July 9, 2022

Desirée Dawson + Madison Violet

@ Stage-in-the-Park

Ontario, British Columbia

Desiree dawson

Desirée Dawson, Photo courtesy of the artist


JUNO nominees Desirée Dawson and Madison Violet perform on our Stage in the Park, both bringing a familiar-yet-new folk sound to our campus.

About Desirée Dawson

Desirée Dawson is a JUNO-nominated recording artist, songwriter, producer and yoga teacher. She was born, raised and is currently residing in the occupied, traditional, unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ / sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) nations. 

Dawson is of mixed ancestry; her mother’s French-Canadian settler ancestry is from Ontario and her father is of African descent from South Carolina. She is very passionate about music’s role in collective healing by encouraging listeners to find a connection within themselves and the people and land around them. A CBC Radio favorite, Dawson’s music has been featured on numerous CBC programs and she also won the CBC Searchlight contest in 2016. Over the last couple of years, Dawson has been chosen for multiple high-profile opportunities across the industry, whether as a songwriter in the Discovery Song Camp with Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, a participant in the Allan Slaight JUNO Masterclass, as an artist in the Vancouver Folk Fest or a juror in the inaugural Black Canadian Music Awards. Her EP Meet You at the Light was JUNO-nominated for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year, and the title track’s music video won Best Music Video at SXSW 2022. Whether performing solo with her baritone ukulele, in harmony with her band or leading sound healing workshops, Dawson’s music is made to get us feeling and healing. 

About Madison Violet

After 20 years together, JUNO-nominated singer-songwriting duo, Madison Violet, are wanderers and musicians. Inspired by travel and changing landscapes, Madison Violet’s sound is informed by an ever-increasing curiosity about the towns, venues and music they play, all with the desire to push musical boundaries forward.  

The spark that ignited Madison Violet’s irrepressible curiosity came from an unlikely source: while sitting in Brenley MacEachern ‘s grandmother’s kitchen in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, bursting with family, friends, instruments (and maybe even a foe or two) and miles from their adopted home of Toronto, Ontario, two musicians looked at each over the flickering light of the old wood stove and knew that theirs would be an unconventional journey. Inspired by their heritage and encouraged by their vision, Lisa MacIsaac and Brenley MacEachern decided they would create a sound with its roots in their past while continually exploring new sounds. From the beginning, the multi-instrumentalists have carried authenticity with them like a talisman, writing their music and lyrics, believing that the best way to connect to their audiences was to treat them like old friends sharing a secret and a smile. As vocalists, they have an innate ability to break your heart, slyly knowing that their soaring harmonies will mend it, often all in the span of one song.   

The shared belief in themselves and their fearlessness to follow their dreams did eventually pay off, and accolades and awards soon became synonymous with Madison Violet, including a JUNO nomination, a Canadian Folk Music Award for Best Vocal Group Album of the Year and a Critic’s Choice Award from Country Music People’s Magazine. Their songs have been featured in the MOJO’s Top 10 Playlist and received a lot of acclaim from the BBC, the CBC, Maverick Magazine and NPR. The duo has earned the Grand Prize in the Maxell John Lennon Song Writing Contest (voted on by a panel of artists including Elton John, Tim McGraw, Black Eyed Peas, Fergie, John Legend, Enrique Iglesias and Mary J. Blige). Madison Violet was on Germany’s WDR’s list of “Best Bands of All Time,” and their single “These Ships” was released in 2014 on one of the largest dance labels in the U.S., Ultra Records, garnering over 1,000,000 plays on Spotify. Madison Violet has nine studio albums to their credit. Their album, Everything’s Shifting, is a heartfelt examination of how memory can splinter a heart, how loss shapes perspective, and how sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can’t have love without regret. It is an album to be listened to on the open road, with the windows rolled down: a love letter to their fans from two wanderers who continue to follow the melodies wherever they lead. 

Dates & Times

July 9
5pm – Desirée Dawson
6:30pm – Madison Violet


Stage in the Park

235 Queens Quay West
Toronto, ON

Keywords MusicPerformance