Actress, singer and songwriter Miranda Frigon
Miranda Frigon is one busy actress these days. In addition to her regular role of Angelika “Ange” Finch on Primeval: New World, she also plays Janice Wayne in another Canadian-made TV series, Heartland. Prior to booking both these projects, she appeared in such feature films as Next, White Noise, It Waits and Soda Springs along with several made-for-TV movies as well as a number of series including Dexter, Ugly Betty, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Emily Owens M.D.,V, Jake 2.0, Sanctuary and Supernatural.
It may surprise some people to know that the beautiful and talented Frigon is also an accomplished singer/songwriter whose passion for music goes back quite a ways.
“My whole musical journey started when I was tiny,” she recalls. “We had a piano in my house that was completely out of tune, but as soon as I was big enough to literally crawl onto the bench, I was playing it. My mom eventually enrolled me in the Royal Conservatory for piano, which is a very structured classic style of piano [training]. I trained with these top teachers who would scratch their heads because they couldn’t figure out how I was looking at the sheet music, but I didn't seem to be playing the same song as what was on the page.
“I always had the ability to listen to a piece of music, memorize it and then play it back by ear, so I’d just pretend to read the music and study, but I would really just be memorizing the notes in my head. After a while they kind of got wind of what I was doing, and one of my teachers finally explained to my mom, ‘I don’t think structure in music is what's best for your daughter. She'd rather be creating herself than to be playing someone else's songs.' My mom then got me into a composing class, and after three weeks of being there, I wrote a song and played it at a student concert organized by my instructor.
“So that’s kind of where it all began, but I never took it seriously until I went to New York and studied at a musical theatre school there,” continues Frigon. “I was young and lonely, and my aunt had sent me an old guitar that had been in the family for years. I didn’t know how to play the guitar, but I taught myself and that’s sort of what helped me through the lonely nights by myself.
“For me, music was always therapy, and I’d get emotional just thinking about missing my family and being away from them. I’d pour my heart out through my music, and although singing wasn’t something that I was even good at, I played and played and sang and sang, and my voice began to open up. I would mimic other artists and my voice just grew from there. When I booked an acting job on [the TV show] Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and later moved to Vancouver, I also started to play at any café that would have me. My songs were not very good, but I had fans who would show up and listen. When you love what you’re doing and sing with your heart, people will listen, and many of those people still follow me today.”
Frigon had a band in Vancouver and performed with them for a while, but after singing the same songs over and over, she longed to change them, make them better and do things differently. The actress/singer later moved to Los Angeles and played the club circuit there, but then one day decided that a break was in order.
“I took some time off from playing live and just began listening to the hit songs. I started breaking those songs down and realized that there is a formula to hit songs and to why people want to listen to them over and over again,” she says. “Basically, it’s finding a new way to look at the same old issues — relationships, falling in love, breaking up, finding yourself, going through a hard time — and coloring that with a new, different way of talking about it.
“I began taking seminars with hit songwriters and trying to learn the tricks of how to write that hit song. In the meantime I started writing for film and TV. When I was recurring on the UPN show Jake 2.0, I wrote a couple of songs and recorded them, and they both got placed on the series. I saw that there was a whole other side of the music industry. Not too long ago I had a song placed on Heartland and have had songs placed in numerous films as well. Primeval: New World featured my song "Hiding Place" at the end of episode five, thanks to [executive producers] Gillian Horvath and Martin Wood. That is now up on iTunes and fans have been downloading it like crazy, so it has really brought attention to my music, for which I am so grateful."
“Recently I’ve had the opportunity to work with some amazing people in Los Angeles. I was working with [Canadian singer/songwriter] Avril Lavigne’s musical director and lead guitarist/keyboard player Jim McGorman, and my writing partner worked on the last Imogen Heap, Paul McCartney and Annie Lennox albums, so I've been writing a lot of material with him. I’ve also been writing 30-second spots for advertising and submitting them to various companies. Currently, I am in the early stages of recording my new album with Grammy award-winning producer Barrett Yeretsian, who co-wrote and produced the hit song "Jar of Hearts" by Christina Perri.
“So I have that whole other world going on in Los Angeles that I’m very grateful and excited about,” enthuses Frigon.
Please note, all photos courtesy of Miranda Frigon.