Cancelling shows, closing down venues, rescheduling events. This cycle has haunted music makers and admirers for the past two years, but things are starting to look up for Alexa Dirks, better known as Winnipeg indie-pop artist Begonia.
With fresh tunes and a tour across Canada and the United States beginning in March, Dirks is excited about returning to her happy place: the stage.
“There is nothing like getting in the van with your pals. With all the things that are still happening with COVID-19, my band and I are very conscientious, and we are doing everything as safe as we can,” she says.
Begonia has released two new singles that lean toward “a lighter and more introspective sound,” titled “Heaven” and “It’s Too Quiet.” “Heaven” came out on Dec. 1 accompanied by a music video with a pink aesthetic.
“When I was first thinking about the music video for ‘Heaven,’ I wanted something set in the rural Manitoba environment. I felt like it suited the song. (Director Gwen Trutnau) expanded on all of my ideas and made them mystical,” Dirks says.
In 2020, Begonia was set to hit the road for a tour. She was also looking forward to participating in SXSW with songs from her 2019 EP Fear. While the festival was cancelled due to COVID-19, the singer-songwriter is back on the lineup for summer 2022.
“Two years ago at this time, I was preparing to go to SXSW, so it is weird to say that this is really happening now,” Dirks says.
The artist also released acoustic versions of the singles alongside friends in the industry: Diaphanie, Leith Ross, Gabriela Ocejo, FONTINE and SNACKIE. She also collaborated recently with Anthony OKS in one of the tracks of his latest EP, In the Garden.
“Collaboration is important to me to keep my morale up. Anthony hit me up and was like ‘hey, I’m working on my new EP, and I would really like you to listen to it.’ I was feeling a bit depressed during the period he reached out to me, and I almost said ‘no.’ I’m glad I pushed myself to do it, because it really formed a strong friendship between the two of us now as well as the musical friendship,” she says.
The artists performed together during a show at The Good Will on Dec. 11, just before the venue had to cancel end-of-theyear events. The night gave Dirks the opportunity to return to the stage and kickstart the excitement for her next shows moving forward.
“We played that show right before venues shut down again, so I felt very fortunate to do it, to have that energy and be surrounded by those caring and kind people. It was a really fun release to me,” Dirks says.
Visit hellobegonia.com for information on tour dates, merch and more. Listen to “Heaven” and “It’s Too Quiet” on all major streaming platforms.
Published in Volume 76, Number 17 of The Uniter (February 10, 2022)