Wednesday, 22 March 2017 14:17

Swift Current singer takes that next big step

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Swift Current singer and songwriter Vanessa Gauvin is getting a unique opportunity to perform in front of her hometown fans. Her musical contribution will be part of a tribute to a locally iconic and unique member of the vast Swift Current music scene.


One Man Short and Friends — which besides Gauvin,  includes Swift Current’s Kill the Lights as well as Saskatoon’s Off the Top Rope — will perform March 24 with One Man Short, a popular Swift Current punk rock band who are reuniting for a concert at the Lyric Theatre. Gauvin can’t wait.
“It’s really cool to play with One Man Short, I used to attend their all ages shows when I was younger. My mother (Helen Phillippi) taught guitar to Brent Patoine,” explains Gauvin. “Growing up watching local bands and musicians has had a big influence on me. Seeing the music and entertainment culture grow with the reopening of the Lyric is fantastic. Music is a positive way for people to connect and express themselves.
“My brother Nick Gauvin is playing in band Kill the Lights. They’re high energy and put on a great show. Corbin Switzer (whom is also in Kill the Lights) is with Big Siddy Productions and organizing the show. He is also a songwriter; I’ve known him for a long time.”
Gauvin has only been performing live in Swift Current for about a year. Her first gig was at Lucky Charlie’s about a year ago for an open mic night where she received a favourable response which was encouraging. She went to an open mic night at the Lyric with similar results and she was asked to host.
“I still feel nervous anticipating performing, but once I start playing the first song I tap into my rhythm and nothing else matters,” she says and actually describes herself as shy and soft-spoken. “My vocals are self-taught. All I think about when I sing is free flowing my emotion. I listen to a huge variety of different music but I think my singing style is most inspired from listening to soulful and bluesy voices. Singers such as Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Brittany Howard, Van Morrison, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Otis Redding, Robert Johnson, Marvin Gaye, Rachel Price. When I started writing my own songs I had no idea what to expect to come out. I think lyrically, poetic artists such as Jim Morrison, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Blind Melon and Patti Smith have inspired me. I feel like I have only just been introduced to this side of myself so I am very interested to see how my style will develop in the future.”
Gauvin, 26, has seen a lot of places already in her young life. Born in Chepstov, Ontario, she was raised in Swift Current. The youngest of four, Gauvin graduated high school at the Comp. in 2008. She says after high school she moved to Jasper, Alta. Over the next eight years besides Jasper, she also lived in Whistler, Vancouver and spent one year living in Australia.
The fact the musically-gifted Gauvin has progressed this far with her music shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Her mom is a professional artist and musician and has taught guitar lessons. Her father Vic Gauvin and of course Nic are also musicians. Vic and Helen played gigs together.
“I was fortunate to grow up in a household with lots of music and art going on ... My family encouraged self-expression, allowing us to freely pursue our interest,” Gauvin explains and adds sister Danille Gauvin is a professional artist. “My musical roots started when I studied piano in grade school also an interest in language and poetry which developed in school. Around 13 is when I self-started a routine of singing and playing the piano or guitar in our living room. I would go through all of the music books my Mom had in the house and teach myself to play. Since then I have always found enjoyment and solace in playing music for myself.
“It’s only been a year that I have been doing public performances in Swift Current. I was very shy to sing in front of an audience at first, but now I’m excited to share my music with others. I’m not sure if I’m naturally an entertainer, but I’ve learned it’s easy to speak up when I’m doing something I’m passionate about.”
When she first returned to Saskatchewan in late 2015 she started to get deeper into writing poetry and writing a lot to fill her Sketchbooks. She says this is where it evolved into her song writing. From there she had a lot of sources of inspiration for the musical side.
“Growing up I listened to Jacqueline Hudec singing in my house, jamming out with my mom,” recalls Gauvin. “She has an inspiring and gorgeous voice.”
She says watching all the talent come through Swift Current from such sources as Shann Gowan and Blenders is also encouraging. Watching Saskatchewan artists such as Colter Wall, Bears in Hazenmore, Dead South, Megan Nash, Eliza Doyle, League of Wolves, and The Sheepdogs is also encouraging.
“I’m always looking for artists that make me feel something in sound or lyrics. I’m always discovering new artists through the Internet on YouTube, Soundcloud, and Spotify.”
A professional career in the music scene may or may not be in the offing. Her plan is to go back to school at some point to become a nurse. In the meantime she will savour every moment on stage.
Doors at the Lyric open for the One Man Short and Friends concert at 7:30 p.m. with the show starting at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the door and $15 in advance at Pharmasave.
Another big show she will be a part of is at the Akropol May 5 with a band from Jasper called Athabasca Barnburner which is  part of their CD release tour.
“It will be a wicked folksy bluegrass evening,” says Gauvin.
Check out her original song Home on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-Fc_4idnFc.

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Ryan Dahlman

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