By Brandon Gillet
Since she was five years old, uOttawa student Ferline Regis has poured her heart and soul into singing. Originally from Haiti, she came to Canada 15 years ago and enrolled in the bachelor of music program, with a second major in arts administration.
Regis held an album launch party on Oct. 10 for her debut album, Tout a changé. The event also featured Vocem and Les Soeurs Lafleur from Ottawa and Xperience from Montreal.
“It went better than I expected. The crowd was amazing and all the performers did very well,” said Regis. “People are very excited about the album and it was very touching to have my family there to witness this event.”
Regis says her love for gospel stems from singing in church with her father, who died in 2002. Her album is deeply inspired by her faith and the memory of her dad.
“I know he would want me to keep pushing, so that shows in a couple of the songs,” she said. “I became emotional while talking (at the launch) about how my dad would have been proud if he was alive to see this moment.”
The album is mainly gospel but includes elements of jazz and kompa, a style of music from Haiti. Eighty percent of the tracks are sung in French, with the remainder sung in a mix of English and French.
“I sing some pop but mostly gospel,” Regis said. “I remember singing in church with my dad. He was the first one to teach me because he loved to sing.”
Here at uOttawa she has performed at events like the noon-hour concerts in Freeman Hall and she has organized several events in Alumni Auditorium. One such event was a Black History Month show that traced the footsteps of black gospel music.
Prior to recording her album, Regis ran a singing school for five years. She put that on hold while working on the album. Regis now hopes that her studies will help her to expand on her business model.
“It’s a vocal training school for more than just gospel music. It’s also for pop, blues and jazz,” she said.
Regis hopes that her music inspires people. She is also grateful for the launch of her album, which will give people the opportunity to hear her music.
“My wish is that my music will give people hope and help them keep the faith,” said Regis. “I went through a lot in my life, many obstacles, but what kept me going was knowing that tomorrow will be better. That’s the message of the album — don’t stop, keep going.”
Regis will be performing at the Lights! Camera! Cure! benefit event at Algonquin Commons Theatre on Oct. 22 and at the Grand rassemblement of the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario on Oct. 24 at the Sony Centre in Toronto.