Gearing up for two new CD releases, it’s been quite the musical journey for Canadian Idol runner-up Theresa Sokyrka.
She performs at The Matchbox Theatre Aug. 11 with special guests Curtis Phagoo and Ryan Marchant. Doors open at 7 p.m. with performance time at 7:30 p.m.
The gifted Saskatoon native’s second disc, 2007’s Something is Expected, featured all-new original music – a fresh turn after her debut disc These Old Charms, which consisted primarily of jazz standards, in 2005.
That first project was created quickly after her success on Idol, quickly notching sales in excess of 70,000 copies. But her long-term vision for how she wanted to do things was already taking shape.
“I just wanted to make enough money off my first album so I could put out my album,” she explains. Still, These Old Charms fulfilled expectations and allowed Sokyrka to move on with both her life and her music following the Canadian Idol whirlwind. She’s grateful for the whole experience and acknowledges how its changed her life dramatically.
“I don’t remember a lot of it,” she says with a laugh. But meeting with such acclaim and warmth from Canadian audiences clearly has had an impact. “It was a humbling experience.”
To build on her newfound wave of popularity and exposure, she immediately started taking her tunes on the road. For the past 10 years, she’s been journeying across Canada and never staying put for too long. Although these days she’s kind of built a nurturing community around herself in Montreal. But being somewhat of a restless soul, she’s always looking for new community. “It’s fuel for songwriting, that’s for sure,” she says of her moving about.
“Sometimes I feel that the only reason I move around so much is because I’m afraid that getting comfortable would create a monumental writer’s block,” she explains. “I’ve always been someone who craves excitement and there’s nothing more exciting than moving to a new Canadian city.”
Her next upcoming releases show that she refuses to stick to patterns featured in her past projects. As a means of honouring her heritage, a traditional Ukrainian folk release is next up followed by a successor to Something is Expected.
The Ukrainian collection is expected to be released by this November, and Sokyrka describes it as a contemporary take on traditional classics.
“It’s been a really amazing experience, and I’ve been able to work with some of my favourite musicians,” she explains. She’s also appearing at a number of Ukrainian folk gigs in August and initially wanted to rush the CD out before that. But further reflection convinced her to take her time to put the right creative flourish on the project.
Still, she can’t wait to start showing audiences what she’s been up to during her time in Montreal.
“I’m looking forward to going on tour, if only to convince my loved ones that I’m doing the work that keeps me sane,” she says. Looking ahead, her follow up to Something Is Expected is due next spring. Sokyrka will head right back into the studio after production on the Ukrainian project wraps. No question she’ll be busy, but she welcomes the challenge.
She also anticipates further growth in her own artistry, with an eye to honing her own production skills.
“The idea of producing more is really getting into my blood right now.”
From her first appearances in the Canadian Idol competitions, Sokyrka enchanted Idol audiences with her cheerful personality and her remarkable lyrical, pop and jazz renditions.
Sokyrka was fascinated by music early on.
It was essentially a family thing, with her mother a choir director at their church and her father being the owner of a private music school.
During her schooling years, she studied voice and violin, and was a member and lead soloist with the Lastiwka Ukrainian Youth Choir.
After high school graduation, she enrolled in the music program at Red Deer College, taking a special interest in jazz vocals.
Tickets are available at The Matchbox ticket office. Call 403-341-6500 for more information.