By Chris Putnam
Dee Daniels wants to help others find the courage to follow their passions.
The Canadian jazz vocalist has performed across six continents and shared the stage with countless legends of jazz. This Friday, Oct. 13, she comes to Saskatoon to deliver the 2023 Gail Appel Lecture at the University of Saskatchewan (USask).
Daniels’ lecture, titled “Answering the Call of Spirit,” happens at 12:30 pm at Quance Theatre in the USask Education Building. Tickets are free and available to the public.
What exactly is the call of spirit?
“It's that intuition that we sometimes get—that little voice that we hear. It can be many things,” said Daniels in an interview from her home in Vancouver.
The award-winning singer-songwriter will share stories of times she answered her spirit’s call, along with the unique and fulfilling experiences that resulted.
“I've had many, many, many adventures in my life that were the result of hearing and answering that call,” Daniels said.
Daniels, who was born in Oakland, Calif., first fell in love with fine art. She got as far as completing an art education degree and starting a career as a high school art teacher before she felt the call to pursue music instead.
“It was so strong that it led to me actually quitting teaching in the middle of the school year and getting into a band, which was the best thing I could have done for myself.”
Daniels has also survived multiple bouts with cancer. Rather than let the experience break her, she channeled it into creative expression.
“That was a loud call, but I heard it,” she said.
At her talk hosted by the USask College of Arts and Science, Daniels hopes to show that answering the call of spirit is a conscious choice, and that making the choice can lead to discovering one’s path in life.
“If you have the intention of discovering what it is that's going to bring you joy, I believe it will come to you.”
Daniels is known for her unique vocal approach that blends jazz, gospel and blues stylings. Her recent awards include Spiritual Artist of the Year from the Western Canadian Music Awards, Female Vocalist of the Year (silver medalist) from the Global Music Awards, and Album of the Year from the POP Awards (Germany).
The singer will also perform a special concert with the Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra (SJO) on Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Broadway Theatre. Tickets for that performance are available through the Broadway Theatre website.
Dean McNeill—head of the USask Department of Music, artistic director of the SJO and chair of the lecture series selection committee—said Daniels is the perfect choice for the 2023 Gail Appel Lecture.
“She speaks with a special kind of heartened directness in important ways. She is a great Canadian and a great ambassador for this incredible music we call jazz. We are so very fortunate that she’ll be in our University of Saskatchewan hallways and on the Broadway Theatre stage to sing with the Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra,” McNeill said.
The Gail Appel Lecture Series in Literature and Fine Arts was established in 2002 to highlight arts and literature and bring some of the world’s most distinguished and influential artists to campus. The series is made possible by a donation from Gail Appel and her husband, Mark.
Read more about Dee Daniels at deedaniels.com.