Taking it to the Next Stage

Friday, May 27, 2016

Class of '09 graduate and Governor General's Silver Medalist Cecile Monique earns a Top 5 spot in the M'era Luna Festival Newcomer Contest!

Cecile Monique on stage
Written by Cecile Monique (BA '09)

"After graduation, I will pursue my career as a recording artist."  That was what I said when I shared my future plans on the stage at the Theatre of the Arts back in 2009 at my campus graduation ceremony, and in the years since finishing my undergraduate degree, I can honestly say that I have done exactly that!

I began writing my own original, classically-influenced Gothic/Symphonic Metal music during my last few years as an Arts student at UWaterloo.  As a student of classical music, I really connected with the genre and was inspired by European acts like cello metal band Apocalyptica, who also began as young, classically-trained musicians with a passion to use their skills to perform music in the style they loved.  I remember watching videos of my favourite metal artists playing the big European festival stages on my iPod while I waited in the hall for my classes to start, and coming home after a day of classes and playing around with my digital audio software to work out new song ideas.

Fast forward a few years, and those song ideas became finished productions!  Shortly after graduating, I was awarded FACTOR'S New Talent Demo Award in support of my song "Libera Me," which you can listen to here.  Through that opportunity, I had the chance to record 3 of my songs with head engineer Kevin Dietz at Metalworks Studios, Canada's #1 recording studio, and have had the pleasure of returning to Metalworks to record additional tracks over the past several  years.  I have continued to write music and collaborate with talented session musicians who perform with me in live performances, and have kept working toward my dream of one day getting to play my music on a large-scale European festival stage.

M'era luna festival poster
In 2013, I came one step closer to achieving that dream when I was chosen as a qualifier in Canada's first "Wacken Metal Battle" and competed as one of only a handful of female-fronted acts in contention to become Canada's representative at the Wacken metal festival in Germany.  The competition was a great experience and the camaraderie of the bands in the Toronto qualifier motivated me to continue to try to represent Canadian female metal artists on an international scale.

Earlier this week, I received the fantastic and surprising news that I was selected by the M'era Luna Festival as one of their Top 5 Finalists in the "M'era Luna 2016 Newcomer Contest." The M'era Luna Festival takes place in Hildesheim, Germany and is one of the largest festivals of Gothic, industrial and metal music in the world!  About 25,000 people attend every year, and this year's headline acts include none other than my heroes, Apocalyptica!  Being chosen as a Top 5 finalist is a huge honour because I am the only North American artist who was chosen, and if I win the online voting contest, I would have the chance to represent Canada and play the main stage! 

You can check out a short news segment from CTV Kitchener about my involvement in the competition here: https://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=871120

Voting is open at until May 29th.  Anyone can vote (once per e-mail address), and please feel free to share the voting link on social media!  I would appreciate the support of the entire UWaterloo community to help me realize a dream and take my career to the next stage!

Follow Cecile Monique on Twitter: @cecile_monique

Like Cecile Monique on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/cecilemonique