They are the voices behind the voice on stage this Friday night for Karen’s ‘Femoir’ release concert, but both Becca Guilderson and Dominique Leblanc are musical powerhouses in their own right.
What is your own background?
BG: I was always interested in singing and performing. I left high school to attend Mount Allison University for vocal studies, before coming to Halifax where I participated in the first year of Neptune Theatre’s Music Theatre Performance Program. I have been based in Halifax for the past 11 years as a singer/actor/musician and have been fortunate to work with many local companies, including Neptune Theatre, Shakespeare by The Sea, and The Chester Playhouse. I also spent many years working at the Grafton Street Dinner Theatre as both a performer and as Music Director.
DL: I grew up in a very musical family. My dad plays every instrument under the sun and my mom plays the jukebox. So naturally, I love to pick up instruments and start jamming. Since I travel a lot for work and rarely stay in one place for a long time, wherever there is music it feels like home.
How long have you been singing?
BG: For as long as I can remember! However, I started studying and contemplating working in music seriously as a teenager in New Brunswick.
DL: My parents joke that I started singing before I could talk. In fact, I sang so much as a child that they had to make rules for “when and where Dominique was allowed to sing in the house.” As the years passed, I began training and even attended post secondary school for music and theatre. The house rules, however, still exist to this day.
What inspired you to start?
BG: I have always loved telling stories and being able to communicate with an audience through song.
DL: It was definitely ingrained in me from the beginning, but neither the spark nor love ever disappeared. I always knew that I wanted to work in the music and film industry, and so I made sure I worked hard to learn from the best.
Are they the same reasons you continue to sing today?
BG: Yes! It makes for such a unique and beautiful shared experience.
DL: Absolutely. What I love most about this field is that you are constantly learning. Whether it is technique, genres, songs, or meeting new people. Age doesn’t matter – I am always learning from the people around me.
What have been some career highlights?
BG: Pre-COVID-19, I was lucky to work in musical theatre a few times with Neptune Theatre (Cinderella and Peter Pan), and I have also spent lots of time over the past five years working with (singer/songwriter) Ian Sherwood, who is always such a treat to work with!
DL: I have been fortunate to have been involved from a very young age and have worked with some of the industry’s best people in both Canada and the USA. Keeping in touch with those who I have learned from and connected with is so important. I just returned home from performing in Toronto and it was an awesome show with even greater people, so that was pretty fun.
How do you know Karen, and in what capacity have you two worked together previously?
BG: Karen and I first worked together at The Theatre Arts Guild on The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and then got to keep the train rolling professionally on a show at The Chester Playhouse called The Marvellous Wonderettes. I am a huge Karen Myatt fan, and it is always a joy to be asked to perform with her in any capacity. Only the best experiences to report!
DL: Karen and I met when I was about 13 years old doing a show at Neptune Theatre where we played sisters. Naturally, we got along super well and ended up working together again when I was older. It is always a joy to work with good people that can make you laugh until you cry, especially during the long hour days. Karen is definitely one of those people.
What are your musical plans for the rest of 2021 and for 2022?
BG: I have started the ball rolling on some on my own solo music projects and there are whispers of theatre in the wings!
DL: Over the pandemic, I have been working on my (travel friendly) home recording studio. I also love writing in my downtime. In the new year, I will be expanding that and recording lots of new music.