We have a new Spotlight – Christee Palace. We go to spend a little time chatting with Christee about her music, inspirations and new release Falling For You which is now available. Currently hailing from Toronto, this talented young artist is on the rise and we are excited to see her grow.
You are based out of Toronto now, but are originally from Windsor, tell us a bit what it was like growing up there?
Windsor will always be my home. I grew up in a very musical family there – my dad owns a music conservatory, and taught me pretty much everything I know. Music is just normal to me. It was always around when I was growing up, and I truly grew to love and appreciate it so much. I started singing and playing the piano when I was about 3, and started performing when I was about 7 years old. My experience in Windsor was so wonderful—we have such an incredible music scene there, and the support I have received from my hometown has been unimaginable.
You come from a musical family. Your father, an internationally recognized musician, even opened his own music academy. Did you feel pressured into going into a musical path because of that? Are there any other family members that are musical?
Since music was such a huge part of my dad’s life, I think it started out as him sharing his passions with us when we were young. Of course, as we started getting older, going to music lessons felt like more of a chore than anything—I just liked singing and writing songs –but I feel like most young kids don’t enjoy practicing piano (haha). As I got older, the music sort of became this creative outlet for me that I couldn’t stop turning to.
I come from a family of 6 – 2 brothers and an older sister. Funnily enough, I’m the only one out of the 4 of us that pursued music as a career, but my dad’s side of the family is pretty much all musical. My aunts, uncles, and cousins are involved in music in some capacity. It’s pretty neat. We’re known for music back in Windsor. 🙂
I know that Avril Lavigne’s “Let Go” was a major influence on you growing up. What are some other musicians that influenced you growing up? What are some contemporary artists you are a fan of?
When I was really young, I listened to not only pop music but rock music (my dad is a huge rock guy!) so a lot of my influences come from rock believe it or not. We used to listen to the Beatles, Queen, Journey, Elton John, Heart.. there’s so many. Aside from that, I loved pop music. And yes, Avril will always be my number 1, but I also loved Amanda Marshall, Demi Lovato, Pink, Hayley Williams, Fefe Dobson, Kelly Clarkson – I loved the artists that were pop, but with a rock edge. I always gravitated to the strong, empowering female artists with not only incredible songs, but incredible vocals. Right now, I’d say my biggest influences are Halsey, Lennon Stella, Bea Miller, Lights, Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift. I love them all for different reasons.
In 2013, you are invited to the International Children’s Games at the WFCU Centre. Was that your first big performance? Was that daunting?
My first major performance was actually when I turned 19 years old. I was asked to be in a production called “California Dreamin,’”which was a 60s music tribute show. I was the youngest one, and performed on the Colosseum stage in Windsor. It was huge for me. I knew then that I loved to sing and perform, but it really wasn’t until the Children’s Games performance that I knew I wanted to pursue music as my career.
That experience was still to date one of the biggest audiences I’ve ever performed in front of. I believe there was 8,000 people there, and it was televised in over 30 countries. I was so scared (to be honest, I almost didn’t take the opportunity because I was so nervous), but I made myself. To this day, I remember this feeling that I never had before during that performance – You could say it was euphoria. I came off the stage after performing and ran to hug my dad and started bawling my eyes out. I told him a few days after that that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life, and he was so supportive.
You released your debut EP Alive Today, while still in Windsor, and then relocated to Toronto. What was it like making the decision to move?
Windsor was so good to me. I had so many wonderful opportunities there, and so many “firsts” like my first EP. I was so fortunate to work with not only my dad as my producer to start, but a Windsor legend named Marty Bak who will always be one of my favourite producers. My first EP was recorded at his studio in Windsor called “SLR Studios.” They truly helped to shape me into the artist I am, and I don’t think I would have had the confidence to move and take my career to the next level had it not been for me working with them.
For me, the end result was always to move to Toronto. I knew I would one day, but I didn’t know when. To be honest, it was sort of a last-minute decision. Something hit me one day and I knew I needed to get out of Windsor and be in Toronto. I had the talk with my dad and family, and within a couple months I moved. It was pretty fast.
Your big hit, “Harden My Heart” came out, and was quickly followed by another big hit “Love Me In The Dark.” What was the sense of accomplishment like, and how did it feel to be “making it”?
