Hi there, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How're you? I am Jason, star of the movie Kong: Numb Skull Island. Most people recover from deadly diseases better than I recover from daylight savings. I'm all confused today.
Last week, Wall Street's famous Charging Bull encountered a challenge in the form of SHE or the Fearless Girl. The new statue, created by artist Kristen Visbal and commissioned by asset management firm State Street Global Advisors, appeared on the occasion of International Women's Day and will remain there through March as a call for the finance industry to address its gender inequalities. (Unfortunately, SSGA itself is part of the problem, but that's another story.) But the girl hadn't been in place for more than a day before some Wall Street douche took it upon himself to defile it, much to the amusement of his equally douchey Wall Street friends.
Yeah, dude. Way to go. Because now and forever, you are a symbol of rape culture. And that comes from the first family of New York. This is why we can't have nice things.
On March 11th, White House press secretary Sean Spicer was shopping at the Apple store when he was approached by a woman who had a few questions for him. The woman, named Shree Chauhan according to the "New York Post," tweeted a video of the question/no answer session along with the text, "Asking @PressSec questions in Apple Store since he doesn't like the press." Her post has since gone viral, getting over 400,000 views on the video app Periscope. Chauhan wrote about the experience on Medium, and said that Spicer made a racist remark to her while she was filming. Chauhan asked Sean Spicer questions like, “How does it feel to work for a fascist” and “Have you helped with the Russia stuff?” He initially replied, “We have a great country." but mostly seems to be trying to ignore Chauhan. But then she asked, “Have you committed treason too? Just like the president. What can you tell me about Russia?” Sean Spicer allegedly said, “It’s such a great country that allows you to be here.” Speaking to the "Daily Mail," Chauhan said, "He could’ve said, 'Such a great country that allows dissent.' There’s a lot of ways that could’ve been said. To have someone who speaks for the president of the United States tell me to my face that I shouldn’t be here and I was born here... that is a real thing." In her post on the self-publishing platform Medium, Chauhan wrote, "I am still stunned by the boldness of having my citizenship threatened on camera. I was not polite. But when does being impolite mean that I should be thrown out of the United States of America? The country I was born in, the country I was raised in, the country I love despite its flaws." By the way, I'm not sure what Sean Spicer was buying at the Apple Store, but it's a given that he'll eventually tweet his password to it.
I think it may be kind of a crazy idea to buy your 3-year-old expensive designer shoes when they'll probably just ruin them by, you know, being a 3-year-old. One mom in the U.K. disagrees. And when her 3-year-old daughter came back from a playdate with pen marks on her £325 (almost $400 U.S.) shoes, she sent the other mom a bill. No, this isn't a joke. The mom, Sarah Louise Bryan, appeared on ITV's "Good Morning Britain" to explain why she thought charging her friend for her daughter's ruined shoes was justified, especially since the toddler owns around 60 pairs of shoes. Host Piers Morgan wasn't convinced. He blasted the mom, saying, "Your 3-year-old daughter has 60 pairs of shoes, you send her in a £325 pair of booties to your mate’s house and she gets a few pens marks on it... which, by the way, happens to 3-year-old girls, I’ve got a 5-year-old girl, they get pen marks, they draw... and then, when she comes back with pen marks, you have the audacity to send her an invoice." When the mom asked Morgan what he would do if his child, God forbid, came back from a playdate with marks on their designer shoes, Morgan responded, "What would I do!? I wouldn’t be buying my daughter £325 pairs of shoes to start with!" After Morgan labeled Bryan's sending a bill "preposterous" and called her "the worst kind of parent," the mom broke down in tears."This is nothing to do with my parenting and it is not fair other than bullying," she said. "You know, when I was younger I got abused and everything." Okay, sure. That's terrible, and obviously we don't know what her parenting is really like. But it doesn't quite explain sending your friend a £325 bill for toddler shoes. Does it? I don't know.
