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As fast as she can

For half her life, Carolann Fowler of South River has taken the stage in front of large crowds and sang her heart out.

Submitted photo by Kayla White
Carolann Fowler has been recognized far and wide for her singing talents after a performance with Great Big Sea frontman Alan Doyle.

The 31-year-old, who now resides in the St. John’s area, has been working hard towards her dream of becoming a professional singer, travelling the country for gigs.

“I started late, at 16 years old,” she said of her first experience singing. “It was for a school play. But then I kind of hit the ground running.”

Her first band was Ocean Skye, a group comprised of members originally from Bay Roberts, Clarke’s Beach, South River and Shearstown. The band played mostly folk tunes, performing at many different venues, including a local gig at the Sheila NaGeira Theatre for an arts showcase in 2003.

By 2006, one of the members moved away, and the band stopped performing together. But that didn’t stop Fowler from continuing on with her dream.

She became active in the downtown St. John’s music scene, and is now a widely known performer in local circles.

Her current group, Third Fret, plays every week, including at least one show a month at Greensleeves. They also have a gig coming up in Placentia. Other members of Third Fret are Chris Davis and Jeff Dicks.

She is hoping to get some more gigs in the Conception Bay North area, where her parents, Pat and Lillian Fowler, still live.

Keeping busy

Fowler is a woman of many faces. She performs a lot in the evenings, at night and on weekends. But during the day, she maintains three jobs — she’s also a driving instructor, nanny, and respite worker. When asked when she has time for herself, she laughed and acknowledged it’s a lot to take on, but doesn’t see music as work.

“If it’s what you want, you need to make it happen somehow,” she explained.

On February 7, Fowler got to experience something rare with a singer-songwriter she’s looked up to for many years — Alan Doyle.

During his concert at the Holy Heart Theatre, Fowler spent the whole first set nervous. She had been communicating with the Great Big Sea frontman over Christmas on Twitter.

“You may not be ready to say you love me yet, but I got no prob saying it on Twitter, after a bottle of win. Duet in February?” her post said.

In a response, Doyle asked what tune, and proceeded to confirm he’d be interested.

Fowler didn’t know if he would remember the conversation when the day of the show arrived. When the first set was over, she knew the second set would open with an acoustic song. “Fast as I Can” is the song she suggested they sing together, and it is an acoustic tune.

“He came out (for the second set) talking about how he likes to blog and use Twitter,” Fowler recalled. “I said, ‘Oh my God, this is going to happen.’ The amount of nervousness I felt, I’ve never felt in my life.”

The memory is a blur for Fowler, but somebody taped the entire performance and it was uploaded to It can be viewed at this link:

The video went viral, and people across Canada were contacting Fowler to tell her how great she was.

“It could have been something that flew under the radar,” she said, noting social media helped get the video around. “It could have just been something that was pretty cool for me to experience.”

Fowler and Doyle exchanged email addresses and have stayed in contact. She is very happy he took a chance on her.

Next for Fowler

Fowler has been working on a solo album and hopes it will be released later this year. She feels her new friendship with Doyle may give her the opportunity to work with him for the album.

“I feel as though his influence will be a part of the album,” she said.

She also has plans to start performing around the province with a full band this summer, and will travel to Halifax to write with some big name Newfoundland artists.

Her style is a mix of Top 40 and country, plus some gospel-style influence.

“There’s something for everybody,” she said.

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