Up close and personal with Fawn Fritzen
Ian Stewart/Yukon News
Fawn Fritzen has worn a lot of hats since moving to the Yukon eight years ago, including the glamorous feathered headpiece of a vaudeville queen.
She has played piano with the Big Band, recorded a track for the Yukon Women in Music’s last compilation CD, and last summer debuted as one of the Frantic Follies’ leading ladies.
Tomorrow she releases her debut album, Bedroom Voice, at the Yukon Arts Centre.
Born in Thunder Bay, Ont., Fritzen has called Iqaluit, Ottawa and Germany home, among others.
She was living with her husband in Fort Liard, N.W.T., when they decided to make the move to Whitehorse. They wanted to start a family somewhere with a few more services available, like piano and swimming lessons, said Fritzen.
Fritzen found out she was pregnant with her first child soon after accepting a job offer with the Public Service Commission in Whitehorse.
She quit that job a couple of years ago to focus on music and being a mom to her two young children.
“Lucky for me, my husband was like, ‘Well, I don’t know what you’re waiting for,’” she said of the decision.
Some of her musical exploits come as a surprise even those who know her well.
In February the Chinese Canadian Association of Yukon asked her to play their Chinese New Year bash at the Mount McIntyre rec centre.
“I told Daniel (Janke, who co-produced the album,) that I was going to be performing at this Chinese New Year thing. He was like, ‘What? You speak Chinese?’”
Chinese is Fritzen’s mother tongue.
“I haven’t sung in Chinese since I was a kid,” she said. “At that time I was singing nursery rhymes. So I asked my mom for a couple of ideas on songs I could learn to do for this celebration. And it was really fun, I really enjoyed learning those songs. One of them was one I remember my mom always singing when I was growing up, she would wash the dishes and sing this song.”
Although she would have liked to get a song in Chinese on to her album, there just wasn’t enough time, said Fritzen.
But she will sing one song in Chinese at the album release concert Saturday night.
The show will be on the centre’s Jazz On the Wing stage, a fittingly intimate venue for Fritzen’s soulful tunes.
“I like being able to see people’s expressions and look them in the eye,” she said. “That to me is what is exciting about performing live.”
While her primary genre is jazz, Fritzen’s album reveals hints of her diverse musical history and interests. The record is a mix of jazz standards, original songs, and even a cover of Leonard Cohen’s, If It Be Your Will.
The theme of the album is “introspective, thoughtful, intimate,” said Fritzen.
Fritzen will be backed up on Saturday by Daniel Janke, Rob Bergman and Ken Searcy.
The show is sold out, and Yukon Brewing will hold a draw for the last two tickets at five p.m. Friday.
Bedroom Voices will be available for purchase online at http://www.fawnfritzen.com and i,n Whitehorse at Mac’s Fireweed Books and at Dean’s Strings & Music Supplies.
Contact Jacqueline Ronson at