Just this last September, Begonia (Alexa Dirks) released her long-awaited debut album, Fear via Rex Baby Records (The Orchard). As Begonia, Dirks is a bold and brazen performer with a florid, surprising pop tempered with sensitivity and wisdom. And it’s both her songs and her voice that has the music world abuzz. Noisey wrote that, “Begonia has one of Canada’s most extraordinary voices, and thankfully she uses it to obliterate the misery from this world one live performance at a time.” On tour to support Fear, Begonia brings her amazing show to the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts on Friday, January 31 supported by Jason Pankratz (bass), Cody Iwasiuk (drums), and Graham Leaver (keys).
Three plus years ago, Dirks began to transform. An eminently talented vocalist equally comfortable singing lullabies, head-bangers and ballads—she’d made a name for herself for her work in ensembles like the Juno-winning Chic Gamine. But in 2016, she stepped forward on her own, redubbing herself ‘Begonia’ and signaling the blossom of a dynamic and intriguing artist: a glittery supernova who felt like music’s best-kept secret.
After releasing a well-received EP in 2017, she set about making her first LP – and now that secret is finally coming out. Fear is a deeply personal album, at once bursting with ruminations on solitude, self-doubt, anxiety, and panic, all bundled up in that serene feeling that comes with an artist fully embracing themselves in both the past and the present tense. She wrote and co-produced the record with a familiar team: Matt Schellenberg and Matt Peters of Royal Canoe, along with Marcus Paquin, who has previously worked with The National, Arcade Fire and Local Natives.
On stage, Begonia dresses in bold, sometimes bright-coloured wardrobe: it’s how she feels most powerful, “almost like a superhero version of herself,” she says. Her music feels like something we’ve all been waiting for the chance to say, but couldn’t quite phrase. Whether it’s learning to come into her own or processing a brutal heartbreak, Dirks’ powerful lyrics and audacious sound allows her audience to relate to the messiness of life with an honesty that is real and refreshing
It’s clear a new Canadian music force is out there making waves. You want to be there to catch this rising star at the Shadbolt – part of the Centre’s Deer Lake After Dark* series of extraordinary music artists.
Friday, January 31 | 8pm
Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, James Cowan Theatre
6450 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby (free parking)
https://tickets.shadboltcentre.com/ | 604-205-3000
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