RAC favourite Roxanne Potvin is back with a brand-new single, “Jump In”. With a host of Juno and Maple Blues Award nominations already under her belt, the talented singer/songwriter’s sunny new track is just a taste of the new music she has planned for 2021.
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Roxanne’s longest relationship to date has been with music. The multi-talented artist and RAC alum has almost two decades of experience, with an in-depth catalogue of music to back it up. After operating independently for the majority of her career, she signed with Camino Music in 2018 for the release of All It Was. With four albums on Spotify, eight award nominations to her name, and new music in the works, the ever-evolving artist sat down with RAC so that we could get to the heart of the inner workings of her musical love-life.
For Roxanne, music has always been a family affair. The 38-year-old Gatineau-born singer was raised in a household known for spontaneously breaking into song at family gatherings. “We’d sing carols around the piano, and the moms and aunts would ask the children to show off their budding talent,” she explains. “It was very annoying”, she adds, laughing. “All that to say that music always played an important role in our lives. I remember I really wanted to sing well as a child, and I would sing along with songs on the radio”. After receiving a guitar for her 14th birthday, Roxanne’s songwriting journey had finally begun.
Like so many before her, The Beatles played a big part in Roxanne’s creative development. “I was all about The Beatles when I got my first guitar,” she explains, “and they are still my biggest influence. I love to analyze their songs and try to learn from them in every way.” Perhaps most apparent is her love for early blues and R&B from the 50s and 60s. “I’ve also been hugely influenced by Dinah Washington, Freddy King, Jimmy Reed, Chuck Berry, Aretha Franklin, among so many others. I was always drawn to the songs of that era.” Roxanne’s original songs like “I Know It’s Good” boast warm soulful melodies and vintage sonic elements that reflect these influences, proving just how important it is to know your music history.
Breaking down her musical process, Roxanne says she’s proudest of the tracks she’s had a hand in producing. “I’m happiest with the ones I was most hands-on with on the production side, from the demos right up until I handed them over to the mix and mastering engineers. I feel like that process helped me ‘find my sound’ ultimately”. In 2018, Roxanne wrote a batch of songs, all of which were shelved except for “Jump In”. “It ended up being the only one I liked enough to finish and release,” she explains, “so we released it as a single in 2020; it’s about facing fears and going after something– or someone– we want”.
Roxanne has been making her albums almost entirely from home since 2015. “After the songs are written, I make demos for them that allow me to get a clear picture of the sounds and the parts. Piece by piece, I replace those parts with actual talented musicians who can record their parts from home. Then, they send them over to me, I fly them into the session, and I build the songs like that.” Despite her DIY ethics, Roxanne has been nominated for a whopping seven Maple Blues Awards and earned herself a nomination for a coveted Juno Award. She is quick to point out, however, that awards are not her musical motivator: “I haven’t thought much about awards or set them as a goal,” she explains, “I just try to do the best I can with each project, and if that results in some kind of recognition, that’s extra candy”.
When asked about her relationship with music: “It is my longest”, she says with a laugh. “I’ve been all-in with making music since I was probably 19 or 20, and I’m turning 39 this month. It’s a great thing to have a purpose like that because, through it, I’ve learned a lot of lessons in all areas of life too”. Roxanne is currently working on new music for 2021, so it looks like the love affair isn’t ending anytime soon.