By Will Yannacoulias
Saskatoon based Metis singer-songwriter Fabian Villeneuve has had an exciting 2021. Following the release of his first single, “In This World Or The Other”, Villeneuve has enjoyed steady radio play from CBC, MBC and Saskatoon’s Rock 102 FM. The radio play, combined with steady online support, carried through to a spot performing on the 2021 TeleMiracle production. Villeneuve spoke with NSMZ about his experience releasing his debut single and his first TeleMiracle appearance.
Villeneuve is originally from the city of Prince Albert. He spent his formative years playing guitar in a succession of metal bands before moving to Saskatoon at the age of eighteen, to start his post secondary education and connect to a larger music scene. It was at this time in his career he began to focus on writing his own songs, which he describes as “a folk-alternative blend of Neil Young and City And Colour”. November 2020 pre-recordings of five original songs, produced at the Rainy Day Recording Company in Saskatoon, turned into the January 15th 2021 release of Villeneuve’s song “In This World Or The Other”, the first single from what will be his debut ep Trials, slated for release in the fall of 2021.
Villeneuve was originally scheduled to perform a duet at the 2020 TeleMiracle with his Grandfather, local country music veteran Maurice Villeneuve, but had to suddenly cancel due to a family emergency. When approached by the showrunners to perform this year, he eagerly jumped at the chance. Due to COVID19 restrictions, TeleMiracle has changed their format, choosing to stream a succession of pre-recorded performances to keep artists and volunteers distanced from each other. Villeneuve recorded his performance of “In This World Or The Other” at The Refinery, where a video recording studio was set up just for TeleMiracle filming. “When we arrived there” Villeneuve shared, “there were volunteers scheduling performers, and two showrunners overseeing everything. The professional camera and lighting setup was pretty exciting to see, I think people are really going to enjoy it.”
The entire show has been structured first and foremost to keep the entertainers safe, and Villeneuve praised the precautions taken. “When entering and leaving the facility, I was requested to wait until the previous performer ahead of me had completed filming before entering the facility. I checked in at the basement location of The Refinery, where I was provided with hand sanitizer and asked the standard health questions, then proceeded to the waiting room until called. Everyone followed social distance measures and wore masks throughout the audition process and filming day. I felt the volunteers and facility of TeleMiracle really did their best in making artists feel safe.”
Villeneuve also spoke warmly of his admiration for TeleMiracle as a tradition and an institution in the province. “TeleMiracle has been around 45 years, it has helped out so many people, including the youth of Saskatchewan. I feel privileged to get the opportunity to perform live with them. It’s something I’m really proud of and I hope everyone takes a moment to check in and support the artists of Saskatchewan.”
Fabian Villeneuve’s pre-recorded performance of his single “In This World Or The Other” will be aired on the TeleMiracle stream at 11:47 P.M. on Saturday February 27th. The single is available to stream on Spotify by clicking here.