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Unlikely pair

Singer/songwriter Meredith Shaw finds musical partner in Big Sugar’s frontman
By Ann Ruppenstein

August 21, 2012

Neighbourhoods: Leslieville

Originally published in our Beach-South Riverdale print edition(s).

press-photograph-meredith1.jpg
Singer songwriter Meredith Shaw’s friendship with Big Sugar front man Gordie Johnson has led to many musical endeavours.

“We just clicked instantly and I never thought that Canada’s sort of rock and roll guitar god would be the guy who was going to produce my lovely little record but it certainly worked out really well,” Shaw says from her Leslieville home. “I went down to Austin, we drank some tequila and ate some really great Mexican food and made a record at Willie Nelson’s studio and it was kind of a dream come true.”

After working on Place Called Happy Johnson brought her out on the road for a cross country tour and on stage nightly for a mash-up of her single “Acted Badly” with the band’s “Turn The Lights On.” Recently she co-wrote three songs for the latest Big Sugar release
Revolution Per Minute including the current single “Little Bit A All Right.”

“He’s done many things for me but the bottom line is he completely changed my musical life,” Shaw says.

When she’s not singing, Shaw can be heard as a host on radio station Boom 97.3 and found running her illustrated product line of greeting cards, mugs and chocolates called Muffymade. Although she enjoys all three ventures and plans on pursuing them all, music is her heart and soul, she says.

“Music is where you can hurt me,” she says. “If you don’t like my stick people, fine, okay. If you don’t like my album that could hurt.”

Her degree in Theatre and Music from Queen’s University and performance experience over the years in lead roles, like Evil Dead The Musical, Cabaret, Little Shop of Horrors and Rocky Horror Picture Show, has come in handy while touring, she says.

“That vocal training and that kind of stamina was really helpful because you are getting a couple of hours sleep then you are doing a day of press. Then you are doing a show so your voice can get really beat up and really tired,” she says. “It’s hard to get in front of people so every time you do it it’s a little more comfortable so I definitely draw on all of that.”

Shaw, who recently released the video for her single “Stars,” will be collaborating with Johnson again this summer when he’ll shoot the video for “Acted Badly.” Although her film and theatre background has helped her feel comfortable in front of the camera, it’s also responsible for adding to her workload, she says.

“I love thinking of concepts and playing with makeup and colours and wardrobe,” she says. “I really enjoy that whole process so I probably take on a little too much with it.”

Loving Leslieville

After receiving a listing for a Leslieville loft while she was in Brooklyn, singer Meredith Shaw made a viewing appointment for when she’d be back in the city later that day. With luggage in hand, she saw the dwelling and within two hours it was her home.

“It was a quick decision and I never regretted it for a second,” she says.

Although she frequents many local establishments, she’s currently focused on two tasty eateries, both of which were started by friends.

Leslieville Pumps, 929 Queen St. E.
“Leslieville Pumps is a great new luxury gas station I guess you can call it,” she says. “Amazing food, smoked meat sandwiches, just a really fun old fashioned pumping station.”

Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken, 913 Queen St. E.
“There’s another restaurant opening up called Paulette’s,” she says. “That’s like fried chicken and donuts. I’m sure it’s going to make me totally unhealthy but I can’t wait for it.”

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