I’m so thankful to be doing what I love. I have a hunger for a life full of making music and more so, I have a desire to reach people through music. Songs are a powerful way to tell stories- their ability to spread awareness on a topic, to take a stand, to make people feel like they belong in the world, to help them feel they are not alone, and remind them they are loved, continually inspires me. That’s why I write music. Why I play. Why I sing.
My parents are still high school sweethearts and because of them, I believe in love. I’m so grateful to have grown up in a home that believes in working hard to do what you love, and to give back along the way. My dad is a passionate believer in the 10,000 hour rule and is proof that the dedication you put in, always comes back. My mom is the kind of soul who stops everything in her day to bring coffee to a friend who needs a hug; but she’ll have to make two trips because the first round of coffees in her hands ends up with the people by the elevator lobby who are freezing and hungry.
I know that growing up in Grande Prairie, Alberta has shaped who I am. I recognize people at our Save On Food’s grocery store, at the mall, and for the most part, I know the ticket agents at our little airport by name. They are the same people who leave hand written notes like “Be back in 20 minutes” on the security check point door, and help you on to the plane through one of two gates. I have witnessed members of my community coming together at all sorts of events to raise funds, awareness and community spirit. And I’ve been amazed by the impact.
I will never forget the moment of walking on stage to receive the honor of the Canadian Country Music Association’s Slaight Music Humanitarian Award at the 2012 Saskatoon Country Music Week. To me, that award was evidence of the power that music has, and belongs to every volunteer, every sponsor, every committee member, and every audience member who bought a ticket to Big Hearts For Big Kids. But even more so, I cherish the energy in the room at this event. Year after year at this concert fundraiser, I’ve witnessed the generosity of the people, keeping our local youth shelter doors open for kids in our hometown who need a safe place to turn to. This event started with my vision at age fifteen, to put on a concert to help the Sunrise House and thanks to every huge heart involved, the shelter has re-opened, fully re-staffed and renovated, after being out of operation due to complete lack of funding. Together we’ve handed over $1.25 million dollars to the shelter in eight years of Big Hearts For Big Kids.
“Play it Forward” was a school tour concept I created as an outlet to connect to youth with music, to work on my 10,000 hours playing everyday and as a diversion from my own post secondary education to stay busy in music. It became a platform I was amazed to stand on everyday, just to hear the stories of what kids were doing in their school communities and I often found myself in tears and awe of the impact they are making on their world. At each school, we awarded three students with a leadership fund of $75 to play forward to their school and at the end of the tour, we did a draw for $10,000 split to a charity of choice the leader was passionate about and an initiative they created in their hallways to keep the Play it Forward spirit going. This tour was a huge life building experience; 32 weeks on a motorhome with an awesome crew of four, travelling coast to coast to coast of Canada, reaching over 105 schools in over 80 cities and over 35,000 students on a sponsor funded and profitable tour.
I’m 23 years old. I write in journals. I can’t wait to go skydiving. I drove 45 hours almost four years ago in my Tacoma from Grande Prairie, Alberta to Nashville, Tennessee. I started singing when I was five years old at local events, theatre productions, and a million weddings. I’ve sang O’Canada at our local hockey games since the jersey hung past my knees. I started writing at 14, after my grandparents bought me my first guitar. I’m excited about the new songs I’m working on and can’t wait to share them. I love to bake. I eat peanut butter on a spoon. I’m fascinated by the stars. I play cribbage. I love the show “Friends”. I’m grateful to be a vessel for God and I’m in awe of the good plans He has to bring victory to His people.
I do believe in dreaming just as much as I believe in them coming true. I grew up as a major Shania Twain fan, knowing all the words by heart. At nine years old, I had one of those dreams come true when she pulled me on stage with her at the Edmonton Rexall Place in December of 2003. I was nine and I held the hand of my hero, dancing around the stage with her and singing in front of what I learned was 18,000 people. That was the moment I knew I’d found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. And I can’t wait to pack that Rexall Place one day, bring up a nine year old girl and watch that fire light up in her eyes the way mine did years ago.