Lori Cullen

Her singing is what draws people’s attention. Partly because of the things it lacks. There is no vibrato, trendy accents, or unnecessary melodic ornamentation. Pure and unique beauty. It all began at the Free Times Cafe in the late 1990’s – a vital singer/songwriter incubator for Toronto‚Äôs resilient acoustic scene. She was naturally gifted in performing and hosted the weekly open mic night. This helped her to build a fan base within the local music community. Lori Cullen’s first CD was released at the beginning of a new century. Garden Path was a reflection of her young sensibility, influenced by Jane Siberry and Joni Mitchell. She switched to jazz standards two years later for the highly acclaimed So Much. Uneven Hill, her third album, was a focus on original writing that dramatically expanded the sonic universe. Calling For Rain (2006) brought together all of the elements previously to create a unique blend of jazz and pop, which was her lasting artistic identity. It is a large collection of carefully selected covers and was nominated as a Best Vocal Jazz Juno. The Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award was won by the Ontario Council Of Folk Festivals for one of the original tracks on the album. Chris Dedrick, the revered leader of 60s chamber pop favorites The Free Design, heard Lori and invited her to join him at her next gig. Buttercup Bugle is adorned with his signature vocal arrangements and ornate brass. The album’s 2007 release was celebrated by a live concert featuring a 12-piece band, broadcast on CBC Radio. The Japanese label also signed a licensing agreement for the album. Lori was asked by Owen Pallet, a Polaris Prize winner and Arcade Fire member, to add her distinctive vocals for the second Final Fantasy album. That Certain Chartreuse 2011 featured a diverse selection of covers from artists such as King Crimson and Gordon Lightfoot, all creatively arranged and arranged by Lori and her talented band of Toronto musicians. Kurt Elling, jazz vocalist and jazz singer extraordinaire, acknowledged that Cullen was his favorite new singer in an interview. Soon after the album’s release, she decided to put her career on hold. In 2013, Lori and Kurt Swinghammer, a composer/visual artist, became proud parents. Ron Sexsmith, a long-standing fan of Lori’s, suggested that Kurt Swinghammer and Kurt Swinghammer co-write an album with Lori in mind. Sexsmith Swinghammer songs is the result of an inspired collaboration and will draw attention to Lori’s voice as always. From www.loricullen.com

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