(Scroll down for various versions of Karyn’s bio.)
VERSION 1 ~ The first person resume
I am a singer-songwriter from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Born in London, England, I was brought to Canada as an 18-month-old babe in arms. Besides a brief period in New Jersey during high school where I played trumpet in the marching band and more recently in the foothills of the Cariboo mountains of British Columbia — I have lived most of my life in and around Toronto Ontario.
This winter I released my fourth album “More Than A Hero”, most of which was written while I lived in BC eight hours north of Vancouver. I spent two years there nestled in a country house beside a river and two babbling creeks. Although I recently moved back to Toronto to reconnect with my musical roots, the influence of BC’s stunning mountainscape has had its impact on the new album.
My last album, Even Though The Sky Was Falling, generated substantial positive press. The Globe and Mail named the album’s lead-off number, “Be My Girl,” an Essential Track, Canwest gave the record a 4 star review, Montreal Gazette called me “charming” and La Presse told readers “not to be fooled by Ellis’ naïve-sounding vocals,” saying I am “a solid and insightful writer.”
My albums have been playlisted across CBC networks and have charted on campus radio, both nationally and regionally. My music has also been acclaimed and playlisted internationally in places such as Australia, China, Russia and across Europe.
I have shared stages with Jill Barber, Geoff Berner, Little Miss Higgins, Annabelle Chvostek, Justin Rutledge and Madison Violet, to name a few. I have appeared at the Vancouver International Writers Festival (“Torn From The Pages” showcase), New Waves Festival in conjunction with Luminato, Edmonton’s NextFest, Artswells, River & Sky Music Festival and Robson Valley Music Festival. I have toured nationally and in Europe several times and well as in Japan for the first time in 2013.
I have lent my voice to a number of recording projects including those by Treasa Levasseur, Rob Szabo, Evalyn Parry and Kerri Ough (The Good Lovelies).
Several of my songs have been placed in TV and films including “Robson Arms” (Omni Productions) aired on CTV, Bravo and the Comedy Network; UK filmmaker Gareth Griffith’s “Happy Fridays”, which appeared at Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner in 2008; and Stand Alone’s “What is Indie” by filmmaker Dave Cool distributed by the National Film Board of Canada.
VERSION 2 ~ The third-person
Guelph Mercury calls her “a revelation”. Globe and Mail says Karyn Ellis is a “must-see” songstress and has “a magical way with song.” Whether singing poignant tunes-of-the-heart or leading raucous sing-a-longs, Karyn is captivating, funny and smart in song and banter. And, that voice! Delicate and dynamic, she delivers thoughtful, crafted lyrics about every day wonders, beauty and hope.
To date Karyn has independently released four albums – her most recent one More Than A Hero came out this winter – and has played over five hundred live appearances. She engages audiences both across Canada and internationally: tens of thousands of views on youtube, her songs appearing on over 100 playlists on CBC Radio 3 and a healthy fan following on facebook and other social media sites.
It is in person where Karyn truly shines. Equally at home performing solo or backed by a band that ranges from a traveling duo to a twelve-piece ensemble with “community choir”, Karyn Ellis delivers a riveting show that enraptures audiences and brings them together. People who have seen her live consistently remark on her magnetic presence and the relate-ability of her songs. She is as comfortable on a festival mainstage as she is in front of a handful of people in someone’s living room or in a workshop setting.
Brought over as a babe-in-arms from the UK, Karyn grew up in Ontario in a household steeped in jazz and classical music. She studied two years of opera in University and through high school played trumpet in the marching band. Meanwhile she spent hours singing along to records by her favourite classic singer-songwriters such as Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, and she was also a devout fan of David Bowie and the Beatles. A wide range of influences gave her a solid, eclectic musical foundation and enriched her distinctive folk / roots style. Recently she forayed from big city Toronto, Ontario to move to the Cariboo in British Columbia, where she lived for two years in a country house beside a river and two babbling creeks; although now back in Toronto their rhythms are having their influence on her too.
