Victoria singer-songwriter Steph Macpherson is headlining the Live n’ Unsigned Victoria Summer Folk Showcase on July 25, at the Victoria Events Centre.

Live ‘n Unsigned

Showcasing some of Victoria’s best independent musicians

Performing in a steady stream of festivals and writing new material, Steph Macpherson is a busy artist, busy enough that certain details can fly under the radar. Details like the fact she is headliner for a show, in this case the Live n’ Unsigned Summer Folk Showcase in Victoria.

 

“I just found out,” she said laughing during an interview last week. The 20-something self-described alt-country musician has been on a tear over the past two years. She released her first full-length album Bells & Whistles with Cordova Bay Records last year, toured and showcased her music across Western Canada into the U.S., and is winning boatloads of accolades from the music industry, and more importantly, the fickle fanbase of indie music.

 

Raised in Gordon Head and a graduate of Mount Doug secondary, Macpherson has her roots and influences firmly planted in Victoria and Vancouver Island. An active songwriter and touring musician since 2009, she is on the trajectory from emerging artist to emerging stardom, making a headlining gig at Live ‘n Unsigned less of a surprise and more of an obvious choice.

 

“I’ve been performing all my life. At four or five years old my parents had me in voice lessons,” Macpherson says. “I was very vocal as a child, good at making sounds. Good on my parents for putting me in voice lessons.”

 

She started writing her own music in Grade 11 and landed her first gig in a coffee shop in downtown Victoria. In 2009, she started touring, won a talent contest to perform at Lilith Fair in 2010 and has kept a hectic performance schedule.

 

Her hard work has paid off. She won Island Artist of the Year for the 2013 Vancouver Island Music Awards, and was nominated for Island songwriter of the year, Island album of the Year and BC-Wide Artist of the Year. Monday Magazine readers voted her as favourite solo artist for the 2013 M Awards.

 

Cordova Bay Records released her album into the U.S. in January, and her music found exposure in Los Angeles at a music showcase with people who select music for major movies and TV shows. Where she spent much of last year on the road with Bells & Whistles, this year she’s more focused on festivals closer to home in Victoria, and writing material for her second album – “I’ve got a handful of new songs,” she says.

 

“Half the time I don’t know where the music comes from. Sometimes when I write a song, its my subconscious says what I want to say.

 

“I suppose I’m an analytical person and I end up writing about people, about what they do and why. I’m trying to write more abstractly, but whatever you write about, people think it’s about relationships.”

 

Somewhat shoehorned into the folk genre, she describes her sound as alternative-country, with elements of folk with an edge, in the vein of her influences: Jeff Tweedy, Kathleen Edwards, Fleetwood Mac and Credence Clearwater Revival.

 

Macpherson has had enough exposure that people are recognizing her on the street in Victoria, or in one case on the ferry, which she admits is an experience she doesn’t expect. Still, for Macpherson the cycle of performing and writing needs to be nearly constant to build a career that doesn’t necessarily pay all the bills yet.

 

“It’s a balance between performing and doing things to keep up a presence,” she says. “It’s challenging.”

 

Live n’ Unsigned also features Rifflandia veterans The Washboard Union, the teen-driven Royal Canadians and Emily Spiller, a 2011 Vancouver Island Female Vocalist of the Year, for the second incarnation of a show that prides itself on selecting musicians based on their live performance skills, not Facebook “likes,” says by Burley Music, the show’s production company.

 

“We’re all pretty varied in our having been discovered-ness,” Macpherson says.”It’s cool. I’m really looking forward to it.”

 

 

 

The Live n’ Unsigned Summer Folk Showcase is July 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Victoria Event Centre, 1415 Broad St. For tickets see unsignedfolkshowcase.eventbrite.ca or burleymusic.ca.

 

By Edward Hill

 

editor@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Newly public Emily Carr painting depicts well-known Victoria view

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Jen Hodge conducts an online concert during the pandemic after returning to B.C. from New York City. Photo courtesy Claudia Nobauer
Canada Recovery Benefit won’t replace the magic of live performance, musicians say

Cash will help, but its the audience connection that most performers miss — and crave

Mary Fox’s new book My Life as a Potter is available at bookstores nationwide. (Cole Schisler photo)
My Life as a Potter raises funds for Mary Fox Legacy Project

Acclaimed Vancouver Island potter’s story raising money for developing artists

Premier John Horgan and Rob Douglas, BC NDP candidate for Cowichan Valley, meet with Cowichan First Nation elders, as they demonstrate spearfishing along the river. (Submitted)
Horgan acknowledges A&E sector hit hard by COVID-19, but showing signs of recovery

Hollywood North doing better than Hollywood South, Horgan says

The iconic and well-loved live music venue Logan’s is permanently closing its doors due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Google Maps)
Victoria pub Logan’s permanently closing its doors

Live music venue unable to weather COVID-19 storm

A group gathers for a guided story walk at the Comox Valley Art Gallery plaza. Scott Stanfield photo
Comox Valley arts-based project takes honest look at overdose crisis

Walking tour aimed and raising awareness and sparking change

Nanaimo bluesman David Gogo releases his new single, Christine, on Oct. 30. (Photo courtesy Andrew Dodd)
Island bluesman David Gogo evokes return to good times with new single

Upcoming release ‘Christine’ among a dozen new songs written during pandemic

Online reservation service, First Table, allows Victoria diners to have dinner at half-price if they’re willing to be flexible about when they go. (Black Press Media file photo)
New reservation service allows Victoria residents to dine out at half price

First Table gives Victoria diners 50 per cent off when they book tables during off-peak hours

Elizabeth and Marcel Bergmann will play the same piano at the Port Theatre on Nov. 1. (Photo courtesy Best Days Ever Photography)
Piano duo perform on one piano in Nanaimo return to live performance

Marcel and Elizabeth Bergmann present first live, in-person concert since March

Leaking Time by Oak Bay resident Ilka Bauer is the winning entry of the Federation of Canadian Artist’s “Crisis” exhibition on now in Vancouver. (Ilka Bauer Image)
Oak Bay artist wins juried show in Vancouver

Pair of Oak Bay artists part of ‘Crisis’ exhibition

Can you spot all 12 Days of Christmas displays at the Butchart Gardens? Jen Blyth photo.
The magic of Christmas returns to the Butchart Gardens

Some events cancelled due to COVID-10 but 12 Days of Christmas will brighten the season

Gatineau artist Michèle Provost visits the Malaspina Galleries during her artist residency on Gabriola Island. (Photo supplied)
Gatineau artist the first to take part in new Gabriola Island artist residency

Michèle Provost to create art book reflecting on the positives of aging

Most Read