The self-titled album from Michala Todd announces the arrival of a shining new star on the Canadian scene. The 16 year old singer is already an audience favourite in the South Simcoe, Ontario, area in which she has grown up, and this strikingly accomplished record now proves she is ready for prime time.
Michala Todd is the result of a fertile creative partnership between Michala and two heavyweight songwriters and producers, Cyril Rawson and John Acosta. They have had songs recorded by the likes of Keith Urban, Gretchen Wilson and Reba McEntire (Rawson) and Sky, Acosta-Russell, and Toya Alexis (Acosta). The dynamic duo are now frequently writing together, with Rawson concentrating on lyrics and Acosta the melody.
Their complementary songwriting skills proved the perfect vehicle for Todd’s striking voice. After taking time to learn Michala’s personality and musical influences, they came up with original songs that reflected both, and the singer responded with enthusiasm and hard work. “She came very prepared for every session, and the recording went very smoothly,” says Rawson.
The team concentrated on writing and recording a song a month, and over the course of that year, Michala’s pure voice also gained in power. Her own musical tastes broadened into pop-rock territory, and this helps account for the stylistically diverse nature of the album. “We asked Michala what she was listening to through the stages of recording, and then we put that data into focus,” explains Acosta. “The latter part of the record shows Michala’s tastes evolving to the next stage.” Artists Todd cites as inspirations and influences include Kate Voegele, Rihanna, JoJo, and Miley Cyrus.
The first single, “Me,” is an instantly captivating slice of dance-pop. Co-written by Acosta, Jason Blume and Swedish songwriter Fredrik Hult, it fuses Michala’s vibrant and clear vocals with an irresistible groove. The rock feel of “The Next Time” is neatly enhanced by a hint of grit in Michala’s voice, while the catchy “Tongue Tied” has a cool ’80s synth-pop vibe. On “Close Enough To Fall,” Todd shows she can also handle a big emotional ballad with graceful ease.
Despite her tender age, Michala Todd is far from a musical novice. She began taking singing lessons at Alliston’s Modern Conservatory of Music at age eight, and quickly impressed her tutors there with her natural talent. After five years of study there, she switched to a renowned Toronto vocal coach, Ryan Luchuck, and continues weekly vocal lessons with him. Michala’s commitment to her craft is a strong one, and she is now also learning guitar, on the instrument she won with her victory in a Schomberg Idol talent contest.
Todd has also shown both a passion and flair for musical theatre. She has shone in area productions of such musicals as “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Copacabana,” “Once Upon A Mattress,” and in the lead role of Barrie’s Theatre by the Bay’s “Cinderella.” Michala’s talent is certainly no secret to those living in the Tottenham, Alliston and Barrie area. She performs regularly in coffee shops and cultural and community centres in the region, and appeared with distinction at five Barrie festivals last year, including the major Celebrate Barrie event.
In November, Michala’s international singing debut was a real triumph. After placing second (out of 2,000 entries) in an online talent search designed to raise awareness of Mastocytosis and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, she was invited to perform with other winners at a large benefit concert in Washington, D.C.. The five songs she performed there were very warmly received.
She has been quick to assist local charities by performing at their fundraising events. “So many people have reached out and supported Michala, and she feels the best way for her to help others and give back is through her voice,” explains her mother and manager, Karen Todd.
With a heart as big and warm as her voice, Michala Todd is destined to make a real musical mark. This is a young artist to watch closely.
For more information, contact www.myspace.com/michalatodd and www.michalatodd.com.
written by: Kerry Doole
Michala’s collaboration with Nashville’s Don Somerville and Michael Lee yielded “House of Glass” (currently airing on GRR) and “In-Between.” Building upon that obvious success, Michala recently reunited with Somerville and Lee to record three new tracks — “Make It Work,” “Invisible,” and “The Dare.” We’re looking forward to giving these tracks a listen!