Lily Frost is a Canadian singer/songwriter. She was the cocktail lounge darling in Vancouver in the ’90s with her band The Colorifics. She signed solo to Nettwerk Records in 2001 then moved to Toronto to become one of the highest placed artists in T.V. and Film. Her theme song for Being Erica garnered a Gemini Award. Her latest release Retro-Moderne is her 14th album and is spicy and cool like a Hollywood drama.
- What passion project are you working on these days?
I have a 4 person writing team. We co-write on Zoom currently. We all have what the others don’t so it’s a magical mix. It started as a potluck jam and has become a really effective writing group. We write for all sorts of purposes.
- What first inspired you to become a musician/actor/dancer? What was your training?
I come from a family that dabbles in everything. I loved to write poetry, dance, sing, play piano, ride horses, etc.. I was trained in Royal Conservatory piano and went up to grade 8. I danced ballet, tap, modern, and national for many years.
I did want to be a singer but never considered it to be a serious life path until I moved to Montreal for University. I met a bunch of musicians who noticed my ability to write melodies and lyrics. I taught myself the guitar and started singing in a band. I switched from general arts into music.
After singing lounge in Cairo, I moved to Vancouver and formed a band that snowballed in success. I was the right place at the right time. We toured the west coast to L.A. all the time and had a solid following in Vancouver and Seattle. We released 3 original albums before the internet existed.
My original songs slowly started seeping into the mix as my confidence grew. When I moved to Toronto in 2003, I was signed as a solo artist and went on to make 6 albums for that label and was ultimately hired as a staff writer. That led me to co-writes in Nashville and L.A. Now I teach songwriting and the latest release is the best songs from these last couple of years and those international co-writes.
- What are some challenges that you have faced while building a career in the arts and how did you overcome them?
Not having a schedule is a challenge.
Creating my own schedule is crucial to feeling organized and focused. We are our own boss.
Finding privacy within a relationship to write. Unless in the band with someone, it’s hard to have to explain the process. It takes a lot of alone time, contemplation. And you need to focus for hours on end sometimes.
Alcohol. Musicians are paid in alcohol. It’s promoted to drink. Staying away from booze and cigarettes is a challenge as almost everyone does it or did. It is changing in some circles.
Dealing with the uncertainty of the future. There is no insurance in the music business. You just have to keep working and staying relevant and have income. Luckily, I love to keep working.
- What lessons have you learned that has proven the most valuable?
So much I have learned over my 27 years doing what I do and am still learning. I work as a mentor to share this sort of information.
If I just name one thing it would be authenticity. Be yourself. Be real. A hit is something that hits people in the heart.
- What is your WHY? (why do you do what you do?)
I love what I do. Writing songs is like a puzzle for me. It’s also kind of like my religion in the sense that I practice this form of expression and connection and it heals me and others. It is an exchange of energy and my motive is for the betterment ultimately. Even if I express dark emotions or scenarios sometimes or am delving deeply into a character compounded from a few to create the uber character, I am working to depict tales that people can feel and relate to and hopefully feel less alone, more connected and more validated.
I have received numerous letters from people telling me my music helped them through dark times or helped them cry our laugh and this is what makes me continue doing what I do.