Begonia: Right Here
Heartfelt lyrics are delivered via strongly soulful vocals.
By Kerry Doole
Begonia - Right Here (Birthday Cake Records): Yesterday, (Nov. 2), powerhouse soul singer/songwriter Begonia (Alexa Dirks) announced that her next album, Powder Blue, will be released on Feb. 24.
This will be the follow-up to her 2019 debut full-length LP, Fear, one nominated for a Juno Award for Adult Alternative Album Of The Year, longlisted for The Polaris Music Prize, and the recipient of many deservedly glowing reviews (NPR called Begonia “the place where synth-pop meets old soul and scrappy meets sexy"). Fear also spent 10 straight weeks as the #1 album in Canada on Earshot’s Top 50 chart.
Describing the new record in a label press release, Dirks says “The name of this album needed to be something that encompasses all of the feelings that these songs give me when they are put together. When I listen to them as a unit, they send me back to the words, the colour. To me, this album holds a muted nostalgia, musings on childhood, the complexities of new love, self-love, religion, virginity, and sexuality. There’s an indulgence in emotional depth and pain yet also an indulgence in love and a poppy lightness—two sides I’ve always tried to balance. I feel like I let my guard down even more with this record and decided to not hold back on either end.”
The first single, from the new LP Right Here, arrives complete with a video from director Eric Peterson. The track is “a love song for all my friends,” says Dirks. “The Matts (Schellenberg and Peters), Marcus Paquin, and I started writing it in December 2019 about how I was on tour all the time–always feeling like I was missing my friends’ milestones, parties, birthdays etc. I love what I do, but the sacrifice is that you're not really someone who can like...BE THERE physically for a lot of important (and unimportant) things back home.
"We never fully finished the song that December, but then we picked it up again during pandemic lockdowns and it started to take on a whole new meaning. At that time, it felt like everyone was missing everything / everyone because we had to stay apart. Another way this song could be interpreted (that I didn't originally intend) is that I’m haunting all my best friends when they go out without me. Maybe that's creepy but also...tender? It's meant to be tender, haha.”
After opening to a staccato beat, the track and Begonia's vocals pick up in intensity, as she makes a soulful declaration of friendship. She never fully unleashes the hurricane force her voice possesses, but it serves the song nicely. You can detect traces of Amy and Adele in her soul-rooted sound, but Alexa is a true original.
Begonia is back on the road this month, with US shows in LA, SF, Seattle and Portland, Nov. 10-15), followed by BC dates in Revelstoke, Vernon, Penticton, and Nelson (Nov. 18-22).
Publicity: Ken Beattie, Killbeat
Management - Mighty Cypress, Stu Anderson
Booking (Canada) - Paquin Artists Agency, Todd Jordan