LIVE SHOW HIGHLIGHTS
• Vancouver International Writers Festival – “Torn From The Pages” where she was invited to create and perform a new song at the festival based on a novel by one of the festival’s feature writers (Timothy Taylor – “Blue Light Project”.
• Bluebird North Concert Series (Toronto @ The Royal Conservatory, Vancouver @ The Roundhouse, Edmonton @ Haven Club)
• New Waves Festival at the Young Centre, in association with Luminato in Toronto.
• Homeroutes Concert Series, Two circuits: Manitoba and Alberta & Saskatchewan.
• VIA Rail Onboard Musician Program
• Concert Series, including Acoustic Harvest (Toronto ON), LiveWire @ Octave (Kingston ON), Dinner Concert Sessions @ Foster’s Inn (Stratford ON), The Box Salon (Toronto ON)
• Three full tours in Europe (Germany, France, Netherlands, Switzerland, Scotland.)
• Festivals, including Artswells (Wells BC), Robson Valley Music Fest (Dunster BC), Waynefest (Wayne AB) River and Sky Music Festival (River Valley ON).
• Showcases at NXNE (Toronto), OCFF (Kingston and Ottawa), NextFest (Edmonton)
OTHER CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
• Winner of the 2012 Canadian Social Media Blogging Challenge (Ariel Hyatt/Cyber PR and Songwriter’s Association of Canada.)
• Her song, Little Grey Sparrow, was selected out of over 700 entries nationwide as one of five finalists representing Ontario in CBC Radio 3’s “David Suzuki’s Playlist For the Planet” songwriting contest, 2010.
• Her song, Motorcycle Ride, received an Honourable Mention in the Artswells Songwriting Contest, 2010.
• Shortlisted for the OCFF’s Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award in 2009 and 2010 (administered by the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals and the Ontario Arts Council.)
• Voted “Most Original New Voice” in 2007 by Humber College songwriting faculty that included artists Danny Michel, Dahmnait Doyle and US songwriter, Jules Shear.
• Several of her songs have been placed in TV and films including “Degrassi: The Tenth Season” (Epitome Pictures); “Robson Arms” (Omni Productions); UK filmmaker Gareth Griffith’s “Happy Fridays”, appearing at Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner; and Stand Alone’s “What is Indie” by filmmaker Dave Cool distributed by the National Film Board of Canada.
• Three albums: Bird (2003), Hearts Fall (2005) and Even Though The Sky Was Falling (2009) through her label “Mathilde’s Home Productions”. Both Hearts Fall and Even Though The Sky Was Falling (ETSWF) were supported under Canada Council’s Specialized Music Recording Grant. Her upcoming fourth recording: Boat On The Water [working title] will be recorded in Toronto in the summer and fall of 2012 and released early next year.
• Even Though The Sky Was Falling, has had significant CBC airplay and reached #6 on CIUT (Toronto) as well as an appearance on the national Top-10 Folk/Roots/Blues chart. It received excellent reviews, including four and four-and-a-half star reviews in Canada and northern Europe. It appeared on CHARTattack Staff Top 10 Album Lists and Penquin Eggs Magazine DJ’s Top 10.
• Her second album, Hearts Fall, spent six months on various campus radio charts across Canada including five weeks on CIUT Toronto top-30 topping at 3 and reaching the national monthly campus Top-50 and folk/roots/blues Top-20 charts.
• Karyn has also lent her voice to a number of recording projects including those by Treasa Levasseur, Rob Szabo, Evalyn Parry and Kerri Ough (The Good Lovelies).
VERSION 3 – KARYN ELLIS – EVEN THOUGH THE SKY WAS FALLING – Press Release
Like many musicians who have achieved critical success only to find themselves just as broke and no farther ahead than they were when they started, Karyn Ellis was getting ready to throw in the towel on the music business and get a real job. Just then, an envelope showed up from the Canada Council—a cheque for a hard-to-get composition grant she had forgotten she’d even applied for.
