MAPLETON, Maine — Ever since she was a student at Presque Isle High School Chloe Rossignol, a native of Mapleton, has dreamt of recording her own music album as a way to share her passion with music lovers everywhere.
Now that dream is becoming a reality for Rossignol, who lives in Portland. After a monthlong campaign, family, friends and music fans have helped her raise $8,500 to cover the costs of recording an album with Plaid Dog Recording in Boston.
She has worked with producer Bryan Fennelly to record and release a single titled “So Long” to online markets and is ready to record the rest of the five-song album.
“I started performing locally when I was in high school, but had to slow down when I was in college,” Rossignol said. “I want to start playing more frequently. Having an album serves as a great demo for helping artists get into venues.”
Rossignol graduated from Presque Isle High School in 2013 and went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in health, wellness and occupational studies from the University of New England in Biddeford. She’s currently pursuing her master’s degree in occupational therapy and hopes to establish herself as a successful musician in the Portland area.
For the past nine years, Rossignol has been involved with music and songwriting, first through her school choral group and music classes, and now as an independent recording artist.
Throughout her school years, she struggled while playing sports due to challenges from epilepsy, a neurological disorder that causes unpredictable seizures. Music provided a safe space where she could be herself and develop a talent she was passionate about.
“In high school I had a hard time feeling like I belonged. I often focused too much on the people that I wanted to be like instead of the friends I already had,” Rossignol said. “I’ve always been a shy person, but music allowed me to say what I was thinking and not worry about being judged.”
Rossignol found Plaid Dog Recording through ReverbNation, a website that allows singers who are unattached to a major record studio to upload and market their music. Producers at Plaid Dog were searching for new artists to work with and they reached out to Rossignol, expressing admiration for her blues and jazz-influenced style.
Thus far Rossignol has traveled to Boston four times to record “So Long,” which she has since released on ReverbNation. She said many people would be surprised to learn how much work goes into recording just one song for an album.
For “So Long,” the process started with pre-production, during which Rossignol and Fennelly fine-tuned the lyrics and structure of the song. They then conducted separate three-hour recording sessions for drums, vocals and bass and guitar.
“With each take you highlight different aspects of the song, which makes it all come together in the end,” Rossignol said. “It’s been rewarding to have someone I’d never met before believe in my music.”
The folks at Plaid Dog also helped Rossignol launch her crowd-funding campaign on the website IndieGoGo, which will cover all expenses that arise from recording sessions.
Rossignol does not have a release date but expects to return to Boston soon to begin a several month process of recording the rest of the songs. She said she is grateful for the support of donors and people who have responded positively to her music online.
Though her album does not yet have a title, Rossignol noted that common themes include self-acceptance and not letting personal struggles prevent her from sharing her unique voice.
“So Long” is about not allowing challenges from the past define who she is today. Most of her musical influences come from blues artists such as B.B. King and jazz artists such as Miles Davis and John Coltrane, though she also listens to classic rock and pop occasionally.
After completing the album Rossignol plans to market the finished product online and also sell CDs. She hopes to use music as part of her occupational therapy career and as a side business for herself.
“There’s a lot of evidence that music is therapeutic for patients in recovery. The rhythms match our bodies and can help people walk again,” Rossignol said.
Rossignol gives much credit to the middle and high school music teachers who helped shape her love of music. She said that growing up in Mapleton helped form her sense of community and work ethic and that she hopes to play shows locally during future visits.
“Although I don’t live here anymore the community helped shape who I am,” Rossignol said. “I’m proud to be from around here and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my music with everyone.”