When the nominations for this year’s East Coast Music Awards were revealed this past Tuesday, Moncton rock band Shades of Sorrow were pleasantly surprised to find their latest record Ascension included among the nominees for Loud Recording of the Year category.
“It still hasn’t sunk in, to be completely honest,” Shades of Sorrow vocalist Monise Ouellette says. “I remember sitting in the audience at the Moncton Coliseum when the East Coast Music Awards were held there in 1997 and thinking how great it would be to maybe one day be on the stage. It is a complete honour for the band to be recognized on that level.”
The nomination is especially sweet for Ouellette, who could be considered the “new kid” on the Shades of Sorrow block. Although the group has been in existence for the better part of a decade, Ouellette joined its ranks in December 2014 via a chance conversation with the group’s drummer, Pascale Deslongchamps.
“I was a fan of the band already, but when I heard they were looking for a vocalist, I decided to throw my hat into the ring. Pascale and I work together, so one day, I asked him if his band had any luck finding a singer yet. He said they hadn’t, so I told him that he knew where to find me if they were interested in having me audition.”
Inspired by everyone from Heart’s Ann Wilson through Aretha Franklin, Tori Amos and more, Ouellette ended up nailing the audition and was asked to join the band as they began the writing and recording process for what would become Ascension.
She shares that although the bulk of the material had been written prior to her arrival in the group, the remainder of the band had essentially given her free reign to begin contributing almost immediately.
“Part of my audition was to write lyrics for a song, which really excited me as they were giving me the chance to contribute to the band in ways other than just being a singer. The band didn’t give me any guidelines to follow or try to steer me in any one direction. It proved to be a great challenge.”
Shades of Sorrow guitarist Mike Taylor says that Ouellette’s arrival to front the group has been a breath of fresh air for all concerned.
“Things just clicked from the very first moment,” Taylor says, referring to Ouellette. “It has been great to have everybody seemingly on the same page throughout the making of Ascension to where we are today. Monise has brought a different sound to the group, especially to our older material, but it has been a refreshing change for all of us.”
What: Shades of Sorrow with Lionsault and the Cauldron Project
When: Saturday Jan. 30, 10 p.m.
Where: Plan b Lounge, 212 St. George St., Moncton