So began a series of events that not only kept Ellis making music, but resulted in her going all out — recording a breakthrough album that pairs her quirky songwriting and sensual, naïve vocals with a cornucopia of alluring production elements: strings, horns, choirs and glockenspiels, just to name a few. Suddenly, instead of feeling isolated in the business, Karyn Ellis found herself surrounded by exceptional musical friends: Evalyn Parry, John Millard, Amy Lang (Hidden Cameras) and Brian Kobayakawa (Creaking Tree) just to name a few. And instead of scrambling to pay for recording costs, Ellis had money from both the Council and FACTOR, allowing her to fund the 16-member musical extravaganza. She even had her coffers topped up with donations from fans. The resulting album, Even Though the Sky Was Falling, is a celebration of the beauty and redemption to be found in chaotic times like those Ellis had been going through in her own life.
One song was written while a friend was dying of cancer. Another was inspired by watching a series of creepy CSI episodes. Three tracks were penned while Ellis sat in the parking lot of a major festival, bummed not to be on stage performing … but none of this is obvious from listening. “Beauty,” which is dedicated to the memory of Ellis’ friend Joceyln Porter, is a simple, sprightly number filled with uplifting lyrics like “I am filled with joy”—complete with bouncy trombone lines, “doo doo doo” choruses and singing toddlers. “Be My Girl”—the CSI song—is a plaintive reflection on breaking free from the “beautiful victim” role that women are so often cast in. “Bitter Grasses,” one of the spurned-by-a-festival numbers, sounds to all the world like a spurned-by-a-lover song with a bit of a vintage country surf feel to it. The diverse sounds are all woven together into a cohesive package with help from award-winning co-producer Don Kerr, best-known for his work with Ron Sexsmith.
Visit Karyn’s youtube channel:
VERSION 4, 5, 6 and 7- Shorties
Guelph Mercury calls her “a revelation”. Globe and Mail says Karyn Ellis is a “must-see” songstress and has “a magical way with song.” Whether singing poignant tunes-of-the-heart or leading raucous sing-a-longs, this gentle powerhouse of a songwriter is captivating, funny and smart in song and banter. And, that voice! Delicate and dynamic, she delivers thoughtful, crafted lyrics about every day wonders, beauty and hope.
Karyn was twice nominated for the Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award (Ontario Arts Council) and her acclaimed recordings are regularly heard on the CBC. Live, Karyn delivers a riveting show that enraptures audiences and brings them together. Even the shyest audience members find themselves humming along during her friendly – and not infrequent – calls for participation.
Brought over as a babe-in-arms from the UK, Karyn grew up in Ontario in a household steeped in jazz and classical music. She studied two years of opera in University and through high school played trumpet in the marching band. Meanwhile she spent hours singing along to records by her favourite classic singer-songwriters such as Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, and she was also a devout fan of David Bowie and the Beatles. A wide range of influences gave her a solid, eclectic musical foundation and enriched her distinctive folk / roots style.
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Guelph Mercury calls her “a revelation”. Globe and Mail says Karyn Ellis is a “must-see” songstress and has “a magical way with song.” Whether singing heartfelt tunes or leading raucous sing-a-longs, Karyn is engaging, funny and smart and her fine acoustic guitar playing complements her sweet, dynamic voice. A modern folk darling, her thoughtful lyrics are about every day wonders, beauty and hope. Calgary Herald gives four stars to Karyn’s newest album, Even Though The Sky Was Falling, adding: “This is a woman with stories.”
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Karyn Ellis is a gentle powerhouse of a songwriter. Playful, bittersweet and made with the finest ingredients of Folk, Country, Pop and even a trace of Jazz. Listen and be fortified.
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Playful and passionate, this modern folk darling has “a magical way with song… Leonard Cohen has no copyright on the word hallelujah.”(Globe and Mail)
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