A French connection

Not long after singer Theresa Sokyrka moved to Montreal, she realized she wasn’t in Kansas — or rather English Canada — anymore.

Life in Montreal is inspiring Theresa Sokyrka to begin preparing music for a new album.

Not long after singer Theresa Sokyrka moved to Montreal, she realized she wasn’t in Kansas — or rather English Canada — anymore.

“I’m living with a separatist,” said the folk-pop-jazz singer with a congested giggle. “It makes for interesting conversations.”

While the Canadian Idol runner-up and former Red Deer College student had a bit of a head cold earlier this week, she vowed it wouldn’t get in the way of her performance at The Matchbox in Red Deer on Wednesday.

“I’m a pro — I’ve gone on with worse,” said Sokyrka, who moved to Montreal a few months ago, after deciding that Toronto the Busy, where friends had to be dragged to concerts, wasn’t where she wanted to live anymore.

Montreal, with its cheaper rents and laid-back, artsy lifestyle, is where several of Sokyrka’s pals had relocated. It’s through the girlfriend of one of these friends that Sokyrka got a line on somebody who needed a roommate.

“I didn’t know him at all . . . I didn’t know he was a separatist,” she said, with a chuckle.

Despite ongoing debates Sokyrka has with this flat-mate — which she admitted are rather pointless, since they will never change his opinion on the question of Quebec sovereignty — she said, “We actually get along pretty good.”

She loves Montreal, saying Quebec audiences are very attentive and friends who live in the city actually come to see her perform.

All the support she’s receiving makes Sokyrka want to record a few songs in French, to reach new listeners who don’t associate her with being a second-place finisher on Canadian Idol in 2004. The TV program isn’t even on the pop-culture map in Quebec, which has its own French-language singing series.

“Nobody knows me there, yet they keep coming to my shows. It’s so great” said Sokyrka, who was still saddened to hear Canadian Idol was put on indefinite hold because of the economy.

“It definitely helps younger kids who are just starting out and I had so much fun on it. I hope it’s not over for good.”

The show certainly placed Sokyrka in the public consciousness of the rest of Canada. The singer earned a Juno Award nomination for her 2005 gold-selling album of jazz standards called These Old Charms, and followed up with a 2006 recording of original indie-pop songs, called Something is Expected, which only sold half as well, and a Christmas album.

Sokyrka is gearing up to record original material again, as soon as she can get a grant lined up. Her songwriting is now influenced by her new cultural surroundings, and by becoming an aunt to her sister’s baby boy — who, by the way, gave her the cold.

While Sokyrka said she “adores” her nephew, she has no parental stirrings herself. Even romantic relationships seem like an entanglement to the singer, who ended things with a guy before leaving Toronto.

The 28-year-old maintained, “I’m happier concentrating on my career.”

Before she pulls into The Matchbox on Wednesday, Sokyrka plans to stop at Red Deer College, where she still has lifelong friends, including a former roommate and fellow students who are now faculty members.

Unlike k.d. lang, who has famously bashed Red Deer College, Sokyrka has nothing but praise for the institution.

“I’m not sure my teachers would say I was the best student — sometimes I would cut class to jam (with other musicians) in a room across the hall,” she laughingly recalled.

But Sokyrka credits Red Deer College for teaching her the foundations of, not just music but how to survive as a female in a male-dominated industry. “Maybe it’s been a little bit different in the last five years, but it’s still a man’s business.”

Theresa Sokyrka performs at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday at The Matchbox in Red Deer. Tickets are $20 ($15 for students/seniors) from The Matchbox box office, 403-341-6500.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Jazz at the Lake begins

The 16 annual event began Friday and runs until Sunday in Sylvan Lake

Photos: Lunchtime tunes on Alexander Way

Final concert of the summer

Clearwater regional firefighters in B.C.

Crew operating west of Prince George

PHOTOS: Samson Cree Nation Pow Wow

The Samson Cree Nation hosted its annual Pow Wow, celebrating youth last weekend

WATCH: Feasting at Red Deer Ribfest this weekend

Ribfest runs until Sunday at Rotary Recreation Park

Street Tales: Life is filled with unlearned lessons

There are days that I almost believe evolutionists in that we are… Continue reading

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

OTTAWA — Canadians are generally supportive of current immigration levels, a survey… Continue reading

Quebec announces plan to compensate taxi drivers after Uber’s arrival

MONTREAL — The Quebec government has outlined how it intends to compensate… Continue reading

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

OTTAWA — The loss of Saudi Arabian resident physicians in Canada’s hospitals… Continue reading

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Death Valley worker has seen highest, lowest temperatures

LAS VEGAS — Thousands of tourists descend on Death Valley each summer… Continue reading

Banff’s Sunshine ski resort upset with proposed guidelines from Parks Canada

BANFF, Alta. — An internationally known ski resort in Banff National Park… Continue reading

Folk singer Ian Tyson cancels show due to ‘serious medical situation’

TORONTO — Canadian folk singer-songwriter Ian Tyson has cancelled his appearance at… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month