St. Mark Grad Will Be On Stage Tonight At The Red Bird On Bank Street
The Red Bird on Bank Street in Ottawa will be rocking on Sat., Oct. 22, as local artist Steph La Rochelle will be on stage to launch her new album, Wildflower.
While La Rochelle’s career has evolved and she has been a high profile Canadian artist for the past decade, Wildfire is her debut EP. It features seven songs that are all originals.
“A lot of the songs and the ideas have been in my back pocket for a long time,” said La Rochelle.
For the past three years, La Rochelle has been involved with the theatre and touring cast of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Dear Evan Hansen. She portrayed the character Zoe Murphy in the 2019 Canadian production of the show at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto. In the fall of 2019, she joined the US touring cast for the show, again playing the role of Zoe Murphy.
“I worked on some of the music during the Toronto production of Dear Evan Hansen,” she said. “Some of the songs were written prior to that journey. The EP is really a mix of songs that I had been sitting on for a while and some songs that were written more recently.”
La Rochelle has been entertaining audiences long before she found herself as a cast member of Dear Evan Hansen. In fact, she was a locally-known artist even before attending St. Mark High School in Manotick. She started singing at the age of five and won numerous singing competitions, recorded her first demo, and even got the chance to perform in front of people at Disney World before her tenth birthday.
After that, La Rochelle began performing at a number of local events, including the Central Canada Exhibition in Ottawa.
At the age of 14, she recorded a song in the memory of Hannah Elizabeth Walker, raising a significant amount of money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario.
She continued to sing and perform while at St. Mark High School, both in the school’s Cappies productions and with the Greely Players. Her social media presence also grew as she became one of Canada’s most popular young artists on YouTube.
La Rochelle earned spots in the Ottawa Bluesfest’s Emerging Artist Showcase, as well as the Canadian Country Music Association’s Discovery Program, which included a CCMA Award nomination.
‘Over The Rainbow’
What put La Rochelle on the map in Canada, however, was being the first runner-up in the CBC reality series ‘Over the Rainbow.’ The winner of the show won the contract to be Dorothy in the Toronto theatre production of the Wizard of Oz. Even though she did not win the contest, there was certainly a yellow brick road for her to follow.
“That show opened a lot of doors for me and gave me a lot of exposure,” she said.
Since being on the CBC show, she has attained numerous TV/Film credits to her name. Among them are Satisfaction (CTV), Copper (BBC), The Preacher’s Sin (Lifetime MOW), and she appears in the David Cronenberg online interactive experience, Body/Mind/Change – Evolution. La Rochelle also appeared as a guest star on the popular Canadian family drama, Heartland (CBC), where she played a busking runaway and sang one of her original songs. Her song was used as the theme song for a youth camp in Alberta. In the Disney Channel hit, Backstage, La Rochelle had a recurring role as “Frances”, a mentor to the music students.
Most recently, La Rochelle starred in the Toronto, North American Tour, and appeared in the West End productions of the Tony award winning Broadway musical, Dear Evan Hansen. She partnered with Grammy award winning, Alex Lacamoire to arrange and record an acoustic version of the hit song, Only Us at the preeminent Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, TN.
La Rochelle began working on her album this year with her producer Murray Daigle. He did all of the arrangements for the songs.
“The entire process took about 10 months to come together,” she said of her EP. “It wasn’t a continuous 10 months, but it is a long process. I did the vocal tracks in July, and now everything is done.”
Although La Rochelle is going to have physical CD’s produced, the marketing focus is going to be digital. The record store has been replaced by websites like Spotify and Apple Music.
“Things have changed a lot in the last decade,” she said. “Music used to be about getting radio airplay. Now, it’s all about streaming. You have to really promote yourself on social media platforms. Tik Tok is huge for me. Instagram is big. Facebook and Twitter are important. There are always new social media platforms popping up, so it’s important as an artist to stay on top of everything and know what is current. I also promote my music on my website.”
Although some of her success has been with music that has been classified as country, La Rochelle said the songs on her EP would be considered pop.
“The music is organic in nature,” she said. “And for the show at the Red Bird, we will have a full band with a cello to give it more of a cinematic feel.”
La Rochelle will be performing at the Red Bird and will be the headliner. Akeem Oh and Oddeline will also be performing.
“It’s exciting to perform and release this EP and share the songs at home with my friends and family there,” she said.
Tickets for the show are available on La Rochelle’s website.
After the show, it will be back to work for the long singer/songwriter.
“I will be working on the music videos for the songs,” she said, noting that her videos on her YouTube channel are also important in promoting her music and getting it to her fans.
For more information on Steph La Rochelle’s music and the upcoming event, visit StephLaRochelle.com.