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A RISING STAR

Q: What are some of the advantages and/or disadvantages of being a female musician in the jazz community? Have there been any “stand out” moments/memories you’d be willing to share?

A: There have definitely been a lot of ups and downs of being a woman in jazz, honestly just in being a woman in general. Music is such a male dominated field, particularly instrumental music so it has made it nearly impossible for me to really feel like I belong and to this day struggle with feeling truly accepted by my male colleagues. I have always felt like I had to be a step ahead to even be considered an equal and even when they do treat me as such, I still catch myself questioning whether they are just being nice to me or that they have some other unfortunate motives to include me. I will say it has made me very recognizable to be the “little girl playing bass with the poofy hair” so I can say I appreciate the memorability factor haha. I would love jazz to be more gender inclusive and I do see steps being made but I anticipate a long painful journey. 

Q: How did your tenure in the Youth Lab Band prep you for moving forward as a musician?

A: The lab band was such a fun and enriching experience. It was honestly just such a hang getting to know some other musicians my age in the city that wanted to pursue music. Sean Craig was always there to encourage me to grow by kicking my ass musically and he was just such a great role model. He helped me understand how to deal with the stress that sometimes comes with the music world and how people are not going to always be holding my hand through things and it has really prepared me for university and the real world.

Q: Please share with us your favourite live music memory, either as a performer or in the audience.

A: I was fortunate enough that my high school band director, Jeremy Legault, was so involved in the Calgary jazz education scene that our school band was able to play with some heavy jazz musicians like Ted Nash, Dick Oatts and Luis Bonilla. In grade 10, I was lucky enough to be in the senior big band and that year we played an amazing piece by Alan Baylock called “El Abrazo” and that year Luis Bonilla was our guest artist. We played a gig with him at the Ironwood and at the beginning of the tune I have a short little feature where I come in alone with the time and near the end where the band comes in Luis honked out a hip little line out of his trombone that he never played in any rehearsal. It shocked me and I let out a laugh on stage because it just made me so happy to see this man and his bag of tricks. I attribute this moment to me realizing I want to become a professional musician because I just want to experience the tricks and personalities of all the killer musicians I get to meet. There is no better feeling than the excitement of music and the joy of collaboration.

Q: What are your top 3 “desert island” albums and why?

A: My first desert island album would be 1992’s Deluxe by Princess Nokia. I’m a big hip hop head and am all for supporting badass female artists of all genres. I find this album to be exciting and versatile without being too all over the place plus it’s just so much fun lyrically and melodically, so I really can’t get tired of it. My second desert island album would be Leave Me Alone by Hinds. Hinds is an all girl indie rock band from Madrid who I discovered when I was 16 years old. I just love how loose and fun the songs are and I have always wanted to be in a garage-y rock band where I can thrash out and yell whatever lyrics I want. Finally, my last album is Esperanza by Esperanza Spalding. As you can see, I don’t really listen to that much jazz. I love playing the music but a lot of the time I don’t find myself itching to listen but I think I just really see myself in this album (I wonder why lol). Esperanza has always been a big inspiration to me, just seeing what she can do on the bass WHILE singing is just mind blowing to me. Her tunes especially on this album just have such a great build and great energy to them and I aspire to play and write like she does. As you can see, female and POC representation is very important to me.

Q: What made you fall in love with jazz?

A: I love the feeling of being on stage and connecting with the other musicians and the audience. There is just something about music that makes me feel like I can understand anyone through it, words alone can only say so much, body language can only say so much, but music can say anything and the language is universal. Jazz was really my first medium of true self expression. Building my skill as a bassist has made me feel more confident in myself. I feel my most confident when I am dancing along to the music with my bass on stage having fun and jazz really gave me that space to do that. Letting it just come out of me without worrying what notes are on the page and being in my own world grooving out is just all the fun of music.

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