Colleen Rennison is an enigma. On stage she is a powerful performer, capable of intoxicating a crowd with a sexy, whisky drenched attitude that, quite frankly, makes grown men feel a little like teenage girls at a Justin Bieber concert. Away from the stage she’s completely down to earth, normal and with the attitude of someone who can’t quite believe she’s the person who’s fronting No Sinner, a remarkably powerful band from Canada that are causing a stir across the globe, and are currently touring Europe.
Colleen has tasted fame outside of the music business before now. She’s an award nominated actress and has been gracing TV and movie screens since she was a child, but that has all been put on hold in an attempt to snatch a career in music. The music business is one she sees as fickle, as somewhere chances are fleeting and the workload is high, but the sense of personal reward is more than worth the effort.
Since she was young Colleen has been compared to Janis Joplin. People have told her she resembles the star, both in looks and voice. While he looks comment is debatable in the extreme the vocal comparison is easier to see, they share a huskiness of tone and an absolute commitment to every performance. Perhaps surprisingly Janis is not one of Rennison’s big influences. She feels that any similarities come more from a collection of shared influences rather than as a direct line. Both talk of Tina Turner, especially in her early career, along with Big Mama Thornton and Etta James as being some of the singers that they relate directly to. In fact the comparison with Joplin caused Colleen to shy away from listening to the woman she’s most compared to.
When it comes to music now Colleen finds it hard to attach a label to No Sinner. With large doses of influence from garage rock, primal blues, classic rock, soul and americana, the band can fit into many boxes. She pulls a word out of the air as we talk, and hits the nail fairly squarely on the head when she says jambalaya. It’s just like the southern delicacy, all the best bits mixed up into a spicy and satisfying whole.
Having just finished a tour of the UK and about to head out into Europe before retuning to Canada, No Sinner are starting to capitalise on the notoriety a series of appearances at the prestigious SXSW music festival earlier this year. While it certainly brought the act some much needed publicity it was not necessarily a pleasant experience for Colleen, the chaos and the constant demands for time from press and transportation left her drained and unable to enjoy the festival. The performances were a series of high points, but the parts in between were hell and it wasn’t until the road trip that took them back home that she began to relax and enjoy herself again.
No sinner are a class act, with an emphasis on chaotic, raw emotion, and a singer that is every inch a star special things are on the cards. If you haven’t heard them yet, do your ears a favour and check them out.