God help me, I’m my mother’s child.
Try to fight it, but I just can’t win.”
Those words from singer/songwriter Dawn Langstroth’s Mother’s Child, speak volumes about her early struggle to find her true self as the daughter of legendary Canadian songstress Anne Murray. But the final lines of this heart-felt tune on Dawn’s full-length debut album, Highwire, reveal a happy ending…and beginning:
“God blessed me; I’m my mother’s child.
Yes mister, I’m my mother’s child.
What a happy tragedy;
Crazy, custom made for me.
That’s the way I want it to be.”
Sharing music with others has been a lifelong pastime for Dawn. Born in Toronto to Anne Murray and television producer and TV show host Bill Langstroth, Dawn participated in local musicals and choirs. But her favourite time was spent singing and playing guitar with family and friends at her family’s cottage in Nova Scotia. During one of these jam sessions, Langstroth was startled to hear one of her tunes sung in harmony by her mother and her brother, Will.
“It seemed amazing to realize that I had created that piece…and it sounded pretty good!” Dawn says, with a modest chuckle.
She had been expressing her feelings through poetry for most of her teenage years. Then, in a chance meeting with legendary entertainment manager Bruce Allen, he encouraged Dawn to try composing lyrics. It was a defining moment for the young artist.
One of her first tunes, Stranded (No. 8 on Highwire), is about her personal pain of unrequited love. “I wrote this song with Anthony Vanderburgh,” Dawn says. “I was surprised that songwriting seemed like such a natural thing for me to do.”
Over the next six years or so, she co-wrote about a dozen songs…and carefully tucked them under her pillow.
“I enjoy working with other musicians (David Martin – It’s All Good and Elevator Music; Amanda Stott – It’s All Good; Ron Sexsmith – Enough for Two and You Don’t Want Me; John Randall Stewart and Sally Barris – Dark and Twisted; Geoff Gibbons – No Prize; Matthew Gerrard and Christopher Ward – Highwire Heart; Anthony Vanderburgh – Stranded; and Mike James and Troy Samson – Mother’s Child) because we inspire each other with our ideas and experiences,” Dawn explains. “Whether I’m listening or creating, I always bring something of myself to the music – otherwise, what’s the point?”
She made her recording debut in 1996, singing background vocals with Juno Award-winning singer/songwriter Jann Arden, on The Other Side for Anne Murray’s self-titled album.
"Miss Langstroth really is one of Canada's undiscovered musical marvels,” Arden commented. “Her voice is like a shard of colored glass, and her songwriting is beautifully economical and poetic. Every time I hear her sing, I am quite simply stunned. She is one not to be missed."
Next came the duet single and video, Let There Be Love, also recorded with Murray from her platinum-selling album, What A Wonderful World, in 2006. After garnering a loyal following from concerts in Victoria and Vancouver that same year, Dawn returned to Toronto where she performed at local clubs and in the John McDermott and Friends Christmas Concert at Roy Thompson Hall.
She began a highly successful 2007 as the opening act for The Rankin Family’s Canadian tour and released a self-titled, five-song EP. That summer, Dawn also had the opportunity to work with legendary producers Phil Ramone and Al Schmidt on Anne Murray’s double-platinum release, Duets: Friends & Legends.
During The Rankin Family’s Toronto concert, a fateful meeting with legendary, Grammy-Award-winning producer/engineer, George Massenburg (i.e. Earth, Wind & Fire, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Randy Newman, and Dixie Chicks) turned into a show-stopper for Dawn.
“I wasn’t originally scheduled for the Massey Hall performance in Toronto, but I was added in with a two-song opener ahead of the opening act,” she explains. “George was there to meet up with his wife, Cookie Rankin, and caught my short set. He was very nice, and expressed an interest in working with me at his studio in Nashville.
“Frankly, I didn’t think he was serious,” she continues, in clear awe of her destiny. “We ended up doing not just a few songs, but all 12 of the songs that I’ve had written and held on to for the past 10 years – the time was finally right.
Dawn’s second five-song EP, No Mercy, was co-produced by George Massenburg and Jon Randall Stewart for release in April 2008. That relationship, in turn, led to Langstroth’s debut album, Highwire, also produced by Massenburg and Stewart.
“It’s all good!” to Dawn’s growing legions of fans on Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and YouTube. Chosen as a female artist to watch by GWNtertainment – 100% Pure Canadian Music Magazine, Langstroth continues to push her boundaries through songwriting, performing live concerts (including opening for Marc Jordan and David Clayton-Thomas) in both large and intimate venues, and stepping outside her true character for a Dark and Twisted music video.
Dawn also has an enthusiastic following in the art world. Burgeoning commissions for her delightfully bold and wonky paintings of whimsical houses and rooms overflowing with life’s details are proof of her versatile, artistic repertoire. Although she was trained in “Realism” as a child, Dawn loves the creative freedom of her new art form: “The lines take me wherever they want to go.”
“My inspiration to write and paint comes when I’m extremely emotional or passionate about something,” Dawn shares. “I immerse myself in that emotion, feel its intensity, and let my mind flow through all sorts of ideas. For me, it’s like having a good cry or a gut-busting laugh.”