When Rachel Beausoleil started working on her latest album, she approached me about designing the artwork. We sat down and threw around some ideas before she even started recording, but didn’t come up with anything solid because I didn’t have a sound to go on. All I knew was that it was a medley of songs, not like her last album where the songs followed a theme.
One day I came home to find a recording of the album in my mailbox, yet to be mastered. She named the album after the eponymous track, The Dawning, which is a jazz arrangement of the famous song Aquarius, a personal anthem of hers.
She gave me her notes soon after, so I put on the album and gave it a good listen, feeling a certain clarity from her sound. It made me think about dawn, and space, and sunrises, and hot colours, so I incorporated those elements when laying out the text, as well as some bokeh to give an off-focus glimmer.
When I showed her the initial designs, she said it matched her vision completely. She had just come back from a camping trip, where she woke up to this image on the lake every day. The back and the front go together, so that the artwork becomes one contiguous piece when opened.
As a final touch, I added silhouettes of birds throughout the piece for the idea of freedom. And damn, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t proud of the final product. Especially when the album comes on, and I see the artwork on my iPhone. You can head over to her website (which I also designed) for some samples of songs from The Dawning.
The CD release concert was fantastic. Rachel is a singer who definitely feeds off the energy of the audience, and the Fourth Stage at the NAC is the perfect venue for intimate performances. There was a good mix of old favourites and new material too, where one was left with both surprised and satisfied.