A local theatre buff has tripped into life as a rock star with Australian band Sonicanimation.
Nadine Tremblay, at times known locally as Liz Stephens from “Ski Bum: The Musical” or an Andrews Sister with “Company Jump,” has taken on a new persona with musical partner and boyfriend Rupert Keiller.
Keiller began working as a DJ in the early 1990s, primarily performing in Australia, where he flooded the Melbourne music scene alongside band mate Adrian Cartwright (who is no longer part of the group).
Eight years since the group’s last album, Tremblay now adds her voice as co-writer and singer to Sonicanimation’s latest “Once More From the Bottom,” which was released in March of this year.
The 34-year-old was star struck this spring, when they toured the East Coast of Australia and performed in front of millions.
She is not exiting the theatre stage per say but trying her hand at a new venue.
Mixing music and flexing her vocal chords under Sonicanimation, she’s known as “Sexton Blake,” which means fake in Cockney.
“The first time I DJ’d I was constantly pressing the synch button instead of beat matching properly. This is essentially cheating by most DJ standards and so I thought the name was fitting,” she explained. “It is also the name of a fictional character in numerous mystery novels and I like the sound of it.”
Greater Trail has liked the sound of Tremblay for nearly a decade.
With a degree in opera and a certificate in musical theatre from the Canadian College of performing Arts in Victoria, Tremblay has been delighting the local crowds musically in a variety of ways.
She has performed and directed with the Gold Fever Follies and has taught musical theatre and tap at Turning Pointe Dance Studio and Rossland Recreation, with the occasional workshop with Steps Dance. She also co-directed the Rossland Glee Club, “an amateur group of local singers who like to sing an eclectic repertoire to occasional jazz hands.”
In her first and only show with the Rossland Light Opera Players, Tremblay played her dream role of Maria in “The Sound of Music.”
The usher at the Charles Bailey Theatre was nominated for B.C. Artist of the Year in 2012 for her tribute to the Andrew Sisters in “Company Jump.” The Rossland resident co-wrote, produced and performed the 1940s swing-music styles at least 10 times at Music in the Park in Trail and Castlegar, the BC Seniors Games and all across the East and West Kootenay.
After meeting other professional performers in Rossland, Tremblay co-found Iron Mountain Theatre – original musical theatre from the Alpine City.
The group’s most popular show to date, “Ski Bum: The Musical,” toured resort towns across the province. But other hits like “White Star Lady,” “Mennonite Mafia,” “Tribute to Mining,” and the most recent “Electro Social Club” were also successful offspring.
She adores musical theatre but grapples with the overhead involved.
“This is not to say that the life of a musician earns me a living but logistically it is way easier,” she explained. “You don’t need to book shows two to three years ahead of time, design a set, create costumes, write a script and create a lighting plot . . . you just grab your instruments, computer, passport, electronic press kit and go.”
Performing on the fly is what Sonicanimation is all about. The group explores all musical genres—including hip hop, funk and rock – and delivers in a high-energy show.
“We are not to be taken too seriously as the music is pretty humorous and tongue and cheek,” said Tremblay. “I like it for that reason.”
The new album explains why Keiller was at the bottom — or at least what he considered the bottom with jobs sucking his soul, bitter relationships and the bank knocking at his door.
That isn’t the case anymore. Prior to meeting Tremblay, Keiller finally reached a point in his life where he was comfortable being himself and was content on his own. Of course when he wasn’t looking for love, he found it.
Tremblay’s drive only further encouraged him to get back to his music.
“Nadine is one of those gems that is very rare. She has this amazing, engaging dynamic presence on stage and people are immediately attracted to her,” he said. “She’s not afraid of being goofy and theatrical, which really fits in with what Sonic is known for.
“In contrast to that, she can have a real serious side and the ability to deliver our more serious songs with emotion and conviction. Basically she rocks.”
The group is still making its mark in the Canadian music scene with its next show at the Spirit Bar on Aug. 31, when they’ll be opening for Das Humans. With their newest album picking up popularity in iTunes, Tremblay and Keiller have turned their attention to their next project.
“In the end, I think my experience with musical theatre makes me a better performer, regardless,” said Tremblay. “Everything is a bit better with a little attention to detail, polishing and dramatic flare.”
She hopes to continue developing as a musician while still living in Greater Trail.
“I owe a lot to this area for allowing me to continue doing what I know how to do and for supporting all my crazy endeavours,” she said. “I also appreciate the amazing raw talent that local amateur groups possess as that truly inspires me but I am starving for some professional development and I’m running out of skills to offer the area.”
To learn more visit, sonicanimation.com