Civil Wray Photo: Ivan Otis
Civil Wray Photo: Ivan Otis

Five Questions With… Civil Wray

Civil Wray is the new project from Toronto singer/songwriter Andrea de Boer, who has channelled her experience into a new and fresh identity.

On the album Civil Wray, produced by Chris Stringer (Timber Timbre, Jill Barber) and featuring notable support from guitarist Champagne James Robertson, keyboardist Robbie Grunwald, bassist Devon Henderson and drummer Joshua Van Tassel, de Boer creates a distinctive indie rock vibe with a touch of soul and country that intensifies her trademark smoky vocals.

The musical eclecticism is prominently demonstrated on the sultry pop track “Numb” (produced by Matt DeMatteo), and the Latin-infused “Fie,” and “Don’t Make Me" which gives a nod to Bobbie Gentry’s iconic “Ode to Billie Joe” for inspiration, adding some Southern Gothic romanticism to the mix.

As for the origin of “Civil Wray,” de Boer came up with the concept when contemplating retiring her previous moniker blueVenus. A friend suggested titling her next album “Civil,” a word that soon took on a deeper meaning for de Boer regarding how she wanted to live her life. She later came across the word “Wray,” which in Old English means “discover.” Putting them together represented to de Boer how everyone can keep learning how to treat people better.

The official launch of Civil Wray takes place Friday, Sept. 29 at Toronto’s Monarch Tavern, and you can find out more at civilwraymusic.com.

 

What makes Civil Wray stand apart from your previous work?

Experience. I’ve played a lot of shows since my last album, and my personal life changed drastically. These were two factors that combined to create better music and a kick-ass attitude.

What songs on the album do you feel best capture your current musical vision?

Because I decided to make an album instead of releasing singles, the album itself is the artistic vision—it’s multi-dimensional. That said, I would choose “Numb,” “Fie,” and “Crows.” I’ve had positive feedback about the song “Talk About Lies” as well, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder—except it’s all about your ears.

What's been the biggest change in your life in the past year?

There have been many things, all rooted in acknowledging anxiety and facing my fears head-on. Launching an album DYI is a bit of madness for someone without much tour booking experience. I’m still learning not to sweat the small stuff, but I’m proud that I booked every date on my first East Coast tour this summer.

What are your fondest musical memories as you were growing up?

My father played the piano and was a huge George Gershwin fan. When I was six, my dad taught me to sing “Our Love is Here to Stay” and showed me where middle C was on the musical staff and the piano. That fed into my natural tendency to be a ham; I was always a performing for my parents' dinner parties. Then I became introverted and neurotic. Now I’m back to being a ham.

If you could change anything about the music business, what would it be?

Copyright laws have not caught up with the digital age, which has made it increasingly difficult for an artist to make a living from their craft. It’s important that the public is made aware that these laws need to be addressed and rewritten to support Canadian creators.

 

 

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