Volume 93, Issue x
Wednesday, March 18, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Damhnait Doyle! She's good!
Photo by Margaret Malandruccolo
JUST THINK HOW RUBBER DUCKY FELT WHEN HE REALIZED DAMHNAIT COULD MAKE BATHTIME FUN ALL ON HER OWN. East Coast singer Damhnait Doyle stops in town to share her happy thoughts and promote her latest album, Hyperdramatic.
By Matt Pearson
"Da-Ven-Net," explains 24 year-old, singer/songwriter Damhnait Doyle. "It's Irish-Gaelic, it means baby deer." After a conversation with the energetic and articulate Newfoundland native, one thing is for certain she's no "baby deer" when it comes to music.
On the road tirelessly promoting her upcoming release, Hyperdramatic, available in stores next month, Doyle appears confident and self-assured. She attributes this partly to her roots and her involvement in both music and acting, which stems back to her childhood. "Ever since I started to crawl, walk, out of the womb it's something that I've always known I was born to do," she says.
Raised in St. John's, where she studied classical voice and sang in a choir, Doyle soon released her first album, Shadows Wake Me, at the tender age of 20.
The record received modest praise from critics, garnering her a Juno nomination for Best New Solo Artist along the way. Although she has since left Newfoundland for Toronto, she admits that being raised on the East Coast has had a definite impact on her life. "It has absolutely shaped me as a human," she says. "That sense of isolation really tempers people's character, sense of humour and outlook on life."
When talking about her new album, Doyle willingly admits it is a departure from her previous effort. "This record is me," she says. "These last couple of years, I've just been so blatantly honest with my pen."
A large part of this departure has to do with the instrumentation and layering techniques used on the album, which are direct results of Doyle's close relationship with album producer, Dave Hodge. "These are the sounds of my main man, Dave. We did all of the pre-production in a studio in his bedroom in Montréal and then we went into a studio in Toronto and laid down tracks."
At the same time, Doyle maintains a positive relationship with her record company, EMI Music. Although the label participated in the distribution of her first album, Hyperdramatic is technically her major label debut. While Doyle values the support system and friendships that she has formed at EMI, she still realizes that music is a business. "I have this great infrastructure around me now to get my music out to people, but in the same sense, it's a little more bureaucratic," she smiles.
The driving force behind Doyle's new album is her lyrics. She is candid, honest and vulnerable. While some songs touch on past relationships that have soured, most reflect her generally positive outlook. When asked what these relationships have taught her, Doyle's response is quite thoughtful.
"I have learned that you have to absolutely, completely know yourself and give yourself time to learn who you are inside and out before you can possibly give that to someone else."
Doyle goes on to comment that even her most personal songs come across in a live environment. "I can't believe how well they are translating live," she says. "It's not upsetting me to sing these very personal songs because they change, they mutate every night, which is a good thing because if I had to put myself in that same head space for every single song, I'd be checking myself into a ward in the day."
The tour, which officially began earlier this month, will likely bring Doyle back to London for a show sometime in March.
For a woman with so much on her plate, Doyle still finds time for what she loves. She is an avid reader, enjoys all kinds of recorded and live music and most of all, relishes spending time with her friends and family. It is clear that Damhnait Doyle truly appreciates her position in life.
"I'm just always having fun. I get to do what some people have to save their time for as a hobby, I get to do that all day."
Copyright © The Gazette 2000