Carleigh Aikins

““ Every musician I know owes Carleigh a favour. We’d cross paths at a summer festival, or five. She’d sing in a band that was performing, or three. Never center stage. Didn’t matter. She would inevitably end up the focal point. It was never her name on the badge around her neck, but everybody knew her, and she knew everybody. Carleigh was my favourite part of every band she didn’t lead, on or off the stage. She is a magnet. It turned out she’d been writing songs the whole time, making wildly creative demos. She was stockpiling ideas. Like a student who takes a decade to complete a dissertation that revolutionizes their field. Watching Carleigh sing makes me feel like a teenager. It doesn’t feel like a musician-friend trying to have a go. It feels like an action for the sake of the action. It feels like joy. “
– (Dan Mangan, Artist, Arts & Crafts Records)”

Carleigh Aikins began her journey in the Arts as a small child- finger painting in the studio her mother set up, and singing for the kindergarten talent shows in her hometown of Barrie, ON.

Her first professional jobs were in theatre productions from the age of ten; and she went on to build a resume as a stage actress in numerous musicals and pieces by playwrights such as Chekov, Gogol, and Daniel MacIvor . She soon took on multiple roles within the theatre- as a designer whose work was hailed at home and abroad; and as a member of production teams, a leader of youth theatre mentorship and as an education programmer.

Aikins emerged as a visual Artist as well. Her work has been enlarged to 50 x 60 ft as a premiere public art piece in the downtown core of Barrie; and her bright whimsical works hang in collectors’ homes across North America. Her work in painting and drawing is what ultimately prompted her to move to Toronto, ON as she began studies at The Ontario College of Art and Design.

It is there that her path took a new direction. Despite her interest in varying aspects of the Arts, it was her abilities as a performer (harvested from early days in the theatre) that lead her to the farthest stretches of her career. A career in music. She now focuses mainly on working as a vocalist.

Carleigh became a sought after session and live vocalist/collaborator throughout North America- a far cry from her teenage years spent carpooling to Toronto to sing pay-to-play All Ages shows with the hometown bands she found herself a part of.

Sneaking in to local bars to perform before she was of legal age, Carleigh first cut her teeth with the band Fox Jaws. Hustling their way 60 miles south from Barrie to “the city” , they would eventually support acts such as Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear, quickly integrating in to Toronto’s burgeoning music scene as a band to watch.

Carleigh’s distinct vocal fry, and her diverse ability and style was undeniable. It lead her from Toronto clubs to singing on world stages including Royal Albert Hall (London), The Ryman (Nashville), Chicago Theatre (Chicago), The Orpheum (Los Angeles), L’Olympia (Paris), plus multiple appearances at Red Rocks (Colorado), The Fillmore (San Francisco), The Roundhouse (London), Massey Hall, Molson Amphitheatre and Rogers Centre and History in Toronto, among countless others. She now appears on recordings totalling over 190 million streams (on Spotify alone).

Aikins began touring shortly after she started her studies at OCADU in Toronto, which she postponed in order to join her hometown friend Afie Jurvanen as a vocalist for his project Bahamas. They made Late Night appearances including Conan O’Brien and the final season of The Colbert Report with Jack Johnson while being featured live on national radio across America. They toured extensively; with Jack Johnson, Michael Kiwanuka, City and Colour, Noah and the Whale, Calexico, and played with Artists such as Neil Young, Willie Nelson and Robert Plant on prestigious world stages. She appears on the Canadian Certified Gold Record Barchords’ Certified Gold hit single Lost In The Light, the JUNO winning record Bahamas Is Afie, Bahamas iTunes Sessions, iTunes Festival London LIVE and guested on Jack Johnson’s From Here To Now To You LIVE.

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