Remember the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen intern scandal of 2015? I barely do either, but "ET" reports that they've finally settled with all the interns who claim the Olsen twins never paid them, or paid them less than minimum wage. When the claim was initially made in 2015, 40 past and present interns stepped forward to sue the Olsen's Dualstar Entertainment Group, which backs their fashion lines, in a class action lawsuit in New York Supreme Court. Since then, the number of interns who are eligible for the payout has increased to 185, and the settlement that was reached today requires the Olsens pay up to $140,000. Maybe that sounds like a lot to you, maybe it doesn't. But that sum means that Dualstar is required to pay each intern who claims and qualifies for compensation just $530, according to a preliminary document that was released last week. Considering that most of these interns probably worked for the Olsens' company for weeks or months, it really doesn't seem like a big payout. One former intern who was a lead plaintiff in the case against the company said in court documents that she was working 50 hours per week doing "the work of three interns" and that she was talking with her boss "all day, all night." I would love to see a list of what these interns buy with the $530 checks they'll be receiving now that they're two years older, smarter and wiser... and hopefully not taking unpaid internships anymore. I hope they do something more fun with it than buy overpriced mod-looking furniture from West Elm.
Food Network show, "The Pioneer Woman," has come under fire after a clip from its second season resurfaced recently. The clip features chef Ree Drummond making a joke about Asian food that many are deeming racist. In the clip, Drummond "pranks" her friends and family by presenting a tray of Asian-style chicken wings. Everyone seems shocked and appalled that she is serving Asian food. "Where are the real wings?" questions one man. "I don't trust them," declares another.But surprise! Drummond was only kidding. She pulls the tray of "real" chicken wings (with buffalo sauce) out of the oven. "I'm just kidding guys, I wouldn't do that to you," she says.Um, what? Needless to say, folks aren't too happy. Hey, "The Pioneer Woman." Everyone's food is real food, okay? Cool.
Two things. Beauty and the Beast will feature at least a passing reference to an openly gay character, which is (somehow) a Disney movie first. Because of this, a movie owner in Alabama will ban Beauty and the Beast, which is (hopefully) the dumbest thing you'll hear in your life. Hearing this news, tweeters made the same joke over and over again. And it's a solid joke. "Imagine boycotting Beauty and the Beast because of a gay character while being totally cool with a teenage girl falling in love with a buffalo." "Some people are boycotting Beauty and the Beast for having a gay character but the girl falls in love with a BUFFALO?? Homophobes are ridiculous." Again, props to the joke. Good joke. But here's the proof everyone's plagiarizing it and rewording it to score their own meaningless Internet points. Beast is no buffalo. Well, he's partly buffalo. But his face just as easily screams boar. Or bear-goat. You're telling me everyone's coming to buffalo consensus and on one's saying bear-goat? Seriously, the joke's good, the joke's on point, and my sincere apologies for doing this. But to set the record straight, there's this article from The Disney Wiki. And again, this is annoying. Beast is not buffalo. "The Beast is not of any one species of animal, but a chimera, a mixture of several animals. He has the head structure and horns of a buffalo, the arms and body of a bear, the eyebrows of a gorilla, the jaws, teeth, and mane of a lion, the tusks of a wild boar, and the legs and tail of a wolf." I know, and I've already apologized for saying, "well actually" through my nose. But... "He also has blue eyes, the one physical feature that does not change whether he is a beast or a human," adds the Wiki, which is apparently based on a 2010 interview with the Beast's original Disney animator, Glen Keane, on animation website Animated Views. In that interview, animator Glen Keane described the genesis of the character. "I started to draw. I said, 'I like the massiveness of this buffalo head,' and I sketched out the weight... I said, 'But the brow of the gorilla,' and I drew the brow there. 'But then the muzzle of this wild boar,' and then the mane of a lion but the body of a bear, and then the legs of this wolf." Really, at the end of the day, the Beast is a human. And he's stuck in a buffalo/gorilla/lion/boar/wolf body. I'm sorry. Now go make your jokes, they're great.
So, with the success of the movie Logan and the movie La La Land, Marvel is coming out with yet another Logan movie.
Hugh Jackman can sing so it might be pretty good. President Trump has signed yet another executive order. I wonder what this one is...
I don't understand. A few weeks ago I told you that "The Washington Post" has added a slogan to their masthead that says "Democracy Dies in Darkness." Well, they had other slogans they were gonna use. Like this one...
Hmmm. So, in there past I have shown you what people look like they are looking at the Phile on their computer. Well, here's another one...
It's totally true. Okay, so, you know I live in Florida, right. Well, there's stuff that happens in Florida that happens no where else in the Universe. So, once again here is...