“Harden My Heart” will always be so special to me. It was the first single I had after moving to Toronto, and honestly it was my source of strength. I wrote it as an anthem for myself, because I really felt I couldn’t be brave on my own at the time. Everything just kind of fell into place after moving and releasing the first two singles. I was ecstatic. I felt like I was finally showing people who I was, and what I could do. When you start to make waves, that’s a pretty awesome feeling.
Your hard work, pays off, and you were asked to open at the Jim Beam Indie Awards! Tell us a bit about how you found out about that, and how it made you feel. Then, the mic-drop of the year, you were also an award winner that night!
Haha! Well, I actually applied to the Jim Beam National Talent Search competition that was put on by Canadian Music Week and Indie88. It was one of the first major things I did when I moved to Toronto. I told myself to take whatever opportunities I could. I made it into the contest, and ended up winning the competition. The prize was to perform at the Indie Awards, and I received an award as the winner of the contest! I didn’t know that was going to happen, so I was equal parts shocked and elated. Also, shameless plug, Canadian Music Week has provided me with so many incredible opportunities. I’m so grateful to Danya and Neill Dixon for their endless support of me. They’re wonderful human beings.
In November 2019, you opened for Walk Off the Earth. What was it like opening for such a recognized international name like them? Did you know them beforehand? How did that all come to be?
This was an experience I will never forget. This opportunity came to be from a couple members of my team at the time who had a connection to the band. It was such a perfect fit, because they were actually performing in Windsor for one of their tour dates. Since that’s my hometown, it was honestly just such a great match. I ended up opening for them in both Windsor and Kitchener. It was such a humbling experience. They are an incredible band, and I was just so grateful for the opportunity.
Earlier this year you dropped the single “Danger.” Right off the bat, that opening…you know you are in for a great time. What was the process like behind writing that?
You are so sweet!! Well, this song was written after a relationship I was in had ended. The song takes you on the emotional journey I was on throughout that relationship. Funny, the music video we made for that song was shot during quarantine. My boyfriend and I live together, and instead of pressing pause on all my plans, we decided to go through with it anyways. Honestly, the video turned out better than I could have imagined it. Everything lined up from the weather that day, to the concept of the video.
Your new single, “Falling For You,” comes out today. I’ve listened to it a bunch and it has such an infectious, high energy to it. The only way I can describe it is “driving with the windows open, blasting music on a road trip energy.” Tell us a bit more about your inspiration for it?
Oh my goodness, well that’s great news!! Haha!
I wrote this song right around the time that I had been promoting “Harden My Heart” believe it or not. Such a contrast in songs. This song is about my boyfriend who started out as my photographer in Toronto for my music projects, and things just sort of happened. I wrote it about him, and the fact that I was not only open to loving again, but I was actually the one to pursue it. He completely changed everything for me. I’m so excited for people to hear the story. 🙂
With 2020 closing, and 2 singles released, can we expect any more surprises from you? A new album perhaps?
Ohhhh you might be on to something there!! 😉 With everything going on right now, nothing is for certain, but I will tell you that the music will not stop.
As a younger, female musician, what are some words of advice you would love to give, or wish that someone had told you when you were first starting out?
The one piece of advice I would give would be to not compare yourself to anyone else. Be you, and be on your own path. It’s so easy to look around at what everyone else is doing, and how far they’ve come, but it drives you crazy. Work hard, and stay focused on your own path. Things will always work out.
Obviously, this summer was a bit more unique than others, what were some of the ways that you kept busy during Covid?
Very unique to say the least!
I continued to write, and plan my new music releases. I also found that I became more connected to myself if that makes sense. The break from live music and everyday life that we are so used to allowed me to just be, and not stress out over the future. It was a strange but beautiful thing.
With things gradually reopening what are some of your local bars/restaurants/hangouts you are especially looking forward to getting back to? Any shoutouts?
Honestly, aside from restaurants that I love and miss (SHAMLESS shoutouts – Kinton Ramen, Guu, Shameful Tiki, La Carnita, Bar Chief, and SO MANY OTHERS) I just miss all the music venues. There have been some prestigious venues in the city that have closed down, and it’s heartbreaking. I just can’t wait to get back to performing normally, and I wish all of those venues the best moving forward.
What do you want to say to your fans?
You’ll be seeing more of me. 🙂
Spotlight – Christee Palace is a wrap! Big thanks to Christee for taking the time to chat with us.
Make sure you check out the new release Falling For You which is now available.
Keep up with all things Christee Palace right here.
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