Local musician and singer Jenny Gauvreau was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie.
She spent much of her life here in the area with the exception of a few years where she “wandered around southern Ontario.”
The well-known singer, songwriter and piano player came to music naturally being from a family of musicians.
“I’ve been involved with music my whole life,” she says.
“My parents are also musicians. So for me, there was a natural gravitation towards music.”
Gauvreau started piano lessons at the age of eight.
“I was also involved in choir at that time and played flute in my elementary school’s band,” she laughs.
She eventually grew into a proficient piano player and vocalist and became a long-time instructor at Case’s Music.
She also began performing live with local bands.
“I’ve played with various cover bands in the Sault from pop/rock [That 90s Band] to jazz [Peach Thieves],” she says.
“I also do some solo performances and once in a while I will play an original tune.”
A few years back, Gauvreau decided to return to school to get her Bachelor of Arts in Language Arts and Elementary Teaching.
“I’m set to graduate from Lake Superior State University this spring and begin my teaching career in the public sector.”
Despite a change in her professional career, music still remains a passion.
In recent years, Gauvreau recorded background vocals for local prog-rock band, Machines Dream, on their Black Science album.
It was that connection that inadvertently led her to become the lead singer for an international band called The Overdrive Club.
Craig West, lead singer and bass player for Machines Dream worked with producer and artist, Will Geraldo who runs Cantara Lab, a production studio in São Paulo, Brazil. Geraldo had mastered the prog band’s Black Science and Revisionist History albums.
Geraldo had also been working with songwriter Gus Angrisani, also from São Paulo, who just happened to be looking for a singer for his musical project.
“[Craig] recommended me and a few other singers to record a demo to the title track [of the project]. They were looking for a singer for the whole album,” she says.
“Before recording, I wanted to get to know a little about the project and the sound they were aiming for. That is when I met Gus over Facebook Messenger.”
The pair immediately hit it off and began talking about the songs.
“[The songs] are based on a screenplay Gus wrote about a dystopian future with classist/racist segregation and an artist-hero who begins a war on the ruling class,” she says.
Angrisani offered Gauvreau the opportunity to begin working together in The Overdrive Club and on the album that would eventually come to be known as Signal Fire.
“It was a real pleasure working on Gus’ songs,” she says.
“I had provided background vocals for others’ projects in the past, but I’ve never done a project of this magnitude before. Gus has a writing style that is energizing and he was always open to my ideas and interpretations… and ultimately we ended up with an album that we both feel incredibly connected to and proud of. I learned a lot throughout the process.”
Through the process of recording the album, Angrisani introduced Gauvreau to another São Paulo musician Rafa Freitas, who also participated in the project.
“Rafa is a wonderful musician who was added to the project later on. We met over messenger as well.”
For Gauvreau, the experience of recording vocals on Signal Fire was very “liberating.”
“I felt free to expand beyond my typical styles,” she said.
“Sometimes I find that I limit myself needlessly and I think it’s tied to reputation and expectations. Working with virtual strangers in another continent allowed me to embrace parts of myself, my voice that I have been wary of or shy about in the past.”
The experience has had a lasting positive impact on Gauvreau.
“That’s a gift this project has given me, perhaps for the rest of my life as a performer.”
Although The Overdrive Club is currently a studio-only project, and Gauvreau has never met the other players in person, she feels a strong connection to the music and hopes to meet her bandmates face-to-face one day.
“Gus is currently writing a second album,” she says.
“He says it’s a big departure from Signal Fire, more modern. I am not sure if I will be singing for this or not, but I hope so.”
What is for sure is that the next musical project for Gauvreau is a solo album.
“I’ve been working on it for what can only be described as an embarrassingly long amount of time,” she laughs.
“I do think it’s time to prioritize my own work.”
The Overdrive Club’s debut album Signal Fire can be heard on most major streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer.