By Kerry Doole
Begonia - Heaven (Rex Baby Records): Much-lauded Winnipeg singer/songwriter Begonia (Alexa Dirks) recently announced her North American tour plans for 2022, along with the release of a new single, Heaven.
In a label press release, she explained that the track that finds beauty in the unknown. “When I was a kid I thought I knew a lot about everything. I was taught to believe that there was always a right or wrong and beyond that, that there was a heaven and hell waiting for us after we die and we just had to live our lives accordingly to end up in either place. I had a lot of fear of screwing up and a lot of fear of the unknown.
"As I've grown, all of those binary ways of thinking have more or less been shattered. I've come to understand that I'll always be searching and that there's a lot of beauty to that. I still think about what happens after we die but I feel more curious about it than I feel afraid or certain of it. I think this song speaks to that doubt and curiosity: thoughts I used to struggle with but now fully embrace.”
Heaven is accompanied by a video from director Gwen Truntau and videographer Mike Maryniuk. “We filmed the video in rural Manitoba on the same property where we wrote the song years earlier,” says Dirks. “I had asked Gwen to meet with me to talk about video ideas and I had mentioned that I wanted to be in the back of a truck. She said ‘why don't we make the back of the truck your bedroom?’ and then we just kept riffing from there. The property we filmed on had so much space to work with and sweet animals to film. I truly hope there are regal donkeys and fluffy chickens in the afterlife. "
The cut is co-written with regular collaborators Matt Schellenberg and Matt Peters of Royal Canoe (Begonia handles the lyrics). Given that her voice has tornado-like power, the vocal performance is restrained, as befits the introspective lyrics, while keyboards feature strongly in the production.
Begonia is a favourite on both CBC and NPR, and this could slot easily into their playlists.
Her 2019 debut full-length LP, Fear, was nominated for a 2021 Juno Award for Adult Alternative Album Of The Year and was longlisted for The Polaris Music Prize. Fear also spent 10 straight weeks as the #1 album in Canada on Earshot’s Top 50 chart.
Begonia is headlining shows in the US from March 2 to March 20, then supports Shakey Graves on a Canadian tour, May 2 to May 13. Check the itinerary here.
Publicity: Ken Beattie, Killbeat
Management - Mighty Cypress, Stu Anderson
Booking (Canada) - Paquin Artists Agency, Todd Jordan