Rebecca Lappa is a first-year voice major in MacEwan University’s bachelor of music program, and she has recently received her fifth nomination for a Canadian Folk Music Award (CFMA). Her album, Tattered Rose, features a series of modern folk songs intended to produce strong emotional responses in the listener. “The concept for the CD was that roses are very fragile and life is very tattered, and when you put them together, people are like that, and become tattered roses,” Lappa explains.
Born and raised in Edmonton, Lappa has been taking singing and music lessons since she was very young. Listening to country music growing up, she became interested in storytelling through music. Lappa writes all her songs, and has been writing and performing original songs since she was a small child. The stories in her songs have a variety of inspirations, ranging from child ballads, such as “Brother John,” to personal dreams and experiences, as in the song “Anchor Tattoo.” Going to a monthly song circle based in Edmonton, she was introduced to Old English poetry and child ballads, inspiring the usage of folk tales in her music.
“I enjoy lots of different styles of music, and kind of mush them together and see what I come up with,” Lappa explains. Her musical style transitions effortlessly between folk, pop, jazz and blues. She emphasizes her love of music by explaining that she draws influence from almost every genre and creates a unique sound to fit the individual stories told in her songs.
Lappa seems optimistic about balancing her budding music career while also starting university. “So far, I get some sleep, but it’s interesting. I’m just kind of getting the hang of what’s going on at MacEwan,” she explains.
It’s clear that the young artist has a busy schedule. Between her nearly weekly live performances throughout Edmonton, preparing for the CFMAs, writing new music, and rushing between classes to complete assignments, it seems as though Lappa wouldn’t have time to breathe. However, the songwriter is applying for grants to record new music. She hopes to write more commercial songs, in order to reach more people with her music and make a career out of songwriting. “They’re both different beasts, but I enjoy doing both, because you learn different things from each,” Lappa explains, describing the difference between live performances and recording in a studio.
“[The CFMAs] are in Edmonton this year. I’m going to be a part of a songwriting workshop . . . it’ll be exciting,” says Lappa. As this is her fifth nomination for the Young Performer of the Year award, Lappa seems at ease with being under the limelight. Although calm, she still humbly mentions her surprise at receiving five back-to-back nominations. The 2015 CFMA weekend takes place Nov. 6-8, and includes public music shows and a gala at the Citadel Theatre.
Photo by Casey Pollon