French Press aka Chantel Emond (courtesy French Press)
I worked six nights a week, but it was really only for three hours. Because I had a lot of time to myself, I started thinking about songwriting more. It was a good place to be isolated a little bit.
—Chantel Emond, musician
Before she reinvented herself as indie pop chanteuse French Press, Chantel Emond was headed on a very different musical path.
The singer/songwriter got her start performing as a jazz musician in Toronto, where she studied music at Humber College. It was also there she hooked up with The O'Darling -- a buzzed-about orchestral alt-pop collective that was named one of the "top 10 unclaimed treasures of 2009" by the The Globe and Mail.
Despite making some waves in indie circles, The O'Darling disbanded in 2010.
"I think we all wanted to have our voices heard and we weren't mature enough to know how to share," Emond says. "But when it did fall apart, I felt empowered to flesh out my ideas on my own."
With her newfound independence, Emond jumped on an opportunity to sing six nights a week in Thailand and Morocco, spending most of 2010 abroad.
"I worked six nights a week, but it was really only for three hours. Because I had a lot of time to myself, I started thinking about songwriting more. It was a good place to be isolated a little bit."
Armed with a bunch of new songs, Emond opted to settle in her hometown of Winnipeg instead of retuning to Toronto.
"I knew I would have a long path ahead of me before I was noticed or acknowledged in Toronto. I knew if I came home, it would be to a more supportive community. My friends and family are here, Manitoba Music is here. I felt like I'd be able to work less and focus on my music more."
Now, Emond is working on committing her infectious indie pop tunes -- and her magnetic voice -- to record.
"I'm looking to do an EP because I'm a believer in less is more. I want it to be concise and the highest quality possible."
"Plus," she laughs, "my attention span can be quite short."
French Press plays Ozzy's on Nov. 7 as part of Manitoba Music's New Music Wednesdays.