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Interview: The Willows 

The voices of Krista Deady, Andrea Gregario and Lauren Pedersen are spun gold, blended so well that they come across as one three-tiered voice. The trio known as The Willows makes other vocalists sound like Edith Bunker. It's simply beautiful as the group goes at its classic jazz with mucho swing. We tracked down the band on the road to ask a few questions. Krista Deady fielded the inquiry. An edited transcript follows.

CITY: Give me a little history of the group.

Krista Deady: The three of us met around the age of six in our hometown of Edmonton, Alberta. We were all enrolled at the same ballet school, where we studied rigorously for more than 10 years. The three of us moved to Toronto in 2008 to pursue our dance studies at Ryerson University, and the rest as they say, is history.

How long have you been singing together?

We started singing together in 2009 when the three of us were roommates in university. The catalyst for us was a musical theatre class we were all enrolled in, where we discovered our ability to harmonize with each other and perform songs as a group. Perfectly arranged and choreographed, too.

How do you make three-part harmony sound like four- part harmony?

We write our songs and arrange our voices to weave around one another, making it seem like there may be a tricky little fourth voice in there. Our musicians always add so much color to our harmonies as well, giving our sound a sense of depth and dimension.

What do you call what you do?

Jazzy-pop with a nostalgic charm.

Do you still dance?

We still include lots of movement in our performances, as it's woven into our roots and into everything we do.  Movement and music, for us, can't live without one another.

Is the vintage tinge in your overall sound intentional, or something that manifests naturally?

Right from the early days of The Willows, we were really drawn to the tight harmonies of various musicians of the past. It's been a natural manifestation in our music, and it's something that now defines our sound as a group. All of our original music has elements of that vintage sound. However, we aim to keep things fresh and current with our own take on melodies, harmonies, and instrumentation.

Who are some obvious influences?

The Andrews Sisters, Ella Fitzgerald, The Beach Boys, Billie Holiday.

Who are some not-so-obvious influences?

James Taylor, Queen, Jamie Cullum, The Eagles.

What's something you haven't done yet, but want to?

We would love to perform with a full orchestra.

What part of your act do fans particularly identify with?

We find that our fans really appreciate witnessing our deeply rooted friendship shine through in our live show. It's hard to explain in words how it affects our music, but we really do feel at home together on stage, and having years of friendship seems to give us a sense of sincerity and comfort while performing. Our listeners seem to enjoy the intricate harmonies, and like to feel like they are stepping into an old world through new eyes.

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