At first listen you may think that the silky alto gliding into your ears is that of British songstress Des’ree or neo-soul trend-setter Jazmine Sullivan. But when you take time to savor the voice, follow it through its highs and lows, enjoy how each note is brought to a sumptuous conclusion, you’ll realize it’s a novel voice unlike any other RnB voice you’ve heard. Lina Gatineau is her own kind of artist. Born to a bi-racial couple, she grew up in a Montreal suburb where she attended elementary school. It wasn’t until she went to high school that the color divide dawned on Lina. But what intrigued her was how similar mankind really is underneath the melanin. After her schooling the soon-to-be soul diva came away with an appreciation of the fact that regardless of background, no human being is immune from the need to be loved and be happy. And boy does it show in her infectiously jovial comportment.
Later she would leave Montreal for Los Angeles to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA). The music bug infected her as a child from listening to her choir director aunt and sampling her Jazzaholic dad’s expansive collection. And it wouldn’t let go. If you’ve watched a recent rendition of the award-winning musical Ragtime, the lady playing Sarah may well have been Lina Gatineau; this is one of numerous pieces she has performed in.
Her energetic, bubbly personality comes through in her strong yet mellow vocals but make no mistake about it, Lina has seen her fair share of heartbreaks and disappointments. But the tough lessons life has dealt the Canadian diva have only served to strengthen her resolve, besides providing fuel for her prodigious writing. “I believe that the two best things to experience…is heartbreak and failure,” she says. “Also, a relationship gone wrong makes for great song writing!” And in the sample cut ‘Frontin’, you can feel the pain pouring out of her soul. The verses Lina pens are really an extension of the sentiments stored in a series of journals she’s written faithfully for years. She sees herself as an eternal student of life and therefore takes notes to capture the lessons life dispenses on love, people, politics and any other subject that pokes at her curious nature. Look out for a book from this creative soul in the not-too-distant future.
Gatineau’s compositions betray her musical influences. Apart from the neo-soul/RnB divas mentioned, Lina’s connection to jazz is evident in the ballade sample ‘Let it go’. She grew up hooked on the works of Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Whitney Houston. Even while she honed her craft at the prestigious AADA, she had already decided she wanted to follow the narrow path charted by these musical legends. But Lina wasn’t going to pigeon-hole herself into any one genre; she’s even dabbled in a bit of opera along her musical peregrinations.
Far from being a fleeting entertainer, the Montreal native has the air of a visionary. Her message? “…I feel that in such a divided and chaotic society, it’s imperative that we come together to create positive change.” Her slender frame and bountiful curly locks belie a fiery spirit that is zealous about unifying the world through music. If she carries on preaching her message with the power and grace she so naturally exudes, nothing will stop Lina Gatineau from getting the world’s attention, and the Grammy that surely has her name on it.
Lina is now in New York working hard on her soon to be released debut EP ‘Introducing Linah Gatineau’ as well as gigging around the Big Apple. Her band is currently auditioning for a place in the 2013 Afropunk Battle of the Bands. You can vote for her here.
Miami Based International Known