Samantha Robichaud Invites Fans In The Green Room

Photo by Jocelyne Vautour
Photo by Jocelyne Vautour

So much more goes into being a fiddle player than simply the talent to play the musical instrument.

Having charisma, charm, passion and the ability to build an emotional connection with a room full of strangers through music is no small feat.

For Moncton’s own Samantha Robichaud, it’s a challenge she’s embraced.

Robichaud’s list of accomplishments is an impressive one: She was a featured performer at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and was also a writer and performer on This Is My America, a set that tells America’s history through song, which also featured Dolly Parton, Mark O’Connor and others. She is a three-time Music New Brunswick Award winner and has performed throughout the United States and as far away as China.

Robichaud celebrates the release of her seventh CD, In The Green Room, with a show at Casino New Brunswick on Saturday night. The album is a different venture for the young musician; instead of going into the studio and recording a dozen or more tracks with her band, she decided to call in a few friends.

Taking its name from the area where musicians and artists are usually sequestered prior to going on stage, In The Green Room is a collaborative effort from start to finish as Robichaud welcomes guests including the Divorcees’ Alex Madsen, Ashley MacIsaac, Thom Swift, Charlie A’Court and more to help bring her latest record to life.

“I started thinking about making a collaborative album like this because I had been playing at a lot of music festivals,” Robichaud begins. “You’re always exposed to hanging out with other artists and it is not uncommon for people to join others on stage to perform on specific songs. Prior to going on stage, you’re often left in the green room, a holding place of sorts but somewhere where a lot of magical moments happen in terms of building those relationships with other musicians. That is really what I wanted to capture with this record.”

It has been a busy few years for Robichaud since the release of her last two records, Collected and A New Stage in 2010. The former album saw the artist explore more traditional fiddle material while A New Stage offered fans a slightly more raw, rock-based edge to the music. Robichaud says those potentially divergent musical personalities are brought together in happy unison on In The Green Room.

“In The Green Room is a diverse-sounding record in that we went with what felt good,” she says. “There is a country song that I co-wrote with Alex Madsen while the Dave Gunning song that I perform has more of a folk-inspired feel to it. The record is an awesome mix of music.”

Robichaud chose to get her supporters involved in making In The Green Room a reality. She undertook a fundraising campaign via Pledge Music, a website that serves as a direct-to-fan platform providing artists and labels alike with the tools needed to engage their fans early in the record-making process.

Anyone outside the business may overlook the costs associated with making and releasing a new record. Everything from booking studio time to mixing the songs and paying those who perform on the record can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars, even on a small-scale production. Campaigns such as Samantha’s Pledge Music campaign are becoming commonplace among artists at all levels in their career.

What the campaigns are not, however, is a bunch of musicians simply looking for handouts to get their product released. For donations of specific amounts, fans are often rewarded with a variety of incentives including meet-and-greet sessions, exclusive content and more. The more you donate, the bigger the reward.

It took Robichaud a little more than three months to reach, then exceed the goal that she had set. At the end of the campaign, she had received 123 per cent of the amount that she was originally looking to raise. The icing on the cake? Ten per cent of the funds raised through her online campaign were donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“It can be quite a financial undertaking to make a new record. By enlisting my fans’ support via Pledge Music, it gave those who wanted to support me the chance to be a part of making the record.

“The online campaign didn’t fund the entire record but it was an immeasurable contribution to getting the project completed. As an artist, you still have to make the financial investment to making the album become a reality but by having your fans on your side, the prospect can be a little less intimidating.”

The remainder of 2013 looks as though it will be a busy one for Robichaud with a series of shows here in the Maritimes and abroad in the works. In the immediate future though, she is really looking forward to taking the stage at the Casino on Saturday night.

“This will be one of my biggest shows to date here at home. It is quite an accomplishment and one that I am both really proud of and really excited about.”

Article published in the April 30, 2013 edition of the Times & Transcript

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