Winnipeg's koralee exudes talent.
She's modeled, been involved in the Namaste yoga series, hosted radio programs, acted for film, theatre and television and is now an accomplished singer/songwriter.
SCENE approached koralee to ask her about her nomadic lifestyle, yoga and where her multitude of artistic abilities come from.
You've worked in radio, film, theatre, as a yoga instructor, a model, and now find yourself going full force as a singer songwriter. How did you get to the music?
The music was actually first. There is a great picture of me as a three-year-old with a microphone from a tape recorder stuck firmly to my mouth as I warbled. As a kid, I wrote songs - I remember sitting in the living room at my Mom's house writing something about going up a mountain while strumming a guitar - and would also listen over and over again to certain songs and then sing them into a tape recorder. When I first started acting at 12 it was musical theatre. I came into straight drama and comedy and the modeling stuff later.
You seem to live the nomadic lifestyle, when do you actually find time to sit down and write some songs? (or simply practice yoga?)
Songs just come to me sometimes. I recently wrote a song in Vancouver I'm calling Bringing up Baby. I was watching the film with my best friend's two and a half year old daughter, whom I was babysitting, and when Katherine Hepburn said (and I'm paraphrasing, I believe) "But David, it was such a nice night for a drive," I got the chorus. My charge fell asleep and I took that time to write the rest of the song around it. I just make wherever I am work for me.
I've learned to do yoga anywhere, even on a bare floor, no mat, because mats are heavy and overweight charges are expensive.
What is the strangest audition you have ever had?
So, here's what the producers of Namaste don't want you to know: I had done maybe six yoga classes when I was asked to audition. It gets worse: the day of the audition there was a miscommunication and my agent told me that it was just a meeting, no yoga. So, imagine my dismay as I walked into the waiting room in tight jeans and full face makeup and before me was a sea of Lululemon. Fortunately for me, I just laughed it off and a very nice, small man said I could borrow his shorts after his audition (at one point they were considering male cast members). So I put them on, so grateful that I had shaved my legs. The producers knew I had been given incorrect info and were very relaxed about it. When I walked into the room, we all had a laugh about the bulge in the front of the shorts. Then, for the first time in about ten years, I did a headstand.
Kate Potter, who designed the show, wasn't keen on me in the beginning, as all the other women in the show were either instructors or long-time practitioners, but I threw myself into it. Sometimes doing two 1.5 hour classes a day (I've got a background as an athlete, as a soccer player and long distance runner) and working privately with her, so by the time we shot the show, a year later, I could keep up.
You have some powerful pipes, does practicing yoga help with the vocals?
Yes, absolutely. I also do Gabrielle Roth's 5 Rhythms Dance classes - I'm the woman bounding across the floor and throwing myself to the ground, covered in sweat - I do it to build cardio (and I love to dance) because I need a lot of air in there sometimes to get to the end of the phrase.
What can we look forward to from your performance at Aqua Books?
Probably a certain level of intimacy - as I'm from here, a lot of people in the audience will be family and friends I've had for almost my entire lifetime. I'll be singing Sister, a song about my older sister who passed when I was young. When my Mom hears it (she'll be in the audience) she cries. As I've never done a show here, I know that a lot of people aren't sure what to expect as no one is really sure what to call the music I do. I'm always interested to hear what genre people think I am, and I sometimes ask the audience.
What can we look forward to from you in the near future?
My Los Angeles manager has been in the music industry for a very long time, having worked with some big names. He's helped steer me in a direction that is independent and digital, in line with the industry reality. I recorded a song called On & On in Vancouver last month, and will be recording 3 more songs in September that I will release as a download only EP later this year.
I'm playing shows in Vancouver, Seattle and Los Angeles over the next few months (learning that planning a tour can be simple but not easy), a video shoot in NYC with a friend of mine, then more shows in Los Angeles before I head back to Winnipeg, just in time for snow.
If you could only practice one form of art, what would it be and why?
If you knew how stubborn I am, you would know I would refuse to do only one. But I would have to say music. I would just figure out how to stick all sorts of other art forms in my stage show.
Here's a sneak peak of what you can expect at Aqua Books.