Alexei Michailowsky (York University, Canada)


In this paper, I examine how Canadian pop singer Patsy Gallant continually and strategically changed her musical persona in her discography between 1972 and 1984. A virtuosic and versatile vocalist, Gallant explored a variety of expressive vocal techniques in her recordings from this period. She also experimented with the different sounds and expressive qualities of the English and French languages. As a result, she used record production strategies to play with a fluid artistic persona and offer a myriad of meanings and experiences to her listeners.

For this research, I will study Gallant’s voice on four different moments, analyzing the musical arrangements and production of her recordings. The audio from the original vinyl records will be digitized and enhanced with audio processing tools. Special focus will be given to vocal expression, use of language and lyrics. I will then interview Gallant regarding these elements of her recordings to provide a first-hand account on her artistic vision and creative process. I will contextualize my findings using both scholarly and media texts about Gallant, developments in Canadian popular music, and the music genres with which the artist identifies. The conclusions will highlight the importance of vocal use in the development of Patsy Gallant’s artistic persona and contribute to larger discussions in popular music studies about political economy and genre, particularly in the Canadian context.