I have been chatting with Domanique Grant…
about her debut single, Investment, and what its tale is. She talks about her upcoming E.P., Playhouse, and the themes that inspired the songs; which artists were important to her growing up; why the Canadian thinks her nation is producing so many great artists – Grant gives some useful advice to upcoming songwriters.
I was curious to know whether there will be any touring dates and which new artist we should follow; if she gets time to relax away from music – Grant chooses a classic song to end the interview on.
Hi, Domanique. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey, Sam! I’m great. Soldiering through this intense Toronto heat but loving the sunshine.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m Domanique Grant and I’m a singer-songwriter from Toronto that love’s making music that reminds people to feel something. I’d say, genre-wise, I’m a fusion of Pop, Soul and World - and I’m usually compared to fusions of artists like Sia and Sade, but you tell me (smiles).
Investment is your debut single. What inspired the song’s creation?
Yes! Investment is my debut single - and I’m so happy to finally share it with the world.
Investment is about what we’d get in return if we were able to quantify all that we’ve given up for relationships. I had a blast working with Grammy and Juno-nominated producers Kuya on this record and they really brought it to life. Investment was inspired by a bad dating experience that simultaneous coincided with seeing friend after friend giving their all in long relationships, only to see their partners take all that they could, leaving them with little.
I really wanted to talk about the non-committed culture of dating in big cities alongside failed relationships and losing yourself after all is said and done...but, I wanted to talk about it through the lens of picking yourself up and starting all over again.
It is taken from your debut E.P., Playhouse. Can you reveal what sort of themes and stories you drew from to create the songs?
Well. I grew up living in quite a few big cities around the world, from cities in South America to East Africa. When you travel a lot growing up, you experience the world a bit differently and Playhouse really takes those real experiences - stories, I guess - and turns them into themes. The songs are all pretty personal as one of the underlying themes that Playhouse explores is how these experiences shape the meaning of home for me.
The E.P. starts from that perspective and ties it to conversations about relationships, identity; dream-chasing and more.
You moved between continents and was a motivational speaker. How did you settle into music – did you learn a lot from those early years?
I definitely did learn a lot.
In a strange way, the motivational speaking and travelling really informed my music today. I grew up playing instruments like the cello and piano, writing poems and shower-singing to the greats. I was just an odd, curious kid. Odd kids don’t always fit in and, I guess, that’s where reminding others that they do (fit in) turned into speaking. For a while, though, I felt like I just didn’t have anything important enough to write about. I actually really settled into music when the travelling got the busiest because I needed another way to share my experiences living in new places.
After settling back in Toronto, I was invited to be a part of a Dora-nominated theatre production where I was asked to include original music that connected with my life. After the show sold out and was nominated for a number of awards, I realized that this was something that I wanted to do and that’s when I started recording.
Have you always been into music? Which artists struck your heart growing up?
Music has always been a part of my life in some form. I was obsessed with a bunch of artists growing up. A few of them were Alanis Morissette, Sade; Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan and Bob Marley. I’d almost always have one of their songs on-repeat. They all told stories in a way that made you want to jump into their songs and celebrate, while still managing to affect you emotionally.
I am seeing a lot of great Canadian artists emerge. Do you think there is a reason the nation is providing so many great musicians?
Canada has an incredible industry that supports the arts and I think that - aside from the raw talent that has always been here - we’re really fortunate to have funding and resources that also support artists at all levels. The rise in artists like Drake, Justin Bieber and The Weeknd have also put Canada on the map - but, I also think that Canadians are hard workers and talented and that just speaks for itself.
Where are you heading on tour? Where can we catch you?
Tour dates will be announced really soon at Domaniquegrant.com and I can’t wait to share.
Will you visit the U.K. this year and see us?
I’ll definitely be in the U.K. in 2019: another adventure that will be a first! We may be there sooner, though. I’ve heard incredible things about visiting and, aside from the incredible talent and fans there, you guys have this amazing chocolate with cornflakes that I can’t find anywhere else!
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
Finally sharing music with the world and (just) enjoying the process of a lot of firsts - including my first E.P., my first tour stops and more. I get butterflies thinking about it.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
I’d say one of my favourite memories was doing my first TED Talk. It was on my bucket list and it was an experience that I’ll never forget.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Errr; that’s a tough one there are so many artists that I love. Definitely Sade, Beyoncé or Sia right now…I can’t choose. Just because I’m also a '90s kid I’d have to say that, if the Spice Girls ever did a reunion, I would opt for a sixth spot (smiles).
Rider-wise. Hmm; well, seven random things, in no particular order, would include:
1. Raw honey
2. Marshmallows and liquorice (my embarrassing love)
3. Hot yoga studio
4. Lots of mangoes
5. A puppy (Mariah Carey-style, just to say that I did it…plus, I love animals)
6. Fenty makeup – just in case mine ran out
7. A humidifier
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Create music that you want to hear and be true to yourself (smiles).
IN THIS IMAGE: Chloe x Halle
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
I’m a huge Chloe x Halle fan; though they’re getting pretty popular so I don’t know if they’re new anymore.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Not as much anymore. I love nature and love yoga so I think I’d be somewhere climbing mountains until I got to a dramatic flatbed to stretch in (laughs). That, or binge-watching until the new Game of Thrones season comes out. I also love a good book!
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Fast Car - Tracy Chapman. One of my favourites.
For anyone reading that needs a reminder to live and appreciate exactly where they are...
Follow Domanique Grant