Growing up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Rebekah Higgs claims that her creativity began at an early age when she learned to play the piano and violin. Coming from an artistic family, Higgs explains that she was always encouraged to get involved in orchestras, plays, and musicals among many other things. This interest she had in the arts grew as she did and remained with her throughout her university years when she attended Acadia University, located in the sleepy town of Wolfville, N.S. While earning a degree in Theatre and English, Higgs was given a guitar as a gift from a friend, a gift that would significantly define Higgs' future. It was then at the age of twenty that Higgs began learning how to play the guitar and started writing her own songs. Although Higgs put on a musical show at her university which sold out, she was still hesitant about her future in singing/songwriting, instead believing she wanted to be an actress. However, the doors kept opening and in October of 2005 Higgs put out her first album, titled Road to Eden.
Upon discussing her debut album, Higgs explains the reasoning behind choosing the title. "I wanted the listeners to know that this album was about a journey. Initially I wanted to call the album Road Trip to Happiness but a lot of the songs have an element of sadness to them. Finally I decided that this album is about trying to get to that place where you are happy, and Eden represents that ultra state of happiness." Higgs believes that this album is very lyrically driven, something which can be attributed to her musical influences, influences such as Bob Dylan, and Ani DiFranco among others. Yet when asked to define her style of music Higgs is hesitant. "I feel that my album is distinct and relatable both to those who are Christians and those who aren't. God has impacted my life in a strong way and I don't want there to be a division in music between what is spiritual and what is sacred. Most importantly though, I don't just want to be known as a good Christian artist but as a good artist, period." It is for these reasons that Higgs believes her music should not be pigeon-holed into one category, but rather remain outside the box.
Right now Higgs spends a lot of her time working on her sophomore album, expected to come out this fall. This album will be more overtly about God and a lot more experimental instrumentally. Higgs believes that this album will be a truer representation of herself, especially due to the fact that Higgs is not signed with a label, a testament to her independence as an artist.
Currently Higgs has also been keeping herself busy touring the local Halifax scene, which is musically rich with a lot to offer a young, aspiring artist. Although she has become comfortable playing smaller more intimate shows, Higgs hopes to go on tour some day. Nonetheless she would rather have a slow and steady rise to fame then a quick and short one. "I understand that it doesn't happen overnight. You have to put your time in. The artists that peak fast die fast, and I'd rather be looking at a lifetime of music."
When asked about the challenges a young female musician faces in this type of industry, Higgs remains positive and optimistic. "I love to listen to a lot of Canadian music, such as Feist, Metric and Martha Wainwright. I think that their looks don't matter as much because people are more focused on the music. I think my experience in theatre has helped prepare me for dealing with image and body issues." Higgs' appreciation for Canadian artists extends even further. "I would love to do a collaboration with Broken Social Scene." When I mention the fact that the band is coming to the city in a couple of weeks to do a show the night before Halifax hosts the Junos, Higgs' eyes light up. "Really, oh I definitely have to go to that show. Maybe I could even open for them." It is this type of determined and ambitious attitude that proves to me Higgs has what it takes to be a successful musician, that of personal goals and a drive to achieve them.
In twenty years from now Higgs dreams of sitting on a porch in a rocking chair overlooking the Northumberland straight with a guitar on her lap, watching the tides go in and out. Like her dream, Higgs remains that her music is both intellectual and vulnerable, and as she continues to sell albums and flourish as an artist, she values personal growth over musical recognition. "If I had to pick one word to describe my CD it would be undiscovered." One only knows it will be a short period of time before that statement lacks truth.
To find out more about Rebekah Higgs and here her music visit: www.rebekahhiggs.com
Writer: Angelica Blenich