By: Kat Harlton
Vancouver-based all-female Country trio, The Heels recently released their new album, Love, Heels, featuring a combination of lush, three-part harmonies, sassy lyrics and unforgettable melodies. The fiercely independent group comprised of Bobbi Smith, Brittni Dominelli, and Kyla Rawlins has been garnering attention since winning a B.C. Country Music Association Emerging Artist Award in 2016 and releasing their debut single “Come Around”.
Dominelli says the group desire to put something positive out in the world, helped inspired the record “Love, Heels is a positive affirmation, we saw it as if we were writing a letter to our listeners, other women, the world. All of our songs are meant to be empowering and positive.”
Created with the help of a team of top-notch producers Carly & Darren Savard (Meghan Patrick), Anthony Fiddler, and Clint Van Blanken, co-songwriters and musicians, Love, Heels builds on the trio’s distinctive sound that has drawn comparisons to artists such as The Dixie Chicks, Fleetwood Mac, Wilson Phillips, The Band Perry and Little Big Town. Smith says the group enjoys exploring their sound “It seems to be pretty unique for each song, sometimes we’ll start with a hook line or a title or an idea of a song, our sound evolves all the time. We have fun experimenting in different ways. We have a lot of ideas, and co-writers are good at streamlining those for us and keeping the momentum going and keeping the main focus of the song. Most of the songs on the album were written with a team of about four other people, we do have the same writer come up sometimes, but we try to diversify to keep our sound fresh.”
Although The Heels are still a new name for many, each member brings a wealth of experience to the project. Bobbi Smith is a longtime solo performer with 10 consecutive Top 50 Canadian radio singles and is a three-time BCCMA Female Vocalist of the Year, Brittni Dominelli is an experienced backup vocalist and guitarist, who also has experience as a performing artist in theatre and dance, and Kyla Rawlins who has attended the Canadian College of Performing Arts and Vancouver Island University, has released two full-length albums, and has had numerous TV and film roles. Smith says the trio feels they found each other at exactly the right time, each coming with a wealth of experience and knowledge, that when combined creates The Heels signature sound and athesthic “We kind of just talked about this, how our pasts are so twisty on their own and how we each did a lot of differnet things before we met each other, but in the end music brought us together. Dominelli agrees “I think it’s really cool that our individual paths literally got shoved into the same spot at the same time, like a magnet.”
For Rawlins the journey back to country music was a long one “I started country and then came full circle, I tried literally every genre out there except for heavy metal, and then ended up back to country. It was fun, and really good training. For me it started with Shania Twain, Dixie Chicks, Fleetwood Mac, I really love guitar.” It was during this musical journey that Rawlins opened her own cafe Buddha-Full which has an organic, raw vegan and gluten-free menu. Smith shares that it was at this cafe, that fate would have the trio meet “Kyla was the owner of the cafe and Brittni was a barista there and I was a regular customer, I would come in singing sometimes. We would talk about music and different things and discovered that we each had a musical past. So one day we just decided to try working together collaboratively, we started listening to each other’s stuff and trying out our voices together”.
It’s at this point in the interview that we somehow end up talking about Reba, and Rawlins asks me for my favorite Reba song. After settling on ‘Fancy’ she tells me that Smith does an amazing Reba impression and gets her to belt out acappella, the whole first verse and chorus (which is amazing!) this lady can belt it. Reba, if you’re reading you need to get in touch with these ladies ASAP.
For the rest of you, get to a show! or better yet head over to: http://www.theheelsmusic.com and give their new album a listen.