Arguably, the defining characteristics of a modern musical artist with breakout potential are aesthetic in nature. Carefully chosen fonts are assigned to enigmatic monikers and pseudonyms; vowels optional, excessive punctuation encouraged. In this environment meticulous stage curation is a limiting factor, with the correct fabric and lighting acting as key nutrients for rapid stage eutrophication. Rebekah Hawker’s defining characteristic is that she, inarguably, needs no such frivolities to capture and hold one’s attention.
The ability to command an audience is a quality that most of us do not possess and yet every great performer must. And it is in her contrasts that Rebekah Hawker manages to achieve this perfectly. On one hand her lyrics and melodies are a serious affair, evoking powerful images that resonate unbiasedly. They can be fierce or they can be fragile, but they can never be taken lightly. They speak of a life lived, not imagined, giving an authenticity to the ups and downs strewn throughout her musical tales. Yet on the other hand, her audience interaction and stage persona are so wonderfully light and refreshing that she transforms what could be a sombre experience in a joyful, cathartic journey. Humble, self deprecating, earnest and consistently hilarious, she smiles often and easy, and it takes only one look through a typical crowd to see that it’s contagious. Sometimes, a performer can be said to never leave a dry eye in the house. With Rebekah, there is never a frown.
There is an undeniable sense when watching her perform that you’ve been gifted that rare chance to see an artist before they were famous. Someone you will tell your friends and colleagues about, subtly bragging years later that you were there first. Yet in describing her, it’s always with a slight vagueness and allegory. It is so easy to liken and compare her to artists we hold dear to our hearts, in more of a spiritual homage than direct similarity, for though Rebekah may be singular we can all find something familiar and comforting within her music. She coaxes out vivid memories and emotions, her music amorphously accompanying them as though there all along. Somehow, Rebekah Hawker exists as part of our past, present, and undoubtedly our future. Are you listening?
Rebekah Hawker is a country folk singer-songwriter from Barrie, Ontario, that city you drive through on your way to the cottage. She sounds like an equal-parts mix of the following artists: Kathleen Edwards, Joni Mitchell, Kacey Musgraves, Patsy Cline and Martha Wainwright. She has played in venues across Canada, most recently as an artist on the Via Rail Train. You can catch her on tour this summer in support of her debut EP, ‘Careful Women,’ out August 23rd.
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