Runaway Angel – Cadence Grace, Ann Chaplin and Stacey Zegers – is BACK and just in time to provide us with a great feel good summertime song, “Beach Please”.
The new single release marks the trio’s tenth anniversary.
Since Runaway Angel’s formation in 2013, the ladies have been 2016 CCMA Discovery Artist nominees and celebrated 7 Country Music Association of Ontario nominations, two iTunes Canadian Country Top 5 charting albums, and a previous Top 50 Canadian radio hit (“Witness”). They have also toured Canada and Europe.
“Beach Please” is a poignant milestone as the group’s first new music since Grace’s leukemia diagnosis in 2018. Following Cadence’s courageous journey – which included a personal blog, a life-saving bone marrow transplant, receiving the Extraordinary CML Story Award at the 2019 Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Network Conference, and earning the Country Music Association of Ontario’s Holly and Steve Kassay Generous Spirit Award – she, Ann and Stacey have emerged stronger than ever. They’re also newly-signed to RÊVE MUSIC.
It was great to see the ladies recently at the CMAOntario Festival & Awards weekend, at the Front Porch Live Music Sessions. There, the trio performed a new song, “Finish What We Started”, which seems to describe their current mission. They are back on track to climb the country charts and have the time of their lives doing so.
Tell us the story behind the writing of your new summer anthem “Beach Please”.
Cadence: Kate Malone was someone we hadn’t written with before, so we weren’t sure what to expect, but we just all really hit it off. She had this great bass line that felt super beachy and Stacey really wanted to write a beach song this year, so we immediately gravitated towards that and started throwing around Ideas.
Ann: Once we had the line “Beach Please” (which I just said jokingly at some point), everyone was like “wait, go back, I think that’s the hook” and from there the song almost wrote itself!
Stacey: Yeah. We really wanted to write a fun, carefree summer song and when we heard this topline with Kate Malone, it all fell into place so quickly. It feels simple lyrically at first listen, but we definitely put a lot of thought into riding a fine line between clever and cute.
Stream “Beach Please” here: orcd.co/beachplease
How does it feel to be back as Runaway Angel?
Cadence: All I dreamed about for four years when I was sick was being back on stage with these girls. Picking up where we left off. So much time had passed that I was really afraid that was never going to happen, and I am eternally grateful to these girls for being willing to start a second chapter. I just love creating with them and being in harmony with them. It makes everything else in the world fade away when we perform together.
Stacey: So fun! It just feels so good to sing together and get creative with friends.
Ann: It feels so natural, familiar, and chaotic and terrifying at the same time! We hope we can find a way to pick up where we left off.
What’s your favourite part about songwriting?
Cadence: I love the connection writing music gives you to your other co-writers as well as your fans. Sharing your true self and your experiences through song brings everyone closer together and creates a sense of unity and community that’s really special.
Stacey: The emotional release – or the ability to process something you’re going through – through art. It’s great therapy!
Ann: It’s just incredible to me that you can create something that can have a life of its own the way a song does. They can mean so much and so many different things to different people.
Who would be your dream co-writer and why?
Cadence: Deric Ruttan is an amazing writer (and Canadian) so it would definitely be an honour to write with him. As someone who grew up writing mostly pop for film and television, I also would love to write with Max Martin.
Stacey: Deric Ruttan! He’s always been at the top of my list. He writes such a wide variety of catchy and fun songs but also some incredibly moving and heartfelt honest songs. I just think I would learn so much from the session.
Ann: Deric Ruttan! I’ve always been very much on board with Stacey’s high opinion of him.
What does success in music look like to you?
Cadence: Before getting diagnosed with cancer, I think my view of success was sometimes focused on the wrong things. Obviously, my lifelong goal has always been to find a way to only have music as my job, but I was definitely hung up a bit on having commercial success and winning awards, etc. At the fundraiser everyone hosted before my transplant, just hearing the stories people were telling about how I impacted them and seeing the love and support that people were showing me from such a genuine place really shifted that view for me. In that moment, I felt the most successful I ever had, to just be so loved and supported by so many people. It really shifted my view of everything in my life.
Stacey: Not having to worry about anything but writing music and getting on stage and singing.
Ann: The definition of success has changed so much over the years for me. At this point in my life, I think I just want to feel creatively fulfilled, and never feel like I’m not in the right place and being authentic.
What is the best advice you could pass on to a new artist?
Cadence: Your network is your net worth and that’s the bottom line. Networking is the most important tool and skill you can use. It’s also really important to remember networking isn’t about selling YOURSELF. It’s about attending events, supporting other artists and the community as a whole. It’s about taking the time to genuinely build real relationships with the people in the industry and cheerlead for others. Listen during conversations, and remember what people say to you about their families, kids etc. Take notes if you have to! Building relationships takes real work but it pays off more than anything else you could invest in. In the beginning, it’s going to feel weird inserting yourself into new situations and meeting total strangers. But in five years, those people could be your best friends and a huge source of love and support to you and your career.
Stacey: Quiet the noise and do it for YOU. So many people are going to have an opinion about you and your music, but if you listen to your instinct and keep working through to get more refined and confident within yourself, you can achieve great things!
Ann: It is so important to listen to your gut, but as artists we can be such bleeding hearts. Sometimes we want so badly for things to be true when they just are not. If something feels too good to be true, and even if you desperately WANT it to be true, you need to do your homework. Look at every situation as if you were your own lawyer and manager. Ask questions.
Dave Woods is a monthly columnist for CMAOntario and hosts the popular podcast & social media pages In The Country with Dave Woods & runs various songwriters showcases including Country Nights In The City at The Moonshine Cafe in Oakville & the Heart Of Country Songwriters Showcase at the Rec Room in Mississauga. In June 2023, Dave was named the CMAOntario Music Industry Person Of The Year.