It's been nine years since Casey Anthony's daughter, Caylee, went missing, and six years Anthony was acquitted of murder charges. "I'm still not even certain as I stand here today about what happened," she told the Associated Press in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was her first interview since Caylee's death and the widely-followed trial. "Casey Anthony knows that much of the world believes she killed her 2-year-old daughter, despite her acquittal," writes reporter Josh Replogle, "But nearly nine years later, she insists she doesn't know how the last hours of Caylee's life unfolded." The public remains skeptical of Anthony's innocence despite her acquittal. During the trial, she could not account for the month her child was missing before the remains were discovered. Anthony's defense later insisted that Caylee accidentally drowned in a pool, for which there were no eyewitnesses. Anthony told Associated Press that she views herself as "Alice in Wonderland, with the public as the Red Queen." "The queen is proclaiming: 'No, no, sentence first, verdict afterward,'" she says. "I sense and feel to this day that is a direct parallel to what I lived. My sentence was doled out long before there was a verdict. Sentence first, verdict afterward. People found me guilty long before I had my day in court."Prosecutors proved Casey Anthony to be a liar, convicting her of four counts of lying to police (two counts were later dropped), but failed to prove her guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter, and aggravated child abuse. However, the Florida Department of Children and Families later concluded that she was responsible for the death of her child, with the circuit judge later theorizing "that Anthony may have killed Caylee accidentally when she was using chloroform to calm her."Today, Anthony admits that she lied to the police about a whole bunch of things pertinent to the case including "telling two people, both of them imaginary, that Caylee was missing." "Even if I would've told them everything that I told to the psychologist, I hate to say this but I firmly believe I would have been in the same place. Because cops believe other cops. Cops tend to victimize the victims. I understand now... I see why I was treated the way I was even had I been completely truthful." She said, "Cops lie to people every day. I'm just one of the unfortunate idiots who admitted they lied." Anthony now "lives in the South Florida home of Patrick McKenna," the lead investigator from her defense team who works as a private detective. She also works for him, doing online investigative work. McKenna was the lead investigator for O.J. Simpson, with whom Anthony sees "a lot of parallels." "I don't give a shit about what anyone thinks about me, I never will," she said. "I'm okay with myself, I sleep pretty good at night."
If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. It's a stretch of a Mindphuck I have to say. Well, my son and I were talking about how we used to watch "Sesame Street" together when he was a kid. That show is not the same as it used to be. So, once again, here is...
Early Tuesday morning, Donald Trump surprised a group of young students taking a tour of the White House. That honestly sounds terrifying for them. But apparently the group of young Republicans from Georgia were super-excited to meet the President. They even screamed like tweens at a Justin Bieber concert. It turns out, you really never do know what surprises may await you on a White House tour! Because when the President posed for a photo opp with his arms outstretched, he didn't realize there was someone behind him. Someone very important.
Correct, that is a painting of Hillary Clinton on the wall, looking as regal and presidential as ever. It's almost like a sign reminding us that she won the popular vote and, in an alternate reality, might still be president.
The 58th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...
Phile Alum and author will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.
St. Patrick's Day
St. Patrick's Day is a cultural holiday which Irish people act exactly like their stereotypes.
Me: Christine, welcome back to the Phile! It's been so long! How have you been?
Christine: Yes, it has!! Thank you for inviting me back, Jason. I’ve been busy as always.
Me: I know you're from Canada... are you still living there?
Me: Your new album was recorded in Los Angeles though, right? What made you record it there?
Christine: I have friends and family in Los Angeles and my friend Fernando Perdomo made me an offer I couldn’t refuse and so I recorded my album at his studio mostly. He and I had collaborated before and we knew we would work together again. It was great to go to L.A. to record as well since I had time away from home to be completely focused on recording.
Me: Did you record it in the oldest recording studio in the world or something like that?
