How does Sarah Slean prepare for Festival d’été de Quebec?

Slean on seducing the festival's audience


Despite suffering “painfully terrible bouts of stage fright,” Sarah Slean is bringing her cabaret pop to Quebec City’s Festival d’été on July 10, 2012. She will be playing songs from her latest album Land & Sea, and favourites like “Sweet Ones.”

She admits playing a festival is harder than the average show.

“If you’re playing your own headlining show, the audience is usually already very familiar with you; they know all the words. Festivals are often different, especially in Quebec. There is a bit of seduction that has to go on. You have to sort of be like ‘Hey, look at me, listen to me!’” she says.

“In Quebec, in particular, they’re such an incredible audience. I recently toured with Ian Kelly, and we went everywhere in Quebec. I was bowled over by how amazing and receptive the crowds were. They were just so into music—really, really into it. Toronto has this sort of jaded thing about it sometimes; the audience has crossed arms. But Quebec is amazing for the enthusiasm, just the general feel of the crowd. I’m so excited to play in Quebec City. I’ve been practicing my French as well.”

So what does Slean do to prepare for a show?

“If I’m with a band, we all have to have eye contact, aligning that we’re there and acknowledging each other,” she says.

“Putting on makeup and my stage wear is a really essential psychological step. I feel like I’m personally pretty introverted. I would even venture to say a shy person, so putting on the clothing and the face is psychologically saying, ‘Okay. Now I am this person. Now I am The Baroness.’ It’s just a good shift because you feel your internal energies picking up steam. You’re getting your spirit ready for something bigger than reality.”

Slean will play at Impérial de Québec on Tuesday, July 10 at 8pm.

Stay tuned for the December 2012 issue when Slean answers our questions about her upcoming musical, her new tour and her love for Halifax.

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