Marla Torgerson didn’t choose a singing career so much as it chose her.
Although Torgerson grew up singing in church in Red Deer and later studied music at the Prairie Bible College in Three Hills, she tried to be satisfied with off-stage employment.
Torgerson taught English and opera to families at a military base in South Korea for several years after graduating from Hunting Hills High School in 2000. She then taught voice to students in Calgary, where she now lives.
But soon the compulsion to perform set in. “For people who do this, you feel compelled, like there’s really no other choice . . . . I felt this ache to follow the path I thought I should be on,” recalled Torgerson.
That path led her to Nashville, where she began songwriting last year. The outcome is a new folk/soul CD that’s due out in the spring, called Burning Daylight.
The first two singles from the CD will be available on Friday, Jan. 31, at a champagne and entertainment fundraiser for the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter held at Fratters Speakeasy.
The slice-of-life songs are co-written by Billie Smiley, of the award-winning Christian group White Hearts. But the songs are not at all religious, said Torgerson.
“I’m too much of a heathen,” she admitted with a laugh. “I have a big mouth and always go for the joke, even if it’s not appropriate and can offend people.”
The tune Never Turn Around/Fun With You is about that feeling of freedom that driving towards the mountains elicits, said the singer, who used to hike in the Rockies with a former boyfriend.
Touch of Gin was also inspired by that past relationship. “It’s about being in love with someone and being secluded from the world,” added Torgerson, who came up with the lyric “I want to drink you in, with a touch of gin.”
She hopes the local singing engagement will spark interest in her new CD and help launch a performing career. The benefit part of the concert was inspired by Torgerson’s respect for the work being done at the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter.
“My parents have always been landlords in Red Deer, and a lot of their tenants came from the women’s shelter,” said the singer, who appreciated the help these women and children received to start over.
“I thought it would be a wonderful thing to give something back.”
Tickets to the champagne reception benefit, which goes from 6 p.m. to midnight, are $45 — or $60 for VIP tickets (VIP ticket holders will get some merchandise, including a free copy of Torgerson’s EP, while other copies will be made available for $10). For more information, call 403-356-0033.