Christine: Most of the album was recorded at Reseda Ranch Studios owned and operated by my friend and music prodigy, Fernando Perdomo. Parts of the album were recorded at one of the oldest sound studios in the world and quite possibly the oldest in the world. It was created by the Pacific Electric Company sometime around the birth of the 20th century. It has been owned by some legends in the past including the inventor of the time code, Bruce Scott and Liberace. It still has its original foley stage which I utilized for "Je Danse Dans La Discotheque Avec Toulouse Lautrec" and I also recorded some of my final vocal takes there. I first visited the studio ten years ago and knew I’d work there one day so it feels great to have experienced it. The current owner is Craig Parker Adams and it’s called Winslow Court Studios which is located beside the oldest building in Hollywood on Sunset Blvd beside a famous cemetery. I love experiencing history and using real sounds vs samples so to me this is one of the best kept secrets in Hollywood. And small portions of the album were also recorded within some of the musicians own home studios as well as a studio here in Hamilton called Blue Tilt. I incorporated 26 musician friends including myself from Canada and the U.S. as well as Europe.
Me: Did you chose that studio for a reason?
Christine: I’m sentimental and love history and it is important for me to work with people who are kind and professional and excellent at their craft. I chose to work with Fernando and Craig and the rest of the people involved because they are talented, they are friends (some old friends and some new friends) and I wanted a stress free happy process.
Me: You're using PledgeMusic to release the album, am I right? What made you go this route?
Christine: Yes, I chose to go this route because my album is a year late to launch due to both of my dogs dying last year. It was quite costly and extremely heart breaking. I am releasing "Wanderlust Wishing Well" on two tone translucent blue vinyl and CD. The vinyl is costly so here I am! I’ve never gone this route before to launch a pledge campaign which can feel pretty daunting but with dedication and the realization that I can’t always do it on my own and essentially it’s all pre-sale along with some amazing things I’ve created. I wasn’t sure which site to go with, Kickstarter, Indie Go Go or PledgeMusic. Dave Kerzner (who I was working with for 2 years... I designed his album art for "New World," sang on two of the tracks and created close to a dozen of his music videos which are used for live concert projections and some are online but I digress...) He suggested PledgeMusic for me based on knowing what my project was about and weighing in the pros and cons of all three. I like that PledgeMusic lets you keep what you raise so you don’t have the pressure of having to meet a target goal in order to receive your pledges and people can purchase multiple items in your store. It also meant a lot for me to give a portion (which I’m increasing from 5% to 10% once I reach my base goal that I’m now at 55%) of what I make to Urban Wildlife Care which is a local wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release back into the wild. Now that my pledge page has been happening for 3 weeks and will be going for another 4, I’m enjoying the experience very much. You can view it here: pledgemusic.com/christineleakey.
Me: The album and artwork and everything is done already though, right?
Christine: I’m done the album cover art and am working this week on the rest of the album art for the vinyl which is going to be adapted to the CD packaging. I did a photo shoot a year ago in Ohio with two wolves, one fox, one skunk and an incredible photographer who happens to be deaf. It was an amazing experience. I made a friend and I’m very pleased with the results. The outside cover is me with wolves walking in a creek with a slate rock bottom. I have incorporated illustrated elements as well surrounding the photograph which will flow throughout the rest of the album art. The back is going to depict a journey encountering wildlife. The inner sleeve has a painted portrait of me underwater with sea creatures that I commissioned Antonella Sigismondi to paint and the back of the inner sleeve I’m still working out in my mind. I will put credits there and I’m deciding on any lyrics or a link to download lyrics since I want the limited space to be more focused on telling a story visually. The record is a two tone blue translucent splash vinyl with the centre label designed like a wishing coin. The limited edition vinyl comes with a wolf root chakra wishing coin. The vinyl is underway with manufacturing and I’m waiting for the test pressings so I’ve got time to finish this without feeling rushed. Those four panels will be adapted to a four panel cardboard wallet package for the CD edition.
Me: The album is on iTunes now, but is the pledge to release it on CD and vinyl?
Christine: Yes, the album is digitally available on iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, Amazon and more and that is correct, the pledge is for the vinyl and CD. I had hoped to launch the campaign sooner but with everything that snowballed from the loss of my dogs and taking on small freelance design projects (graphic design is my profession), everything took longer.
Me: So, what are some of the things we get if we pledge?
Christine: Things I’ve created mostly. I wanted it to be special. Maple syrup I tapped myself which already sold out wildcrafted grape syrup that I also made from foraging in the forest… I have designed animal chakra wishing coins, custom made fairy doors, I’ll write a song, or cover a song, or hand draw my lyrics creatively… Made to order t-shirts and aprons, en caustic art incorporating my previous album’s artwork and I may add more for this current album’s art… we’ll see. House or Skype concerts, I’ve even got 20 more of my hand sewn sleeve edition of "Tapping Trees In A Trinket Box Of Treasure" on there… Graphic design by yours truly… I’ve been preparing for a year for the campaign.
