“O my head spin round and round … My feet won’t touch the ground”, are lyrics meant to carry you into the exciting world of a new young band from Barrie, Ontario, making their debut into the fast tumbled world and work of the Canadian music industry. Lead singer Nicole Duquette is one voice that will undoubtedly be heard for many years to come. With their band and remarkable songwriting, the Hillbirds are garnering the attention they richly deserve.
The Hillbirds are the brainchild of husband and wife duo, Nick and Nicole Duquette, who realized that their dream to make music together would be better served with a band after they had been playing as a duo in southern France, where they ventured in 2017. Nicole had previously made some inroads as a vivacious singer-songwriter with her uplifting tunes that she had been playing in her hometown of Huntsville. When the duo met and began playing together, Nicole found not only a soulmate, but also an inspired musical partner.
Returning to Canada in 2018, Nicole and Nick formed a plan on how they would undertake the aspirational goal of ultimately playing songs for a living. In the year that followed, while working at their respective trades, they found and formed a band called the Hillbirds. The Hillbirds’ sound is as unique and elevating as their name suggests. Nicole feels that they have found a congenial alliance with fellow instrumentalists drummer Tanner Greatrix and bass player David Rakusin. Both bring styling that match well with the talents that Nicole’s singing and song writing bring to the mix, but they blend well with the multi-skilled Nick who adds lead guitar and trumpet to their songs. Their material at this point tends toward joyful, cheerful alternative folk pop rock, which admirably supports Nicole’s beautiful singing and phrasing. The presence of solo trumpet in a pop band is an electrifying and defining aspect of the music this band will be making.
Both Nick and Nicole have a large catalogue of songs that make their way into their energetic live shows. While they have their own approach to the process of song creation and arrangement, they both try to stay open to inspiration and ideas from all sources. Nicole firmly believes that songs must connect with the listener and fulfill needs that we all have such as the need for love, hope and joy. Nicole also finds that life is best pursued by finding your passion, reaching for goals, striving for what you believe in and doing what you love. Love is the essential component of Nicole and the Hillbirds’ magic – love for your self, love for each other and love for what you get to do every day! Love of music is a joyful dance we get to do together!
The Hillbirds released their first single “Peace of Mind,” in December 2019 and they are encouraged by the reception thus far. Nick’s nimble guitar introduces the song in which Nicole sings her thoughtful lyrics, while the band falls in behind. The song is immediately recognizable, fusing textures and colours that have permeated radio song writing throughout its history. Still, the song is unique enough to stand on its own and merit continued interested and listening. “Peace of Mind” is the first tune available from their forthcoming EP album, which The Hillbirds hope to have available for national distribution by summer 2020. The album will mostly be engineered and produced by Nick in their own studio with outside help coming from associates in Barrie, Ontario, where the band makes its home. Based on the accessible sound of their first single, it is likely they will be a travelling touring band in the near future as their audience grows and more fans find their way to their music. On stage, the Hillbirds are a pleasure to watch and hear. The interplay between band members and especially between Nicole and Nick is appealing and one senses that audiences of all ages could easily gravitate to their songs and live shows.
The Hillbirds are an exciting new band with a new sound that will be valued as they develop and mature. Follow them now and you’ll be happy you did.