Selina Heyligers-Hare always has numerous musical projects on the go, from fronting dance hall favourite Major Funk to shredding leads for local indie rock sensation The Naysayers, not to mention countless guest spots and one-offs.
This spring however, Heyligers-Hare is working on something a little different. She is currently in the process of recording three original tracks with Jim Holland at Green Needle Studios, to be released as singles this coming summer.
For Heyligers-Hare as a musician, recording these tracks is a novel and exciting experience.
“I used to write a lot when I was a kid, and my parents were very supportive,” she said. “Once I went to college, I had a hard time separating the structure of theory from the creative flow of writing. There was a lot of pressure to write a certain way, I was hard on myself and stopped writing for myself. Just in the last couple of years, I’ve started writing again and being more creative again, which has been really exciting.”
She describes working with long-time family friend Jim Holland and drummer and bandmate Tara Martin in the studio as her most positive recording experience yet. They are both assisting with producing and arranging, while Martin will be recording drums and potentially some back-up harmonies. So far, Heyligers-Hare said, the tracks are all sounding great, though they vary widely in genre.
“One of them is more like a mix of 90s-singer-songwriter, but a little grungey, kind of Jeff Buckley-ish. The other one is very folky, kind of poetic-singer-songwriter, and the other one is a pop-rock song,” she said.
“The writing styles all ended up being pretty different, I don’t have a set style and as a musician, who knows if I ever will. I like playing different genres.”
Heyligers-Hare has come by her multi-genre competency honestly — she has been steeped in the Yukon music scene since before she can remember. Born to musician parents, luthier Erica Heyligers and music shop owner Steve Hare, Heyligers-Hare joined the Frantic Follies at age 11, and Heyligers’ bluegrass band at 12.
Since then, her musical experience has run the gamut, from concert and jazz band to rock bands, the MAD program at Wood Street School, singing with Soul Migration, and two years of music education at Nelson’s Selkirk College, after which she returned to Whitehorse and became a permanent fixture in Major Funk and The Naysayers.
Heyligers-Hare is eternally grateful for the opportunities to play with and study from high-caliber musicians available through her parents and the Yukon’s supportive arts community.
“I’ve had experiences that are pretty rare, from the Follies to the MAD program, those are all things that probably wouldn’t be as accessible in a bigger city and I just stumbled into them. And [groups like] BYTE, there’s a lot of support here for the arts,” she said. “The music and arts community is so tight knit … it’s something that is so supported, I wouldn’t have as much experience, I probably wouldn’t be where I am without the Yukon music community.”
Supported by, and integral in, this tight-knit community, Heyligers-Hare believes strongly that music is an innate part of humans, flowing with life and changes. To this end, releasing her new music is not only the next step in her career, it is also the next step forward for her as a person.
“I think kind of becoming more grounded in my life and in myself has given me the strength to pursue this new venture and feel confident in myself and my writing again. I think it’s all tied in and it’s all in finding that courage and strength in all aspects of life,” she said. Rediscovering the catharsis of writing has also led her to the conclusion that her best work has all been created in moments of inspiration or high emotion, rather than sitting down with the intention to write.
“I think having my own thing as well as playing with other people, I’m realizing it’s really important for me just as I figure out who I am and what I’m doing, to keep writing and putting that energy into myself and my songs.”
Heyligers-Hare is looking forward to the next steps of her solo career, hoping to someday release a full album of originals. For now, the public can look forward to the summer release of her three original songs, which will be available on most music streaming platforms, including Apple Music and Spotify.
Heyligers-Hare has several live performances booked for the next few months, with solo sets at the Yukon Musicians for Ukraine event, March 25-26th at The Local Bar, Simapalooza with Major Funk April 9-10th, and May 13th at The 98 with the Naysayers.
Willow Gamberg is the owner of Road Dogs Music Supply and The Lab Rehearsal Studios in downtown Whitehorse.