Me: What's this about maple syrup? You made your own maple syrup? Is this something you have done for awhile, Christine?
Christine: I’ve been tapping trees to make maple syrup for the past two years now and I should be out there tapping again this year but I may only do a bit since the weather got mild early and during this very busy time for me. I’ve always wanted to tap trees and make maple syrup since I was a little girl going on school field trips to the sugar bush. My last album name as you know was "Tapping Trees In A Trinket Box Of Treasure" and my song from that album called "The Man With The Golden Heart" is about my late Uncle John who had C.O.P.D. but wanted to visit the sugar bush. He went early one morning with his band mates who were two elderly ladies. Their band was called Cheers. He caught pneumonia from the experience and passed away. It was heart breaking. I wanted to create things as well for my campaign that weave into the themes of my music.
Me: You are very creative and arty, making posters, websites, videos, CD covers... you do it all. You are busy all the time, right?
Christine: Pretty much but it can be overwhelming. I tend to be a one stop shop which some of my design clients have loved about me. Designing and creating for my own projects though is far more challenging because it’s tough to put me knowing all my diverse interests and complexities into one idea which is why I wind up being so intense about it.
Me: What's your favorite thing you do?
Christine: Spending time on the water and in nature. I find it very grounding.
Me: Okay, so, I watched the videos you made for this album and enjoyed them and the songs. I have to talk about "Walks Like An Angel" first... the whole video is you swimming in what looks like a lake. I have a screenshot here of it...
Me: What the hell? Was that that filmed?
Christine: The video for "Walks Like An Angel" was filmed back home where I grew up in the heart of the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River which is shared between Canada and the U.S. One of my hometown friends has an island (which isn’t uncommon for back home) close to the international bridges where we filmed me. The currents are very strong near the bridges and the first day of filming was used with a go pro that distorted my body oddly. It was difficult to shoot because we were on the side with the strong currents. The photo still of me shows the weeds swayed over because of the power and I was swiftly floating away. So the second day we used my waterproof Ricoh that has a setting to remove distortion that occurs underwater. (Much better than a go pro in my opinion) and we shot on the other side of the island without the currents. One shot is in the video on the current side between a tiny island and the main island where I’m wearing a longer sleeve dress. My friend had to go to mainland to run some errands but had built a super long custom selfie stick that we rigged my camera to and so the parts of me above water I filmed alone with that.
Me: Was the water cold, Christine?
Christine: It was the first day of autumn but not cold until toward the end I started to shrivel like a prune and had blue lips. I’m used to this weather though. The water was probably 70ºF or at lowest 68. The air those days was around 72ºF.
Me: You're a very good swimmer, but was it hard to swim in that water?
Christine: No, but I have swam since I was three and somehow I’ve trained myself subconsciously to be so relaxed that I’m very buoyant. For years I have enjoyed endurance swimming across a lake and back whenever possible which was around 1.5 miles to do. It sounds intimidating but it was not. A two time cancer survivor in her 80s used to accompany me and my mother. The secret to that so we could socialize while swimming is to wear flippers.
Me: How long did it take that video to be filmed?
Christine: Over the course of two days around 4 hours.
Me: Whose idea was to make that video?
Christine: My idea.
Me: I have to ask, were they a lot of bugs and snakes there?
Christine: No. But I’m not afraid of bugs and snakes anyway. I grew up camping since I was an infant and my Aunt Bunny taught me to catch snakes without harming them and wear them around my neck. I wore one once around my neck had a pet baby snake for a day when I was little. I found it in the woods and it would slither in and out between my fingers. I spent hours with it before letting it slither off. I still enjoy spending time with wild things I encounter. Because of this during a trip to Costa Rica in 2000, I almost stepped on a bush master snake and was not at all weirded out or scared by it. My guide was clearing a path with his machete and was impressed by my calm as I got close to photograph it, but not too close. They are one of the most venomous snakes in the world.
Me: Who did the under water photography for that video? Did they enjoy it? Then again, did you?
Christine: My friend Sandy MacKenzie shot the under water swimming footage of me and I shot the above water scenes using a selfie stick. Linda Perhacs was filmed by her friend Augustin Palm in Topanga Canyon. And then I put a bit of footage of my dogs who died at the end which I shot.
