Halifax Jazz Festival 2018 | Interview | Stingray Rising Stars

By: ArianeMon, 07/16/2018

Our Stingray Rising Stars program continues its summer road trip across Canada! We stopped in beautiful Halifax from July 10 to 15 to attend the TD Halifax Jazz Festival, a longstanding Stingray Music partner.

The TD Halifax Jazz Festival, formerly known as the Atlantic Jazz Festival, is the oldest jazz festival and largest summer festival in Atlantic Canada. Each year, the festival attracts up to 55,000 visitors, involves 450 volunteers, and employs over 350 local musicians.

This year, the Stingray Rising Stars finalists were: Chelsea McBride Socialist Night School, Emie R Roussel Trio, Benjamin Deschamps Quintet, The Blue Lane and Willem Paynter & The Hardbop Collective


Emie R Roussel Trio was chosen through a two-tiered process of peer assessment and online voting. Stingray Music awarded them with a $3,000 bursary to advance their career. Online voting took place at www.halifaxjazzfestival.ca/vote and at the Stingray Music booth at the Waterfront Stage. Close to 2,000 people voted online this year and over 500 festivalgoers on site. The winner was announced, Sunday, July 15, from the Waterfront Stage. Thank you to all who cast their votes online or visited the Stingray Music booth at the Waterfront Stage!

About the winners:


The Emie R Roussel Trio won the 2015 Félix for Jazz Album of the Year for their 3rd album, Quantum, and the 2013‑14 Opus prize for Jazz Album of the Year for their preceding release, TRANSIT. The trio has experienced a dizzying ascent since 2010, and is now an unstoppable force in the Canadian jazz scene. With Emie R Roussel on piano (Révélation Radio-Canada Jazz 2014-2015), Nicolas Bédard on bass, and Dominic Cloutier on drums, the trio delivers creative and captivating jazz with passion and undeniable chemistry.


The trio is no stranger to accolades for its music from both industry and music fans having garnered Special Mention from the jury of the TD Grand Jazz Award at the 34th Montreal Jazz Fest, and winning the Audience Choice Award at the 2013 Festi Jazz International de Rimouski. The group has not only been doing more and more concerts in Canada but has begun making its mark around the world, winning admiration in eleven countries and on four continents.  During a 2014 tour of Australia and New Zealand, they performed at the Melbourne Women’s International Jazz Festival and in the cities of Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland and Wellington.

We sat down with Emie from the Emie R Roussel Trio to tell us more about their win:

What is your earliest musical memory?

Coming from a musical family, there was always music in the house. I have a lot of musical memories; listening to my father practicing (he is also a pianist) and following my parents at their concerts. Falling asleep at night with headphones on my head, I would listen to The Köln concert of Keith Jarrett or sometimes hear the students at the musical school that my parents had in the basement of our house. 

Where/When did you start playing professionally?

My first professional gig was at the age of 15, where I would accompany a choir at the piano. By the time I was in college, I had already been doing some jazz gigs and started my trio during my last year at the university. The Trio’s first album was launched in 2010 when I was 22.

Who are your main influences?

When I was young, I listened to lots of Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett. My current influences are mostly Brad Mehldau, Robert Glasper, Avishai Cohen, Esperanza Spalding, Kevin Hays, D’Angelo, Jill Scott, Lianne La Havas, Laura Mvula, Peter Gabriel, Sting and Radiohead.

How did you come to play at the Halifax Jazz Festival?

We heard about the TD Halifax Jazz Festival a long time ago. It was our first opportunity to do a summer Canada’s jazz fest tour this year. We also played in Winnipeg and in Montreal during this tour.


What do you plan to do with the Stingray Rising Stars bursary?

With the 10th anniversary of the Trio coming up, it will definitely be a plus with all projects that we have in mind like a new album and videos.

Thank you so much Stingray Music!


For more information regarding the Stingray Rising Stars program, click here.

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