When vocalist Meg Warren moved on from singing in the classical vein and wanted to craft her own music, a powerful new source of shimmering pop was launched in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
The result is Repartee, who released their debut CD, All Lit Up, this past April.
They perform June 7th at Bo’s Bar and Grill.
Fuelled by catchy melodies, fantastic production and sharp songwriting, All Lit Up is a blend of personal tracks about life experiences, resonating with the band’s live energy and visual presentation.
The CD is, for certain, aptly named – virtually every song shines with an innate luminosity.
From the absolutely irresistible opening title track to Die B4 You, there is a immaculate production quality to these bright, sunny but very textured tunes.
Their style is reminiscent of the finest the glitzy decade of the 80s had to offer musically, but there is a richness and modern edge there as well.
Miracle reflects that sophisticated approach to crafting a tune – from top to bottom, the production is meticulous, the instrumentation superb and of course Warren’s stellar voice glides over it all with charm and expression. Indeed – it’s almost the perfect pop package.
“In general, we like to think that we’ve grown as a lot as writers, producers, players,” Warren said.
“While many of the songs pull from different influences and inspirations, I feel like this album is more cohesive than our last recordings. I’m super proud of where we are and how far we’ve come together.”
After enlisting the talents of some of Newfoundland’s greatest rock and pop musicians (guitarist Robbie Brett, drummer Nick Coultas-Clarke and keyboardist Josh Banfield), Repartee went from playing the bars of their home province, to sharing the stage with the likes of LIGHTS, Tegan and Sara, Dragonette, Arkells and more.
“We began touring in 2011 and that’s really what I consider to be the official start of the band,” she said. “That’s when our first record came out and we began touring and all of that.”
As for All Lit Up, Warren explained that the project was a wrap but once they went from being a band on their own to being under the cover of a label, executives wanted a re-recording of the tunes.
“We trusted the team, so when they suggested re-recording everything – it was initially difficult for us to wrap our minds around it. But because it was coming from them, and from a place of knowing they really believed in the band and in the songs, we wanted to put our best foot forward.
“They wanted the production quality to be as good as it possibly could be.”
For Warren, classical vocal training proceeded any dreams about making it big in the pop world. Before that, music was indeed a part of family life with both of her parents performing in a local town band.
There was also lots of involvement in church choirs, community choirs and music festivals, too.
Eventually, Warren had her sights set on a career as an opera singer.
“I loved performing growing up, and I would perform as much as possible.” There were distinct influences that she was tuning into as well during those years, including pop singer Gwen Stefani, who Warren said continues to show such a fabulous range and versatility with her voice.
As for Warren, her own journey continued to take shape in those earlier years – she took part in a local challenge to write and record a single album in just one month – and over the years, she opted to pursue a more pop-oriented course artistically.
“I definitely always had an interest in pop,” she added, noting that when she started writing her own music it was kind of all over the place stylistically. But with the addition of the others in the band, a distinct style did indeed begin to crystallize.
“I found that the more people that were added, the more the direction of the band became concise.”
Listening to the tunes today, there is no question they have indeed found their niche.
And that classical training has provided a solid foundation to her vocal prowess today.
“It took me a long time to figure out how to sing this way,” she explained. “I find the technique is very different although there is some cross-over. I’m lucky in the sense that I know how to take care of my voice,” she said, pointing to such technical aspects as voice control and proper breathing. “It’s nice to have that background because I feel like I’m approaching it from more of a healthier way.
“I also think I’m more secure in my singing than I was before. I have a little bit more confidence and I’m not necessarily trying to pull from a lot of other singers now like I was before.”
Meanwhile, the band has been experiencing a remarkable level of success over the years – they have won five MusicNL Awards and in 2013 they were nominated for an East Coast Music Award for Rising Star Recording of the Year, performing at the 2013 ECMA Gala.
In the last few years, the band has toured nationally and spent time writing new material which received placements in MTV’s Awkward, Finding Carter and Becoming Us.