Michelle Laine will be taking the stage at The Krossing Aug. 24th.
Laine, who grew up in Drayton Valley, decided to make Red Deer her home a year after she graduated from the music program at Red Deer College.
Music has been an interest of hers since she was very young, her parents having had quite a large influence on her journey into the music industry.
“My mom was really musical and so was my dad, so it was just in the family. My mom had a karaoke machine that I would always play with and I would always play her guitar when I was really young,” said Laine.
Around the time she was 12 or 13, she started wanting to play the guitar more seriously, so her mom taught her a couple of chords and away she went.
“I just started spending hours and hours in my room, learning songs and learning how to play the guitar,” she said, adding that she started playing the guitar before she knew she could sing.
When she was 16 her mom asked her if she had tried singing, and after that she decided to give that route a go.
Fast forward to today. Laine performs quite a bit around the local music scene, and can be seen at Roosters quite a bit, along with the Ross Street Patio in the summer months.
“I feel like summer for most musicians is a time that all these gigs come out of the woodwork and there are opportunities for you to play markets or the Ross Street area.”
She said in the winter she sticks to more pubs and has played Fionn MacCools a few times and used to play there in Edmonton, too.
Laine would fit her style of music into the roots and folk genres, but she also does quite a bit of jazz.
“I do jazz gigs on the side when I can get in with a band and I do incorporate jazz into my own music,” she said.
Laine received her music diploma from Red Deer College, completing a two year program.
She had to do a prerequisite beforehand, however, as she was a self-taught musician with no training or theory under her belt.
“When you take the music program you have to be at a certain level in theory and training to actually be accepted into the program, so they offer a prep program and that’s what I took because I needed to get up to speed with all the other musicians.”
She’s currently been working full-time and plays music as much as she can, an influence she can thank her family for.
As mentioned, Laine’s mother and father are both very musical, with her mom more into country, playing and singing since she was 14 or 15 and her father having sung in choirs his whole life. “They’re very supportive of music and what I do, and definitely have helped me get to where I am.”
Although Laine wouldn’t consider herself a full-time songwriter, she still has originals that she puts into her set, usually jazz songs that she’s written. “Depending on the venue and the gig is what I decide to play,” she said.
Laine mostly does covers of various artists, including KT Tunstall, Tracy Chapman, Ray Charles, Amy Winehouse and more.
“I use what’s called a loop pedal. It’s basically a way for me to have back-up while I’m playing without actually having anybody be there,” she said, adding that it gives it more of an atmosphere and provides more more of a full sound.
She will also be coming out with a promotional video soon to display what she does as far as using her loop pedal.
In the future, Laine said she’d love to record one day.
She said music is her passion and it’s a purpose for her in life as well.
“I love playing a song that somebody knows and you can just tell on their face that they’re just like, ‘Oh that’s so cool, they’re playing that song’. I just like the joy it brings people.”
She said she also loves keeping ‘live’ music alive as she feels like nowadays it’s not easy to find it.
“You go to a bar and they’re playing stuff over the speakers and it’s not like it was. It’s not like you go and you see a live band every weekend or every night so I just like keeping that alive in our culture and our society.”