Harpenden mum returns to recording studio for first time since 2002

Musician Donna Canale from Harpenden.

Musician Donna Canale from Harpenden. - Credit: Donna Canale

What might you do when your youngest child is set to up and leave for university and the house is likely to feel sadly empty?

For one Harpenden mum it is a chance to reawaken her musical career after it had been lying dormant for 18 years and release her first song since 2002. 

After raising twin girls as a single mum, Donna Canale, who lives in Waldegrave Park, was worried about finding herself at a loose end when they finally leave home, and decided to return to her past love as a jazz musician.

She explained: "Now that they are about to leave home for university, I'm determined to throw myself back into the musical fray. I want to make sure I have a meaningful and musically creative project to focus on which will help prevent me from falling into a grief filled 'empty nest’ once they’ve gone. 

"My girls love the fact that I’ve been preparing in a positive way for their imminent departure although they get a bit impatient when they have to ‘hush up’ if I’m recording a 'vocal take' in the living room/makeshift studio.

"I recently booked a day of video recording songs in a studio down in Cardiff and dragged them along with me to do backing vocals. Sometimes they feel a bit embarrassed that I involve them but I suspect they’re secretly very proud of my efforts.

"We’re a tight little family and I am so grateful for their support and patience. They also help me with the tech for social media. In fact,  I think I’ll have to cram in a lesson on how to navigate Instagram before they go!"

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She has penned a new song, 'Waltz for the Girls', inspired by her daughters, which she describes as "a self-penned music starting with a beguiling, folk influenced song with a lilting waltz rhythm".

The uplifting soundscape created in the single is a blend of gentle mandolin, guitar and piano which steadily swells into a soaring, fully orchestrated second chorus and inspires a poignant surge of emotion.

Donna said: "Although I come from a jazzy background, my style is varied and this particular song is more folky, but definitely accessible to all who like good quality music.

“This song emerged almost as a lullaby and evokes the language and narratives used when tucking your little ones into bed at night. It’s a special wee ritual that everyone can relate to, whether as that ‘once upon a time’ child or as a parent themselves."

Performer and session vocalist Donna has appeared at The Royal Festival Hall, The London Palladium, The Barbican and most major concert halls around the UK and Ireland as the special guest in numerous big band shows as well as touring in Japan and the Middle East.

Drawing on more than three decades’ experience as a singer including pop chart busting hits ‘Mucho Mambo (Sway)’ and ‘Mambo Italiano’ for the dance act ‘Shaft’, Donna has rediscovered the joy and simplicity of just being with guitar and voice and is currently recording a new album which includes the new track.

Her last album ‘Thinking of You’ came out back in 2002, then Donna stepped back from the touring life in order to raise her twin daughters. 

“There is no love like love for your children. All my life I’ve put other’s needs ahead of my own. I’ve dedicated over 30 years in the industry to other artists’ music, but this new original music is about taking back control and shining a spotlight on my story. I’m doing this for me.

"I think having experienced the highs and lows of life, it would be such a waste to not try to share my songs which are stories about real feelings, real events and everything that maturity brings."

Waltz for the Girls is available on Spotify and other streaming platforms from September 3.