A fast rising star in the pop music scene, Windsor born and raised Christee Palace is turning heads with her catchy pop hooks, energetic live performances and her electric teal coloured hair. Ever since her 2016 debut EP Alive Today produced three successful singles, garnering significant air play on Canadian radio stations, the vivacious performer has been driven to push that success further by moving to Toronto and surrounding herself with some of the best in the business. Her most recent release, the 4 track EP Harden My Heart has done very well with both the title track and the song Love Me in the Dark getting well over 100,000 listens each on Spotify. This month she is opening for Walk Off The Earth at two of their upcoming Canadian dates, one a home coming at Caesar’s Windsor, Christee took some time from her busy schedule to talk with us at 519.
Hi Christee! You’re having a very good year and it’s great to have a chance to talk to you about that and also to talk a bit about you personally for people who may not know you. You come from a very musical family, your dad is fairly well known in the Windsor community. Are there others besides your dad who encouraged you and when did you realize music was going to be your career?
Yes, I definitely come from a VERY musical family. Pretty much everyone in my family is involved in music in some capacity. My dad’s experience and expertise definitely rubbed of on me when I was really young. He introduced me to everything that I know now. I would say he’s my biggest influence and he is the reason I am where I am today, hands down. I have always had such an encouraging support system around me since I was young, but especially once I made it known that I wanted to pursue this as a career. My mom has always been my go-to person whenever I have had any doubts about my choice to do this, and I always have her words of encouragement in the back of my mind throughout this entire process. It really wasn’t until University that I knew I would be doing this as my career. I always knew since I was younger that I wanted this, but I never thought it could happen. As I started taking more opportunities and realizing what I am capable of, I knew I had to give it a shot.
What musicians or bands inspired you? You do a 90’s pop medley, is that a clue or is there a lot more to your influences?
Aside from the obvious, my biggest musical influence has always been Avril Lavigne since grade 4. Throughout the years, there were others like Hayley William from Paramore, Kelly Clarkson, Fefe Dobson, Demi Lovato, Sara Bareilles and many others that I would practice my singing to, or get songwriting inspiration from. There’s so many artists/bands that I have always looked up to. I ﬁnd my influences are ever changing in the pop realm throughout the last 5 years. I am a proud 90’s baby for sure! That medley was sort of a cool way of highlighting some of the music I grew up listening to that are some classic throwback tunes. I wouldn’t say any of those songs/artists/bands particularly inspired me, but they definitely take me back to when I was younger when music ﬁrst started meaning something to me.
Things seemed to really pick up for you with your EP Alive Today. Your songs from that EP are great, particularly Light It Up has a great energy. Did you do all the writing for that yourself?
Thank you! Alive Today was my ﬁrst EP ever, and it was produced/engineered by Marty Bak of SLR Studios, and my dad did the initial demoing at the Canadian Conservatory of Music on the tracks. That project means a lot to me to this day, because it was the beginning of this entire journey. I LOVE Marty!!! He really helped bring my creative vision for those songs to life, and really made me aware of my potential as a songwriter/artist. What is even more special is the fact that I wrote all of the songs myself. It was the beginning of me ﬁguring out exactly who I am as an artist, and I am proud to say all of those songs were 100% written by me.
Light It Up was actually not a part of this EP, but it was a follow up single. That song I think was the turning point of my career— I really just reached a point where I said “screw it” and decided to go for this with everything I have in me. Light It Up to this day is my very own personal anthem that helps me believe in myself.
You also have great videos! A lot of independent artists will ruin a good song with cheap hastily produced videos. You had Gavin Michael Booth and Ryan Brough produce Out Of Time and Light It Up. How did you hook up with that talent?
Working with Gavin was so incredible. I had heard of him for years around Windsor for his incredible ﬁlm directing, and I had been hoping to work with him for a long time. Gavin and I actually started talking and saying how we wanted to work on a project together, so we made it happen! Out of Time was my FIRST official music video and I wanted it to be something light hearted, funny, and obviously great quality. It was amazing working with him and he did such a great job. He was living in LA at the time, so I was so grateful for the opportunity to work with him, and he came to Windsor just to ﬁlm it. I knew that one day he was going to be a famous ﬁlm director even though in my mind he already was, so I did NOT want to pass up that opportunity. SO talented.
Ryan is a great friend of mine and obviously a fantastic videographer. I had known of Ryan since high school, and started working with him on a few photoshoots, and shortly after a few music videos. He is SUCH a cool dude with a strong creative vision for all of his projects. Ryan just gets me, and understands the type of person that I am and wants to make sure that he helps to showcase that in all of my videos. He conveniently also lives in Toronto, so working with him is a breeze. He has now directed and shot my last 3 music videos.
You decided to move to Toronto after the success of Alive Today and to work with a new team and it appears to have really paid off. What has this new team brought to your music?
Thank you! I can definitely say that I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for making the move here a year ago. SO much has happened in just one year.. it’s so crazy!
My team is my family. They look out for me and want what’s best for me as an artist, and for my career. My songwriting, live performance, and overall branding have just reached a new level since moving here. I’m so grateful for them!
Love Me In The Dark and Harden My Heart have both gotten a lot of listens on Spotify. Where are your fans geographically and have you ever toured outside of Canada or considered it?
They have done really well! It’s so humbling to know that many people have heard my songs and are continuously listening. Geographically, most of my fan base is in Canada. I have always wanted to tour outside of Canada (and other places in Canada that I haven’t been to yet, too). I am definitely working on accomplishing that very soon.
You opened for Walk OF The Earth in Windsor and Kitchener this month. You must be really excited! How did that come about?
Oh, I am SOOOO excited. You have no idea!
First off, Caesar’s Windsor has blessed me with so many incredible opportunities since I was 19. I’m just so grateful to be able to perform on the Colosseum stage in my hometown. I’ve been dreaming of that for years. The Kitchener show I recently found out is SOLD OUT! Isn’t that crazy?! I’m so pumped for both of the shows!!
This all came about through a combination of the buzz I had created in Toronto and some connections. It’s honestly just proof that moving to Toronto was the right thing— that, in combination with working hard and constantly pushing myself forward with opportunities.