Me: One of the videos you made is a fun whimsical circus theme that I loved but you're singing in French. Being from England I don't know what I think about that. Hahaha. What's the title and was is the English translation?
Christine: I wrote that song waaaay back in 1994 and had written a bunch of silly lyrics in French for it. My mother who is French told me it’s not grammatically correct at the time and I told her it’s okay because it’s poetry. I decided to leave most of the lyrics out to give space to the strangeness of the circus inspired song. I wanted it to feel more surreal. So to translate what is there, the title for starters "Je Danse Dans La Discotheque Avec Toulouse Lautrec" means I dance in the disco with Toulouse Lautrec. Ou est moi and Ou est toi mean Where is me, Where is you. So I really should have said "Où sont moi" and "Où sont toi." Sont means are and est means is but I left it how I wrote it when I was younger. The English parts you understand when the music slows… It’s time to go to sleep so rest your head. Creep up the stairs and crawl into your bed. Dream of sweet lollipops sugar plums and ice cream. Candy coated clowns and flying kites with Christine. While singing la la la la lullaby parts, I had Timur sing a Japanese prose that I paraphrased in English: Sleeping in clouds, dreaming in spring. There is a back story of inspiration that brought me to write the song… I am half French and from pre-school days had a special obsession with that part of my heritage. I used to ask my mom to please only speak French to me from the age of 3. She wouldn’t so in protest, I created my own pseudo French language that I would speak and I even later made a dictionary for it which I wish I had kept. French culture also fascinated me. Toulouse Lautrec as you likely know of but in case you don’t, he was a little person during the late 1800s artist who spent much of his time at the Moulin Rouge creating artwork of the dancers and he made many great posters. I used to take books out of the library about him in grade five and six and grew up always hoping to go to the Moulin Rouge thanks to my mother telling me about the venue from a young age. I did a French project on it as a child as well where I designed a food menu and finally visited in 2001 where I saw a massive aquarium emerge from the floor revealing a nearly nude woman swimming with large boa constrictors who were supposed to be interested in trying to drown her but they had their own idea that day, they just wanted out of the tank. If only I had a video camera earlier that day because I watched a mini truck pull up across the street from the Moulin Rouge and a man got out of the truck opened the back hatch and in single file along with a conductor wand, he led an entourage of mini horses up to my knees across the street in the middle of traffic and into the Moulin Rouge. They were part of the act that evening. It’s an impression forever imprinted in my brain. It would have fit well into a video for the song. For this song however, I chose to work with Sandra Powers who did a marvelous job creating the video. She’s brilliant and I’ll have you know she now works for Disney! Her partner, Timur Bekbosunov sings opera on the song and is in the tub scenes. The green gorilla is Matthew Setzer from Skinny Puppy, the skeleton is Brett Loudermilk from Spiegelworld (he’s best known for his sword swallowing and made it on the Penn and Teller show which I thought was pretty rad.) And the Toulouse character in the video is my friend Mario Marin.
Me: Then there's the video for "Twinkle" which has you running around like an animal in the woods. That video looked like it was a lot of fun except there was a fox in it. I love foxes... Robin Hood is my favorite Disney character but I don't know if I would of stood next to a fox as close as you did. Were you scared? Where did you get the fox? People don't give them as pets, right?
Christine: The video was shot by my friend here in Southern Ontario but the fox footage is from a shoot I did with a fox that was rescued from a fur trade in Ohio. I’ve incorporated these animals since I’m giving 5% of all my pledge campaign sales to a local animal rescue called Urban Wildlife Care. They rescue, rehabilitate and release injured animals back into the wild.
Me: Speaking of animals, the album cover has you standing with two wolves. Was that photoshopped or were they actually with you?
Christine: They were with me! I did a photo shoot as well with two wolves that are ambassador wolves who are brought to schools to educate children about the often misunderstood creatures.
Me: Where did you get these wolves from?
Christine: They are ambassador wolves from Ohio who tour schools and live a happy and healthy life.
Me: Why wolves, Christine? You know they could be dangerous, right?
Christine: I didn’t find being with them to be dangerous at all. I respected them and found them to be sweet while fully aware of their power. They are definitely majestic creatures. There were three handlers with the wolves and as mentioned they are ambassador wolves. It felt very safe.
