Ferron Biography

2 June 1952, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. 90s singer Ferron grew up in a rural suburb of Vancouver, the eldest of seven children. After leaving home at the age of 15 she subsisted by working as a cab driver, waitressing and packing coffee in a factory. By 1975 she had started singing to ‘political folk-type people, mixed audiences of men and women’. Her first recordings were completed in 1977 when she recorded, released and distributed her self-titled debut. Songs such as ‘I Am Hungry’ immediately announced Ferron as a natural communicator, fluent in documenting emotional peaks and troughs. Ferron Backed Up followed a year later, and established a solid following for her staunchly feminist songwriting (notably ‘Dear Marly’ and ‘Call Me Friend’). Through these two albums she came to the attention of Gayle Scott, an American then employed in film production in Vancouver. Scott became Ferron’s manager and business partner, collaborating with her on the subsequent Testimony (1980) and Shadows On A Dime (1984). Although the music remained smooth, her songs continued to combine reflections on personal experience alongside directly political observations. Testimony’s title track later became an anthem for the feminist movement. The receipt of a Canada Council arts grant in October 1985 allowed Ferron to consolidate her progress, enabling her to take time off for vocal lessons and to write new material. However, the grant soon expired and, not ready yet to return to performing, she worked as a carpenter’s assistant and bartender. Eventually she returned to the studio for 1990’s Phantom Center, re-energised by her time away from the stage. With instrumentalists including Barbara Higbie and Novi, Phantom Center comprised complex poetic narratives made instantly accessible by the dexterity of the musicianship. Following a well-received live album, Resting With The Question outlined a new dimension to the artist. Where previously Ferron’s major talent had been ascribed to her lyric-writing, this instrumental collection consisted of resonant, synthesizer produced sounds and sequences. She made her debut for Warner Brothers Records subsidiary EarthBeat in 1994 with Driver. It garnered substantial critical acclaim, in keeping with her less exposed previous recordings. In 1995 Phantom Center was remixed and remastered for release by EarthBeat. With the backing of a major record label, Ferron’s profile was now higher than it had been at any other point in her two decade-long career.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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