, a genre she would like to break into, but her songwriting also reflects the wide variety of musical genres she enjoys listening to.

"I never wanted to stick to one style of music." she said. "I like everything and I listen to everything, and I love to experiment. I want to get to the point where I am writing songs for other people as well as for myself. That would be a dream come true. " Preston, who currently lives in Oro-Medonte, was born in Winnipeg and grew up in Barrie. She started writing poems at the age of 12. The poems progressed to songs and Preston tried them out singing in her bedroom. More poems and singing ensued.

By age 15, she had a handle on the structure of a song and, acquired her first guitar. She loved the sound of the instrument and kept looking at them in a local pawn shop. She asked for guitar for her birthday.

While Preston has taken some formal guitar and voice lessons, she is the only one of two older siblings to go into music. She received a lot of support from her parents.

At age 17, she started performing mostly cover tunes at first before adding in the occasional original song. She started out singing at high school, Nouvelle-Alliance, and then moved into restaurants and bars. Her father organized her first gig and then she started booking her own shows.

"In high school, I did some performing, someone else's songs, but didn't pursue it much until after high school ," she said. "I probably wrote 50 songs before I really saw a change in my structure and started to get good at it. I was writing all the time and that's what brought me to where I'm at right now."

While songs about relationships are among her favourites to write, she also writes about her life, coming into her own and learning who she is. Sometimes it's a fun, lighthearted song -Jeep Wave, for example, was about her first vehicle, an old jeep she inherited from her brother. She also likes to write moody and introspective songs but always with a good melodic hook people will remember.

While writing occupies most of her time, she enjoys long-distance running - nothing formally organized or competitive. She is also into training horses. She fell in love with riding and horsemanship at the age of 12.

"I can't do it a lot right now ," said Preston. "I really like riding and training them, get a really big thrill out of working with them -teaching them the ground work, how to respond, how to go from walk to a trot to a canter and I love jumping too."

To hear a sample of her music, see www.chantalpreston. com. Her debut CD, Call You Later, is available on iTunes.

Preston plays the Unity Market, 25 Toronto St., Barrie, on Dec. 11 at 1 p. m. Rebecca Rain is also performing.

For more information, call 705-737-5208. 

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