songs from the heart
“I’ve always been a singer. I sang before I could speak. Making up tunes and recording were a big part of my every day life. I never imagined myself being anything else than a singer,” says Loralee of her career, which has taken off. A local superstar and internationally known singer, the talented Loralee has written over 100 songs such as “Down and Out, Old Country Woman, Gotta Get Down, Ferris Wheel, Hush Now Baby, Curious Love, You Make Me Smile.” She crosses over the bridge of blues, jazz and pop effortlessly. Loralee has been seen on film, “The Jilted Brides Club” on stage around the world such as in Paris, France at Le Chat Noir, entertaining crowds singing Opera in Verona, Italy at Arena de Verona, Casino, and closer to the GTA at Casino Rama singing with one of the world’s top Elvis impersonators Gino Monopoli. Nominated in 2013 for best Hamilton Jazz Album, Loralee was the lead vocalist on The Jimmy Stahl Big Band Recording. You can view the website: http://thejimmystahlbigband.com/thejimmystahlbigband.com/Loralee_McGuirl.html Loralee has become known as well for singing incredibly vocally challenging pieces such as “The Diva’s Aria” from the Fifth Element. Captured on film at Hamilton’s Liuna Station in 2012 with Arialist Lori LeMare, you can view the live performance here: http://vimeo.com/37123505
Loralee McGuirl’s life began very humbly. Born November 19, 1980 in Hamilton, Ontario, Loralee is the fifth child. Her parents, Allan and Florrie McGuirl struggled to make ends meet. This hard missionary’s life was the foundation of Loralee’s career, as she began singing before she could talk, according to her mother. By age 10, Loralee was wining vocal awards performing in local shows. “I always wanted to be a singer. It just seemed natural to me,” she said. “Making music is all I’ve ever known.” Loralee heard her sisters playing piano and learned how to play piano mostly by ear until her sisters Ruth and Betty gave her lessons. She accomplished her RCM Gr 8 Piano with only 3 months of formal lessons. She played clarinet for 12 years in her church orchestra and sang in all the musicals and choirs she could at school and in church. Time came for her to decide on a career and all she could think of was singing. She auditioned at McMaster University without a single vocal lesson and after being accepted decided to combine her music skills with art. She was the first person in the history of McMaster to complete a combined honours degree in music and art and vocal performance diploma.
In 1999, Loralee sand with Opera Hamilton and eventually became the representative for Opera Hamilton performing for greats such as Lincoln Alexander. He told her sitting down at the Alexaians one evening, “You’re my favourite Opera singer because you not only know who Billy Holiday is but you can sing God Bless the Child too!” Loralee travelled to Ireland and fell in love with the countryside and the people. Her roots are Irish, Scottish and English. She joined an Irish Band playing piano and singing. Her love for Celtic music grew and can been seen every St Patty’s day at the Irish Canadian Club playing the beloved songs of sailors, the jigs and reels. Loralee has over 200 recordings of original songs and is releasing her newest original album in the fall of 2014.
Loralee was a finalist in the New York Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and was the honoured guest performer in Buffalo for the annual Opera Buffs Banquet. How did Loralee get started in Opera? Funny story… Loralee sang mostly Gospel music growing up since her mother, Florrie McGuirl was the church choir director and her father, Allan McGuirl was a pastor and missionary. Gospel music was all she really knew besides her what her sister Shari introduced her to like the Beatles and James Brown. She loved gospel music because of the harmonies; the soulful feel and she knew all the words. Loralee listened to Oldies 1150 on a radio she won when she was 11 years old in her basement room. The music sounded like it was coming out of a can but she loved singing along to all the tunes even though she found out much later that the lyrics were “Bad Moon on the Rise”, not “Bathroom on the Right”. All the musical genres influenced her style but when she began taking lessons from Lita Classen in 1999, she was introduced to Classical music and even Opera. At first it didn’t seem to gel in her voice but once she began listening to Opera Greats such as Maria Callas and Renee Fleming a new voice emerged within Loralee. This voice was powerful, rich, full, vibrant and enchanting. She sang O Mio Babbino Caro for her teacher imitating the opera singers she was listening to and her teacher was astounded and exclaimed, “That’s the voice! That’s it. Sing this way and you’ve got it!” Loralee grew to love Opera and love the experience of singing Opera because it used her whole body and she found an enormous freedom in using the larger voice. High notes came easily and before long she was performing in concerts singing arias such as “Sempre Libera” from La Traviata. She won numerous awards singing Opera, German Lied and Italian Art Songs and is releasing a CD in 2015 of her favourites. http://music.cbc.ca/#/artists/BHX BIOGRAPHICAL INFO The band expects to release it’s first single and video from the new CD by April 30th, 2014. BOBBY HEBERT EXPERIENCE – CD AND VIDEO RELEASE The Hamilton Spectator referred to the Bobby Hebert Experience as the finest assemblage of Canadian music makers anytime, anywhere. This is the approach the band has now taken as it embarks on a new journey of musical self discovery in the writing and producing of it’s first original CD The music is a blend of the bands musical styles and tastes and features funk, reggae, blues and pop rock in it’s potent and entertaining delivery. Members: Bobby Hebert: Bass Guitar, co-writer, band leader Garry Poplawski: Guitar, co-writer, music director, engineer, backing vocals Bruce Tournay: Keyboards, vocals Paul DeLong: Drums Loralee McGuirl: vocals