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Creative spotlight: Bailey Stefan-Houle

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Since her childhood days playing piano, music was always a big part of Bailey Stefan-Houle’s life. She had always done classical jazz composition and vocals until after high school when she bought her first guitar from a Mennonite couple for $100. But after moving to Edmonton from Vegreville, Stefan-Houle’s musical trajectory changed.

Stefan-Houle who is currently a third-year communications student majoring in journalism, had been a solo musician but always wanted to start a band. “I thought it might be fun to start a band, so I literally tweeted out asking if any of my followers or anyone in Edmonton played guitar or drums or wanted to start a band,” she says.

Originally the band was just a folk duo consisting of Stefan-Houle and Jordan Bezovie but now has grown into a fivemember indie rock band adding Jason Miller, Christian Ford, and Aaron Farner to the mix. Though Stefan-Houle and Bezovie started playing together back in 2017, the band as it is didn’t really come to be until May of 2018.

The band, which was initially called The Afternoons when it was just a folk duo, adopted the name Lauriers once the five members came together. The inspiration for the name came from two Toronto bands, one named Arkells and the other named The Beaches.

“They were both named after the neighbourhoods they were practicing in and grew up in and our practice base is in Laurier Heights, so we got the name Lauriers from Laurier Heights,” says Stefan-Houle.

Growing up, Stefan-Houle was inspired by music by Avril Lavigne and No Doubt. However, for the band itself, the inspiration comes from bands such as The Killers and quirkier bands that like to take music in different directions, infusing modern trends with the best parts of vintage music, says Stefan-Houle.

Currently, Lauriers are writing music to hopefully release an EP this year. The band released their first EP, Clementine, in 2019 and in 2020 released a single titled What Came After. Aside from the music they’ve released, Stefan-Houle says that the band typically plays gigs around Edmonton, going as far as playing one in Saskatchewan. However, the pandemic changed all of that. “We were hoping to do a little mini-tour of Alberta last year, but we couldn’t because of the pandemic … but we have started doing regular Twitch shows at least once a month from our practice base in our basement,” says Stefan-Houle.

Stefan-Houle, who also does a lot of creative writing and is currently seeking publication for a short story she wrote, has big post-graduation plans. Among them are plans to move to Vancouver, where she feels the band would benefit from being in a bigger music and arts community. She also wants to further her career in documentary and film work, something she has been focusing on during her time in her communication and journalism degree.

“I know it’s very cutthroat, but I just feel that moving out to Vancouver or maybe Toronto or Montreal, just a bigger hub, would be beneficial for my career in film and music.”

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