The Prairie Belles Podcast began when local singer/songwriter Lisa Nicole Grace and local actress/theatre coach/booking agent Daneel Irons joined forces in 2010. Their combined knowledge of the music and theatre communities in Edmonton, along with their passion for local arts, fueled the fire to start the podcast. Since then, the Prairie Belles have recorded more than 100 podcast episodes, featuring hundreds of local artists and bands, promoting events at almost every venue in town, and letting Edmonton know about exciting upcoming musical and theatre events.
With over 700 followers and over 5000 listeners, they have worked hard at making sure Edmonton’s talented community gets the recognition and love that it deserves. They don’t get paid for what they do. They take time each week to find out what’s going on, to check out what is new and exciting, and to help spread the word about artistic endeavours because they love Edmonton and they love the arts.
Daneel Irons moved to Edmonton from Saskatoon in 2004 to attend the Grant MacEwan college Theatre Arts program and began building strong relationships in the theatre, dance, and music communities. After receiving her diploma, she starred in an anti-bullying production called The Power of One, which toured schools around Alberta. She later teamed up with Basic Acid Theatre in a play called Occupied, which debuted at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival. In 2008, Daneel decided to start up an improv group that evolved into DropCloth Improv, a company that brings together both amateurs and seasoned improvisers to learn from each other, increase confidence, collaborate, and have fun. To date, this group has performed over a dozen shows for sold out audiences in downtown Edmonton.
At the same time, Daneel was working as a server at Hulbert’s coffee house. After showing a great interest in the musicians who came by each week for the Sunday night songwriters stage, owners Chris Martinyuk and Cameron Gertz (founders of YEGLive) asked Daneel to take on the role of booking agent, sparking her passion for supporting the Edmonton arts community even further.
Daneel went on to volunteer in the Metro Room at Axis Cafe, booking shows, and meeting and greeting bands and live music audiences in downtown Edmonton. The owners of Axis Cafe also allowed Daneel to use their space to pursue another dream — her own theatre school. FollowSpot provides affordable drama classes for children and is in its fourth year. Teaching a group of 12 students each week, Daneel finds incredible joy seeing these young actors grow and develop.
As Daneel’s involvement in the arts community continues to take shape, she is always seeking new projects and partnerships.
Lisa Nicole Grace (also known as Lisa Evangelos when she works at the YWCA as a special events coordinator) is likewise passionate about the arts. From her efforts within the music community as an independent singer/songwriter and teaching voice lessons, to being the social media coordinator for the Northern Lights Folk Club in Edmonton, to co-creating and co-hosting the weekly Prairie Belles arts podcast, she is wholeheartedly dedicated to the creation, promotion, and preservation of the arts in her local community and beyond.
Through her many artistic endeavours, Lisa has found songwriting to be an extra special treasure. Lisa’s songwriting consistently reflects three things – faith, friends, and family. Her greatest inspiration is the relationships she has been blessed with, and she continuously finds herself expressing her thoughts and emotions with regard to these relationships through her music.
Lisa also finds incredible joy in singing harmony for other friends and artists. She does most of her collaborating with her husband Jered Evangelos and her brother-in-law Brent Schaitel. She is lucky to have many musical friends who have invested their talents in her performances, recording and writing.
Lisa released her first full length record, titled Prairie Belle, in October 2011. She celebrated the release with close friends and family on a chartered streetcar performance atop the High Level Bridge in Edmonton on October 29th. She then embarked on a Western Canadian CD release tour from British Columbia to Manitoba with VIA RAIL. With the release of her new record and her upcoming plans for 2012, Lisa is already making her mark on the Canadian music scene as an up and coming singer and songwriter.
Listen to the latest Prairie Belles podcast and more than 100 archived podcasts at www.prairiebelles.com/podcast-archive.