The Gazette - August 25, 1994
Lee Aaron: I'm calling the shots now; `I've carved out a niche for myself; I feel successful'
Ten years ago, she made a splash as the Metal Queen, rock'n'roll pinup from the Great White North.
It's a persona that still haunts Toronto singer Lee Aaron, who's outgrown it musically and personally.
"I'm amazed by the impact it made on people. I still get asked about it. People just seem to pigeonhole me.
"I wish people would look at it as just a certain phase of my career, the way they do with (David) Bowie's Ziggy Stardust period," Aaron, 31, said in a telephone interview on the eve of her free concert tonight at Berri Square as part of the Rock Sans Frontieres festival.
"I've improved leaps and bounds since then."
"A lot of artists don't mature artistically until their late 20s.
"Sometimes, I wish I'd waited to record. I did a lot of growing up in the public eye, and some of it is embarrassing to me now."
She has no misgivings, however, about her new album, Emotional Rain.
"From a musical standpoint, it's a lot more interesting record. It's not standard power-chord rock," she said. "There's more textural stuff, and lyrically it's definitely darker."
Since the release of her sixth album, Some Girls Do, three years ago, a lot has happened in Aaron's life. A messy divorce, for one thing.
"It was rather ugly, that experience. It makes you grow as a person."
She also split with her longtime record company, Attic. Emotional Rain is on her own label, HIPCHIC Music.
"This is like a fresh start for me," she noted. "I did some records in the past that I shouldn't have let happen. That won't happen again. I'm calling the shots now.
"And the way I was marketed in the past, there was overkill on the sexual aspect. We're trying to tone that down."
The fifth album, BodyRock, was Aaron's breakthrough in Canada, selling more than 200,000 copies, but she's had a following in Europe almost as long as she's been recording.
"It's maybe because, when I was starting out, Europe had a more relaxed attitude about women's liberation and sexuality," Aaron said.
"North America focused more on the fact I was a woman who played rock whereas Europe treated me as a rock artist who happened to be a woman. There wasn't the same focus on my gender."
Aaron, who got her start in clubs at age 18, still is performing at places like the Centre Sportif Buckingham (tomorrow) and Omemee Pig Roast on Saturday, but she said she's pleased with her career curve.
`Make my fans happy'
"Success is a personal thing. Some people don't feel successful unless they're Madonna. I feel successful. I've carved out a niche for myself. I love what I do; I do it well, make my fans happy, and I'm able to make a decent living.
"What more could a person ask for, really?"
* Lee Aaron performs at the free Rock Sans Frontieres festival at Berri Square on the corner of Ste. Catherine and St. Hubert Sts. tonight at 9:45. Also tonight, 7th Fire performs at 7:30 p.m. and Wild T & the Spirit at 8:30.
* The festival continues through Sunday. Tomorrow's lineup includes Fata Morgana, 6:30; Madame, 7:30; Love Chain, 8:30 and Nanette Workman at 9:45. On Saturday, Shades of Culture play at 5 p.m., Outskirts at 6, Spicy Box at 7:30, Spirit Pushers at 8:30 and Voivod at 9:45. Sunday's lineup includes Doc et les Chiurgiens at 5 p.m., Geoulah at 6, Ex-Libris at 7:30, Nine Below Zero at 8:30 and Alannah Myles at 9:45.
* For more information on the Rock Sans Frontieres festival, call 287-9703.
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