Paige Warner is a singer-songwriter who favours soul-stirring lyrics paired with catchy melodies and hinted with contemporary R&B, yet each of her songs has its own unique sound. Paige is skilled with more than just her voice, however, and accompanies herself on piano, guitar, and ukulele. She enjoys holding an audience, from intimate cafes to crowds of thousands at concerts or festivals. Paige’s voice is known to captivate.
Warner's 5 song EP, “Revealed”, releases on May 11, 2018 on all major online platforms. I met with the talented singer-songwriter earlier this month for an interview.
1. How did you get to where you are now as an artist?
I was raised in a pretty musical home. My Dad was a musician, a bit of a music prodigy. I always had that influence around me. He also played a lot of jazz and blues around me. I think that made me realize that I really loved music. I always wanted to watch music documentaries and read music books and articles about musicians. I started trying out singing when I was around eight, doing little concerts in my room with my stuffed animals. They always loved me. After I got comfortable with my own voice then I decided to tell people. Even my family, I waited for a while to tell them that I loved singing. Because it felt so important to me, it felt like this big secret at first. A few years later my parents said I could go for voice lesions which was great and I really appreciated it.
I started picking up guitar and ukulele on my own in about grade nine. I played piano since I was a little kid. I had a really good music teacher when I switched to a public school after a private school. He really invested a lot in me. He put me as the front of a jazz band there which really helped me to gain confidence because I was signing in front of people with a backup band. About that time I started doing private gigs at small cafes and open mics. I was doing more singer-songwriter stuff at that point and then I started writing my own music in about grade 11. After I wrote my first song, I had a really good feeling. I liked writing. It was a good way to express myself.
2. In addition to being a singer-songwriter, and playing instruments, you also do some painting. Does that art form influence your music?
My art is good enough to hang on my wall, but not good enough to sell. I loved art since I was little. My Mom would set up a little plastic table for me and I would wear my little artist apron with the paintbrushes in the pockets, and I'd paint sunsets and green fields and happy things. I used to take art classes. I was never as good as anyone else in the class because I could never do the things that we were told to do. I just wanted to do my own thing. I started painting more in high school. I think a lot of my creativity energy really started to sprout in high school because I moved from a private school to a public school. That was a big change for me in my life. I'd been in private school with the same ten people since I was two. Sometimes I felt like I didn't have a choice to spread out because it was so cookie cutter. When I went to public school there were so many different types of people and I was so inspired. I saw that you could be different.
I'm by no means a professional painter. I use dollar store brushes and paints and cheap canvases, but I love it. I sit down and paint for like six hours sometimes. It clears my head when I get stressed. I think my painting and music are connected in the way that I express myself in them. Sometimes a painting won't be something directly from my life but it will express emotion. Some of my songs I write are the same. It's not something that's happened to me directly but it relates to an emotion I felt or a time in my life that I felt that emotion.
3. What is your typical day like?
I teach music five days a week. I get up and go to the gym. I love going to the gym. It gets my day started. I come home and work on my private music stuff for a while, which 80% of the time does not mean sitting down and writing. It's mostly emails, contacting people, social media, and the business side of things. I usually work, teaching music at studios, from 1-10. Depending on the day, if I'm working towards something that's two weeks down the line, I'll just sprint for the last week and get it done. I work really well in sprints and then have a whole day to take a break, by which I mean working on my music. If I have a gig coming up, when I get home I work on my set list. Lately I've been contacting a lot of radio stations and media people. I go to bed pretty late, usually around 2 am or 3 am and then I get up and do the whole thing again.
4. Who or what inspires you?
That's a long list. When I was younger, I singer I really looked up to was Eva Cassidy. She really integrated blues and then also did folk music in the same set. I love that she integrated genres. I love doing that. I love mixed genre songs. My Dad obviously inspired me. He was the one that encouraged me to go into music, which I'm really grateful for because a lot of parents wouldn't. Anyone that's successful in something that's not fully mainstream inspires me because they are staying true to who they are. When I feel most inspired is when I go and see the smallest live music shows. Like when I'm at my parents' cottage and we'll go to a local live show with maybe 10 people in the crowd and I'm watching a person who loves what they're doing. I love seeing people love what they do. Anyone that's going for their Plan A really inspires me.
5. Has it been hard to break into the music scene in KW, or the music scene in general?
I think when I was younger it was harder. I started gigging when I was about sixteen. Audiences really loved me, but it was hard to get other musicians to take me seriously. I was also really timid when meeting new people. I think that held me back a bit. I wasn't bold enough to just introduce myself. It was hard at first, but once I got more courage to talk to people it got easier. I make a lot of connections on social media. Following people in the area is great so I can see what everyone is up to and try and attend shows if I can.
6. You're a solo artist, but is there anyone you've ever wanted to work with?
I'm open. I like collaborating with anyone. Some day I'd like to have a backup band. I think you can get more vibey with a band. I know I'll have made it if I get to collaborate with Bruno Mars or Jacob Banks.
7. When people listen to your music, what do you want them to take away from it?
I want them to be able to connect with it. I want them to feel what I'm feeling. For example, one of my songs is called "String of Three". It's about an older woman who's depressed and something small happens to her and it brings her down because she's already depressed. Something like that, it's a specific story, but so many people suffer with mental illness. Someone could listen to that song and relate it to how they are feeling. I feel like music doesn't necessarily have to lift someone out of a dark place, but as long you're connecting with them, it helps.
8. What is your dream gig?
I like shows that have a lot of people but still feel intimate. I connect better with the artist when I'm watching shows like that and I want to play shows like that. For example, I like the Drake Underground. It has the stage but you still feel really connected to people. My dream line up right now would be Sabrina Claudio, Jacob Banks, Jessie Ware. They're all people who are current and who inspire me.
9. Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
Take the first step. That was hard for me at the start because I felt like it was this big thing. We always see this huge picture, but one step is huge, compared to no steps. Contact one person. If they say no, it's just a no, not a big deal. If you're super scared to do something, that's when you know you need to do it. I was in a few competitions when I was younger, and one of the competitions I totally blew it the first time around. I cried, ran off the stage. It was so bad. I told myself I was never coming back. When the time came back the next year to sign up, I knew I needed to do it again even though I was scared. The worst than can happen is that you mess up. Nobody cares. My Mom is very wise and she told me that the audience wants you to succeed. They want to enjoy the music as much as you want to perform it for them.
10. What's next for you? Any plans to tour your new EP?
I'm doing a local tour. I'm trying to connect with people locally and get as many Southern Ontario shows as possible. People can book me to perform as well. I'm trying to book every weekend or every other weekend in the summer. It will be updated on my website.
Interview by Glodeane Brown
Images provided by Paige Warner
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