Begonia became established as one of Canada’s biggest breaking artists with her 2019 debut album ‘Fear’, which was nominated for a JUNO Award for Adult Alternative Album Of The Year and was longlisted for The Polaris Music Prize. Now Begonia – real name Alexa Dirks – introduces herself to UK audiences with her new single ‘Right Here’, which previews the February 24th release of her second album ‘Powder Blue’.
Who were your musical influences growing up?
“I grew up pretty religious so I listened to a lot of praise and worship music and Amy Grant haha but once I was allowed to buy my own music I definitely pivoted pretty hard. My main early influences that still stick with me today were Fiona Apple, Joni Mitchell, Gillian Welch, Erykah Badu, Destiny’s Child, Spice Girls haha…a lot of pop, a lot of female broody singer songwriters, a lot of heavy production…always had the mix in my mind when I would be writing songs in my head as a kid. My dad played a lot of classic dad music in the house as well growing up (Beatles, Three Dog Night, Moody Blues etc) so there was always music playing and I remember getting him to record one of his Beatles records onto a tape for me to play in my room while I would play with my dolls and I would make them act out these dramatic scenes while “Hey Jude” played in the background. Always a bit of a drama queen in my own head for sure”.
Tell us about your new single ‘Right Here’ and the inspiration behind the song …
“Right Here is like a love song/anthem to all my best pals. I started writing this song before the pandemic was even an apple in mother natures eye …pre pandemic I was on tour all the time and felt like I was constantly missing milestones and just general fun that all my friends were having. Even though I loved/love to tour it’s still hard to miss people and things sometimes. We finished the song during one of the first pandemic lock downs and then it started to take on a whole new meaning for me because I was missing everybody and everything for a different reason. It’s also kind of a reminder to my friends that even if they go out without me i’m always haunting them lol it’s meant to be tender but perhaps comes off a littttlllleee creepy”.
You’ve announced your new album ‘Powder Blue’ is to be released on the 24th February, what can you tell us about it?
“I feel like I dug a lot deeper for this one. I wrote it and produced it all with two of my best pals/production duo Deadmen (Matt Schellenberg and Matt Peters) and the vulnerability and comfort level I have with them is truly unmatched at this point. I’m talking about things from my childhood and processing different nostalgic emotions but also I found myself just letting go and letting more of my pop side come through. Two things that scare me for different reasons haha. But I’m really excited for people to hear this. ‘Powder Blue’ feels like an emotion to me more than a word. I feel like this album truly served me as a calm in a lot of chaos”.
Describe your music in 3 words
“vocals, vulnerability, sometimes screaming”
If you could collaborate with any other artist – who would that be?
“ahhhhh if I could be in a room with Fiona Apple or Erykah Badu I think I would die. Also Steve Lacy has been one of my fav producers for a looooong time and I would love to work with him. Alsoooooo Caroline Polachuk, Mitski, James Blake….THERE ARE TOO MANY!”
Where do you get your inspiration from when writing songs?
“My life, my friends…nature…silence…driving. I spent a LOT of time these past couple of years just sitting on my porch swing in silence searching for words and melodies. Sometimes they would come and other times I would just have a nice sit for a while ha”.
If you had to be remembered for one thing apart from your music what would you want it to be?
“I would love to be remembered for being trustworthy and kind and a good friend…for making people laugh?! ….and a good singer haha”
Are we going to see you in the UK for any live gigs in 2023?
“That is the plan!!!”
By Siân Parker