Local singer Randi Boulton writes and sings with a striking sincerity, boldness and a compelling accessibility that is pretty hard to find these days.
Her music is rich, exciting and powered by her amazing voice – and fans will be flocking to her CD release June 6th at the Red Deer College Arts Centre.
Showtime is 7 p.m.
She last performed there during her release of Sometimes Life back in the fall of 2012, and there is plenty of anticipation about her new tunes featured on Randi With an ‘I’ – a project which promises more of the profound artistry Boulton is known for while being energized by tunes exuding a more light-hearted nature.
Even the mid-tempo cuts still have plenty of groove, she adds with a chuckle.
“We’re still in the crunch,” she explains during a recent chat a couple of weeks back. But in spite of the close proximity of the release concert, Boulton couldn’t be happier with how the project has taken shape.
“I think this time I’m more open,” she explains of the new CD.
“Last time I was so particular. Everything had to be so perfect, I kind of lost myself in it a little bit,” she explains of her more relaxed approach of letting the creative juices flow. “This time I’m just going with my gut. I’m also really making a statement – this is who I am; I know exactly who I am.”
Still, it was a bit of a struggle finalizing some of what would be on the CD. Boulton and her producer Russell Broom (Jann Arden) didn’t always agree – at first – with which tunes fit best. But in the end, both are super pleased with the project. And Boulton admits that a bit of heat generated over what landed on the disc turned out to be in her best interest. “I think it’s important to have that – and his honesty is very valued.”
Along with her talent, Boulton has been blessed with a charming, warm personality to match. She has a great sense of humour, and she’s a delight to watch on stage – not just for her vocal abilities but for how she connects with audiences.
She’s also well-known to local folks via a stream of community connections and gigs – her dedication to honing her craft is really second to none. Lately, besides laying down tracks for Randi With An ‘I’, she’s also had some golden opportunities to perform with folks like Tom Cochrane and Johnny Reid.
She also came in the top 16 in the CBC Searchlight Contest for Canada’s Best New Artist, thanks to the voters. And word is spreading about her music.
“When I play a show now, they sing along– they know the words,” she explains with unmistakable gratitude. Having a CD nailed down already, plus the other successes have bolstered her stature as an artist significantly. “It’s really given me a platform.”
Back to Randi With An ‘I’ – Boulton describes it as more upbeat than previous recordings. “With Sometimes Life there were a few sentimental songs that were really special, and they had their place for sure. But this one, I wanted it to be more fun.”
Boulton originally got in touch with Broom through her drummer, and the two clicked almost immediately. As an avid fan of Arden’s over the years, Boulton had a deep appreciation for Broom’s approach to production.
Looking back, music has always been a passion. “My mom says I was singing before I was talking.” She also loved the piano early on. “That’s what I was drawn to. I was also really a shy girl, so I think music helped me come out of my shell, too.”
Besides being a natural on the piano, her compelling vocal strengths, which run the gamut from tender and sweet to strong and gritty, have always stood out and steadily attracted a loyal legion of fans. She started garnering serious attention at 12 years of age, when she landed first prize in a talent show with her mom.
Boulton later won a songwriting contest at 14. That led into being selected to play for Showcase ‘98 in Edmonton.
These days, Boulton is comfortable in her own skin and that sense of authenticity is reflected in her music. It was also felt in her first project, Just Remember Who You Are, which was released just over a decade ago.
Moving forward, she has a busy summer ahead with bookings plus a stint at Westerner Days in July.
She is grateful for any opportunity to hit the stage, and it’s clear she’s found her calling. “When you are a musician, you are wired differently. This is the path I’m supposed to be on – I always loved music, but I didn’t know it would be a career. And in the darker times, it’s the only thing that would brighten things.”
Meanwhile, she’s always been sincere in her belief that a musical gift is to be shared. Songwriting itself is a joy, and Boulton relishes the opportunity to share so much of herself with listeners via that craft. It takes a careful looking inside and weaving of real life into the mix.
“There are so many levels to human emotion – and in order to be a good songwriter and to actually tap into those, you have to experience it.”
Tickets for the concert are available at the Black Knight Inn Ticket Centre by calling 403-755-6626 or by visiting www.blackknightinn.ca.