Me: Again... were you scared?
Me: What made you chose wolves for the album cover?
Christine: I love wolves. I love all creatures and wanted to incorporate animals just as I did with my previous album. I also wanted to incorporate water since my last album incorporated earth and so water is throughout this release’s imagery. I’m standing in a shallow creek with them. Their presence is vital in sustaining a healthy nature balance. Too often all wild animals are misunderstood ore even feared. Too often wolves have been wiped out like the Washington pack for example because farmers were having problems with them and yet there are simple solutions to keeping wolves at bay from livestock. One way that has been proven effective is playing the sound of howling wolves on a loudspeaker. The wild pack will believe it to be another packs territory. Wolves are crucial to our health to honour and respect them. Domestic dogs are their descendants. How can any pet lover not love a wolf.
Me: You really like animals I take it... proceeds of the new album goes to Urban Wildlife Care as you said. What can you tell is about that charity?
Christine: Urban Wildlife Care is a not-for-profit that is local to me in Grimsby, Ontario. They rescue, rehabilitate and release native wildlife who have been injured or found. The founder, Cara Contardi is an Authorized Wildlife Custodian who cares for approximately 500 animals annually. She receives hundreds of phone calls from the public as well. Cara is also an animal acupressure practitioner. UWC plays an integral role in community education and they work in cooperation with the local Animal Control, the Humane Society, Ministry of Natural Resources and other non-profit organizations, local animal services and veterinarians. Funding is relied solely on public donations and fundraising events. 5% of each pledge goes to UWC and once I reach 100% of my base goal the rate I’m giving UWC will increase to 10%. So far I have achieved 55% of my personal base goal so thank you for sharing about this because the impact will help to save animals lives.
Me: Alright, back to the album... how does this album compare with "Tapping Trees in a Trinket Box of Treasure”?
Christine: Great question! Both albums mostly feature music I had written previous to an injury that left me unable to play for years which we had discussed in previous interviews. I am wired to finish what I start and so both albums are essentially me documenting my art. It has been a priority for me to take care of this unfinished business before moving forward with music however it may take me. I’ve written hundreds and now a dozen more have been given justice in the studio which is great! Unlike "Tapping Trees In A Trinket Box Of Treasure," "Wanderlust Wishing Well" has some upbeat songs integrated with some dreamy songs. It’s a dynamic album featuring music inspired by several genres. Both albums have been deemed unique by others who have also said it’s like a new genre in itself. Because I recorded the album in Los Angeles, I restricted myself to a certain timeline and budget to follow. It isn’t quite as polished but I’m pleased with the results.
Me: There's a lot of people playing on the album with you, am I right?
Christine: That is correct! Including myself, there are 26 musicians involved.
Me: Are they all Canadian or from all over the world?
Christine: They are from several cultural backgrounds including, Cuban, Italian, Egyptian, Sri Lankan, British, Sicilian, Spanish, Irish, French, East Indian, Kazazksthanian. Ten are Canadian and some of those nine moved here from Italy, England and India and one now lives in Italy. There are 16 Americans on the album, some of those were born elsewhere including Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka.
Me: It took five years between albums... and I see why... you're busy and you put a lot of detail into everything you do. You're a perfectionist, am I right?
Christine: Yes, so it’s very difficult that I didn’t make a larger budget and find more time to go over the new album with a fine tooth comb. I could have spent another two weeks perfecting it and yet, it’s fine how it is as well. I hear things others wouldn’t. I couldn’t have gone even deeper in arrangements but I’m feeling really good about it. In Los Angeles, I spent two weeks recording in June 2014, then in 2015, a day in March, a day in April and three weeks in June. In between the 2014 and 2015 sessions, I worked with people in Canada on their parts. I wanted to release the album in 2016 but my dogs passing impacted the release time as did taking on some freelance work and co-writing a book that I was approached to be a part of thanks to how I hashtag on Instagram.
Me: So, is it gonna be at least five years before your next album comes out?
Christine: I’d like to make another album but I don’t know for certain on a timeline. I do know that if I lived locally to Fernando this album could have been finished entirely in 2014 and probably released in 2015. I need to let this new album have some breathing space. I do have my song list ready for album three though so if any label or person interested in funding this would like to see it happen faster, get in touch!
