Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Behind the scene, at my local cafe

Pour la version française de ce blogue, lisez:

"Don't wait for an opportunity to be all that you want to be. When an opportunity to be more than you are now is presented and you're impelled toward it, take it."          – Wallace D. Wattles

This quote from a Victorian motivator seems to me like the best action plan for anyone who wants to accomplish anything (including writing a guide). 

We've been so brainwashed into believing that one's got to always "think big" that we're often blind to all of the small opportunities right under our nose. Ultimately, it's the combination of all the small actions we take daily which results in the successful outcome of a project. 

And I found a great example of this attitude into action in Te Aro, my local café in Leslieville.

Next time you visit and notice a pretty blonde with soft eyes, a radiant smile and an Australian accent behind the counter, say hello to Natasha Bouchard.

New in town
Born in the Ville de La Tuque, to a Québécois father and an Australian mother (who couldn't take the cold winters anymore and moved the family to Australia), Natasha returned to Canada in 2010, her first stop being Montréal (where she learned French!). She then chose to move to Toronto in 2012.

When she heard me place an order (I'm a francophone from Montréal), she switched to a relatively fluid French with a lovely accent. We kept at it every time I'd show up at the café and that's how I learned that she's a singer/songwriter. I checked her out on MySpace and was charmed by her sweet voice and the discreet but solid mastery of her guitar.

Working in the zone (of influence)
At the door of Te Aro, we can see a poster announcing Natasha Bouchard's coming show (her first in Toronto) on Friday February 1st at the restaurant/lounge House of Moments.

Working behind a counter in a cool coffee shop has its advantages! Her poster is well in sight (as are her promo postcards at the cashier, which she hands to the customers parading all day long in front of the counter) and the café allows her to sell her tickets on the premises. But it doesn't stop there.

"I've had amazing support from the community!", marvels Natasha as she sits in front of me for the interview after a long shift. Right on cue, a customer entering the café cracks a joke at her as he passes behind her.

In just a few months, the friendly singer has quietly woven cordial relations with a network of customers (you find lots of skilled people in Leslieville cafés). She's genuinely interested in people. And they gladly return the favour. That's why I'm writing this blog right now. And I'm not the only one  caring to give her a hand. See for yourself.

Everywhere she asked, local businesses put her poster up. A customer offered to take photos during her show, to build her portfolio and have more stock for her website (which another customer is currently building). Another one will be filming during the performance so she has decent clips to post on YouTube, the bass player in her new band is also a customer. Even the local naturopath brought her drops to boost her immune system so she's in top shape on the D day!

And to think that when she arrived here eight months ago, she knew one person.

Modest, she is...
Digging on the Internet, I found out that she's had great local success in Australia with a band she formed with her brother. I also learned that Canadian Tom Cochrane and his wife liked her songs so much that they invited her for a full week to record demos of her songs in their cottage-studio.

Natasha almost failed to tell me that she was recently awarded a recording grant and will soon collaborate with internationally acclaimed Producer Pierre Marchand (dealing with the likes of Sarah McLachlan and Rufus Wainwright).

Toute seule, she isn't!
On her poster, we can read "Toute seule" (meaning "all by myself"). I asked about it, she laughed and explained that there was nothing she could do about this as the text is embedded in the photo which was originally created for the cover of her solo CD.

On Friday, February 1st, she'll be far from alone as she will first play with a cellist, followed by songs with her band comprising keyboards, bass and drums. Her colleague barista Chris Chekan will open the show at 8 p.m.

You can get your $12 discounted ticket directly at Te Aro or pay $15 at the door on the evening of the show (cash only)

House of Moments (386 Carlaw Ave., north of Queen East) is a cool restaurant/lounge with sculpted buddhahs and ancient chiselled doors. Food and drinks will be during the event.

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Intrigued by the book writing adventure? 
Read my posts on the making of Toronto Urban Strolls... for girlfriends 2.


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  2. What a great evening! I went to see Natasha Bouchard's show, along with 160 other fans, the most guests the room could handle in House of Moments. Natasha and her band gave a great performance and she entertained us with witty stories between songs.