Rebecca Binnendyk


Biographie Rebecca Binnendyk


Rebecca Binnendyk
Based in Waterloo, Ontario, Rebecca has honed her vocal chops by singing in choirs and musical theatre productions as well as performing jazz in settings ranging from duos up to big bands. In response to regular demands from fans, she realised it was time to take the plunge into making an album, and the stars then seemed to align fortuitously, with Some Fun Out Of Life the happy result.

After her piano player, Attila Fias, suggested Binnendyk contact John "Beetle" Bailey, a noted Toronto producer/engineeer/studio owner, she ran into Bailey at an event just a week later. "Initially, we were just going to do a demo of five songs, but we enjoyed working together so much, we decided to go for a full length album," Rebecca recalls. A successful Indiegogo campaign helped cover the expanded budget, and Binnendyk, Bailey, and an elite group of T.O. players set up shop at the renowned Drive Shed Recording Studio.

In just six days, vocal and band tracks, horns and strings were laid down, with spectacular results. Rebecca's core band comprised Fias, Kevin Laliberte, Drew Birston, Davide Direnzo and Rosendo 'Chendy' Leon, and they were augmented by horn aces William Carn, John Johnson, and William Sperandei, cellist Amy Laing, pianist Steve Wingfield, and violinist Drew Jurecka. Wingfield, Don Breithaupt, and Charles Cozens (Elton John) came up with the sophisticated and lush arrangements here.

Some Fun Out Of Life is refreshingly eclectic in its song selections. American Songbook standards by, amongst others, Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael, are given fresh life via Binnendyk's supple, pure and versatile vocals, while her renditions of more contemporary tunes by Corinne Bailey Rae ("Put Your Records On"), Joni Mitchell ("Night Ride Home") and Phil Collins ("You'll Be In My Heart") fit seamlessly alongside, as does the most left-field choice here, Bon Jovi's hit "You Give Love A Bad Name."

Rebecca's stylistic diversity comes naturally, she explains. "I think my training in the classical world really prepared me to sing anything. I identify myself as a jazz singer but I often find myself crossing the lines. I love folk and some pop music. I enjoy a lot of different things in life and music, and I believe the song selection here reflects that."

Binnendyk's real potential as a songwriter is showcased on two original numbers here. "Stars" was prompted by the death of Amy Winehouse, while the moving "Live Now" (a co-write with Don Breithaupt) was inspired by Rebecca's cousin. "He died very young, but he was such a shining example of someone appreciating everything around him and living fully," she explains.

Loving and living life to the full comes naturally to Rebecca, and this was a message she wanted to embed in Some Fun Out Of Life. There is no tortured jazz diva material here, thankfully. "There is so much negativity in our world today," she says. "I wanted my record to be a positive experience for all the listeners, just as it was for all of us recording it. I wanted to go away from it snapping my fingers, tapping my toes and smiling." Fittingly, then, the record concludes with a jaw-droppingly beautiful rendition of the Charlie Chaplin classic, "Smile."

It has been a long time coming, but Some Fun Out Of Life reflects the hard work and study Binnendyk has put into perfecting her craft. Her genuine love of singing and performing became apparent at a very early age, she explains. "Apparently it goes back to age three. My grandfather saw me dance in the living toom to the radio, and he said to my mom, 'all that little girl needs is a stage!'"

Her classical music training began with lessons with noted tutor Jeanette Steeves from age 10 to age 18, during which time Rebecca sang in choirs and played trumpet in bands. "I travelled to Great Britain with a choir, singing in palaces, and I was in award-winning bands, playing trumpet," she recalls. What years? "Being part of a team helps you learn discipline and teaches you that it takes hard work to do well. All my experience combines in who I am now."

She continued her music education at Wilfrid Laurier University from 2000 to 2004, studying Music Therapy and learning guitar. Rebecca's wanderlust then kicked in, and from 2004 to 2006 she travelled and taught in China and Southeast Asia. Upon returning to Canada, her affinity for Music Therapy led her to set up her own private practice in 2006, working with a variety of clients for the next two years.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Education in 2008, Binnendyk backpacked through Central and South America for a year before beginning her teaching career in junior high schools. Her passion for music continued to burn bright, as she recalls. "When I decided to pursue the dream of music, I consciously chose to supply teach over contract work so I had time for both," says Rebecca.

She gained invaluable recording experience in 2011 when, thanks to a FACTOR award, she recorded eight jazz standards with famed producer Rick Hutt at Cedartree Studios in Kitchener.

Binnendyk's flair for musical theatre was confirmed when she took a university course in acting for singers. She also studied for a time with legendary Toronto vocal coach Elaine Overholt. One of Rebecca's philosophies: "You can never be too good, so why not always keep progressing in your art?"

This background helped her score some major roles in well-known musicals. In 2012, she took a lead role in the Kitchener/Waterloo Musical Productions presentation of Rent, followed by a part in Anne of Green Gables and, in 2015, a lead role in Bye Bye Birdie. "I love to become a different character and sing through that," she explains.

Her next round of travel took the nomadic Rebecca to Australia and New Zealand in 2014, and she kept her vocal chops honed by performing in Melbourne and Queenstown.

Regular public and corporate gigs have seen Binnendyk front the 18-piece the Canadian Big Band, a talent-heavy group featuring many alumni of the internationally-renowned Boss Brass. With smaller ensembles, she has performed several sold-out shows at Kitchener's The Jazz Room and has played a leading Toronto jazz venue, Gate 403, while the official CD launch show for Some Fun Out Of Life will be prestigious Toronto club Jazz Bistro.

There is already international interest in the imminent arrival of Some Fun Out Of Life, so Rebecca Binnendyk's musical career is poised to surge forward. Following it's future path promises to be a richly rewarding pursuit.

© 2010-2019 HIGHRESAUDIO