Annabelle Chvostek is a Toronto-based singer-songwriter, composer and producer whose musical achievements range from folk to jazz to indie pop. She has composed music for dance and film, co-written songs with Bruce Cockburn, and was once in the band The Wailin' Jennys.
Born in Toronto, Annabelle began her career as part of Montreal's eclectic arts scene in the 90's and early 2000's, performing regularly at Le Boudoir, a queer, feminist 1920s-inspired cabaret series, and self-releasing four full-length albums between 1997-2003. In 2004 Annabelle joined The Wailin’ Jennys and wrote four songs on the multiple award-winning album Firecracker, which was on the Billboard Bluegrass charts for 69 weeks, peaking at #2. After departing from the Jennys, she released the album Resilience (2008), produced by the Grammy-nominated Roma Baran (Laurie Anderson) and Vivian Stoll, Rise (2012), co-produced with Don Kerr (Rheostatics, Ron Sexsmith), and Be The Media (2015), co-produced with Jeff Oehler of Beehive Productions. Rise was nominated for a Juno Award in the Roots and Traditional Album of the Year category, and both Rise and Resilience were nominated for Contemporary Album of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. Annabelle also co-wrote two songs with Bruce Cockburn for his Juno-winning album A Small Source of Comfort (2011).
In 2015, Annabelle was forced into a slower and quieter pace due to a series of health crises, including an ongoing struggle with severe hearing loss and tinnitus in her left ear triggered by a feedback blast during a soundcheck in England in 2008. Wth support from Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts, she became the artist-in-residence at Toronto's community-based Echo Women's Choir between 2016-18. During this time, she developed skills in choral arrangement, composition and conducting under the mentorship of choral directors, Alan Gasser and Becca Whitla.
In 2017, Annabelle played her first gigs in Montevideo with Fernando on bass and Arturo Chilindron on drums. Annabelle's music was well-received by Uruguayan audiences, inspiring the newly-formed ensemble to deepen their collaboration from within Fernando's diverse musical community. Fernando's arrangements for the upcoming album draw from Uruguayan tango and early jazz-inspired winds. His lyrical orchestral instrumentations on “Walls” and “Halfway Through” were inspired by Canadian producer Bob Ezrin's work on Lou Reed's “Berlin” and Pink Floyd's “The Wall”.
Combining Canadian and Uruguayan songwriting traditions with the nostalgia for eras gone by was a fascinating place for Annabelle, and she believes that there is an openness and desire for a diversity of cultural inputs within the world of roots music. “This tapestry of interweaving cultural histories is very much tied to my own experience growing up in Toronto in an intercultural family, and raising my own daughter in two distinct cultural settings. My experience is by no means unique, and I think the universality of this experience, a very Canadian one, will resonate with a broad audience across cultures and age groups. I think music has the potential to tap into an openness that allows us to listen to new perspectives in unconventional ways, and it is my goal as an artist to think and rethink the ways in which this could be possible.”