Herstory

Deanna Knight, known to many simply as D, has a voice that has been described as “sultry,” “as smooth as fine whiskey,” and “unmistakable.” Having worked with George Koller (Holy Cole, Loreena McKennitt) Gary Craig (Anne Murray, Jann Arden) and Richard Bell (Janis Joplin, The Band), performed as a lead soloist in a 60-piece choir, co-founded a theatre company, run her own record label and singing telegram service, and now heads a 7 piece gypsy-swing band.. the feathered cap of this creative songstress keeps expanding.

D grew up in Bowmanville, Ontario, where her musical career began at the age of 5. She studied voice and musical theory, performed in many musical theatre productions and Kiwanis competitions, and was chosen as a lead vocalist for The Oshawa Festival Singers, a touring 60-piece girls choir.

As the years passed, the importance of music and musical theatre in her life was unwavering and D racked up two recordings, numerous television appearances, and two European tours. She went on to co-found The Eclectic Theatre Company in Jasper, Alberta, and also attended Sheridan College’s Musical Theatre Program.

While still quite young, D lent her vocal talents to Pete Webb’s CD Mileage, and in later years to Craig Cardiff’s Judy Garland and Scott Deneau’s August Moon.

Founding Balloon-a-Toons, an event-decorating and singing-telegram service (which she ran for 13 years), overlapped with D co-finding the high-energy Canadian jam band the Fat Cats. The Fat Cats appeared at Hillside Festival, Festival of Friends and on Much Music, played endless club shows, and released Cruelty’s Cure, recorded at Grant Avenue Studios. D also took on the band’s booking, publicity, and managerial duties.

From there she went on to pursue her solo career, documenting her songwriting with two à cappella albums. They feature her raw talent in the form of her lyrical depth, soulful melodies, and golden voice. During this time D was introduced to swing and classic jazz as a guest vocalist with Durham’s big band, Swing Shift and Waterloo’s Escape Pods. Before long she was asked to join the 15-piece Classic Swing Orchestra and spent 3 years inspiring people to dance to wonderful swing music.

In 2001 D gathered up some of Canada’s finest musicians to support her first full length solo album, Shadow of a Star. Co-produced by the award-winning George Koller (Loreena McKennitt, Holly Cole)  and featuring Gary Craig (Anne Murray, Jann Arden) , Richard Bell (The Band, Janis Joplin), Oliver Schroer, Carlos del Junco and more.

D has always had a love for great talent and through her own independent recording and production company SheMoon Music Canada, D produced a variety of cabaret style events, showcasing the talents of Serena Ryder, Jenny Whiteley, and Aengus Finnan, to name but a few.

In 2001, D joined forces with Vancouver’s Hot Club of Mars, now known fittingly as Deanna Knight & The Hot Club of Mars. Performing Django inspired gypsy-jazz, the acoustic 7-piece engages audiences in toe-tapping swing tunes from the 20s and 30s, alongside their own originals—some of which D has penned herself. Now, ten years later, the band is enjoying acclaimed stages at festivals, gardens, dances and community events. The ensemble has 2 recordings under their belt, sharing 30 songs from their fun and engaging repertoire.  “Brilliant woodwind and guitar work, gorgeous vocals, and scintillating arrangements” Steve Edge of The Rogue Folk Club.  The Chief’s Steve Hill says, “Chanteuse Deanna Knight adds just the right sultry vocal spice to the mix, adding energy and sex appeal to the band’s infectious rhythms, making The Hot Club of Mars one of the most fun bands to see live.”

Over her long and varied career, the last decade has witnessed Deanna resting confidently in The Hot Club of Mars and enjoying motherhood to the fullest. 2012 marked the return to her “soul song” and nurturing the craft of songwriting. She launched her Double Bill ~ Salon Series at roving locations including chocolate cafes, studio lofts and Penthouses. Showcasing the likes of CR. Avery, Melissa Bandura,  Tom Taylor, Shannon Lyon and more. Connecting deeper into the Vancouver arts scene, she is now lending her production skills to local gala events and fundraisers while  incorporating her love of circus and cabaret. You can catch Deanna live with The Hot Club or  in intimate performances alongside one of her talented accompanists, Simon Kendall (Doug and the Slugs),  Jane Milliken (Lee Aaron), Brenda Baird (String of Pearl) Bill Sample, Finn Manniche and more.

You never know what is next for Deanna Knight. Not knowing is half the fun of this talented artist. One thing is for certain—whatever she does, she’ll be singing.