I was born in Alberta, Canada and grew up in a small francophone community north of Edmonton called Morinville (population 2,500).
I was the quietest member of my large extended francophone family. Family gatherings were ear-shattering. If opera is controlled shouting (as one of my vocal teachers told me) then every member of my family was a potential opera singer!
I started guitar lessons when I was 8 and studied classical guitar until 16. I also studied voice at Alberta College for 2 years until enrolling in university where I completed a BA in Psychology. When I finished that degree, I received a Rotary scholarship to live in France for a year. It was an incredible year; I improved my French, rekindled my passion for music and traveled throughout France and Europe.
When I returned to Canada, I completed a Bachelor of Social Work Degree in Calgary, and then worked as a social worker. In 1992 I moved to Vancouver to complete a Master of Social Work Degree, which I received in 1995.
My music career really started in 1997 when I enrolled in the Music Department of Vancouver Community College; I studied classical voice, opera, new music, and improvised music simultaneously.
Starting in 2001, I sang with the Vancouver Opera Chorus for four years. At the same time, I began to perform in the new music and free improv worlds. In 2005, I released my first CD of original songs and improvisations.
As I’ve become more established in Canada’s music scene, many people have asked me if I’m related to Vancouver-based clarinetist François Houle. I’m not! But we have performed together. Houle is a pretty common name for French Canadians…
Lately I’ve been following new directions … interdisciplinary projects … gesture4 (a live art project with Stefan Smulovitz, Noam Gagnon and jamie griffiths) … a duo with pianist and composer Leslie Uyeda … and more of my own compositional work.
I’m also teaching more, both private and group lessons.
Today, I live in the middle of the trees, near a deep ravine and creek on 5 acres that I share with my human and non-humans loves (my husband Stefan, my dog, the bear, deer, slugs, frogs and the birds).