Me: I have to ask you about a few other projects you worked on... one is a book called "Sheet Music: The Diary of a Songwriter." That's a book that a lot of other people took part in as well as you. What is the book about and who approached you to be part of it?
Christine: I was approached to take part in it within a month of joining Instagram in late summer 2015. They were looking for women in music who had been faced with sexual injustice in the music industry. At first I declined a few times since I didn’t really want to focus on something that wasn’t positive but after much steeping and realizing that my voice could be a positive voice and potentially empower someone to realize their worth and not fall into some trap that wasn’t comfortable for fair, I decided to take part. Unfortunately I’ve dealt with some circumstances but I always said no and absolutely didn’t put up with anyone trying to persuade me to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with. I’m proud for being strong and I state that when you walk away from something to not worry because the cosmos will bring you something else. Just stay focused and dignified. The person behind the book is a reputable behind the scenes guy and multi-Grammy Award winner in the mainstream music industry, Devine Evans. He promised me the book would be done tastefully and he shared a story with me over the phone on what sparked his reason to create the book. One of his close friends whom he regards as a sister was raped in the music industry and he has two daughters. He doesn’t want his children to grow up in a world where this sort of issue is tolerated. There are more than 100 women involved globally and each have shared their own story.
Me: I should interview him... what do you think?
Christine: I think you should interview Devine. I feel that the book hasn’t reached its full potential yet. I had flown to California for a photo shoot we did for it at Henson Studios and then flew down for the pre-Grammy Valentines Day book launch party at the Avalon Theatre. I got to sing backup for an indie band named St. Beauty from Janelle Monae’s Wondaland label one of the women from St. Beauty is also in Janelle’s back up band. Janelle came out to our rehearsal and the show dressed to the nines of course! It’s another world musically from what I’ve ever experienced but it was exciting and I got to meet some very interesting women from all over the U.S., England and St. Lucia. Devine is a producer and so he wound up creating an album to accompany the book which I got to sing backup for one of the songs. The song is also like nothing I have sung on before but the message is an important one. To learn more about the book check out the website: thediaryofasongwriter.com.
Me: Was writing for it fun, Christine?
Christine: I wouldn’t describe it as fun. I would say empowering and vulnerable at the same time.
Me: And another project you worked on recently is an album called “To Love the Bee Gees: A Tribute to the Brothers Gibb." Do you love the Bee Gees?
Christine: Yes, I love the Bee Gees. They did so much and had many great songs and styles over the course of their career.
Me: You did the artwork for it but you didn't record a song, right?
Christine: I designed the album art but I didn’t get to record a song for it but would have loved to had I found out about the project sooner. Chris Price who’s on my album did a song for it along with some pretty prominent names in music like Isobel Campbell, SheLoom (Eric Matthews), Emitt Rhodes, Mary Margaret O’Hara, The Silver Seas and many others.
Me: If you were gonna record a Bee Gees song what would it be?
Christine: "Turn Of The Century" since that one wasn’t done on the compilation and if someone wants me to record that, you can pledge me to do a cover on my pledge site!
Me: So, what's your next big project you're working on?
Christine: Replenishing funds since making an album is so costly! I’m working on a test project to hopefully get hired at an eco-friendly company. I’m bartering with a drummer on his medical herb products… My goal though is to keep making music videos for my songs. An animation artist, Chris Minzz will be creating an animation for the song, "Kissy Poo." And I’m working on getting some shows booked once the vinyl is out in the U.S.A. and Canada. I probably do too much…
Me: I am so glad I finally had you back on the Phile. I hope this was fun, and I hope you'll come back again soon. Will you?
Christine: Absolutely! It’s always a pleasure to chat with you about music, Jason.
Me: Mention your website and anything else you wish and I wish you continued success. Take care.
Christine: My pledge campaign is: pledgemusic.com/christineleakey, christineleakeymusic.com, christineleakey.bandcamp.com, youtube.com/christineleakeymusic, play.spotify.com/artist/4rphdcBcTErYhyfHMAAfAY, soundcloud.com/christine-leakey.
That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Christine for a great interview! The Phile will be back next Sunday with Phile Alum Neil Sheasby from Stone Foundation. Spread the word, not the third. Don't let snakes and alligators bite yo. Bye, love you, bye.
Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker