Heidi Little
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Heidi Little

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


With a new album on the go, a solo tour imminent and rave reviews for a two-person play she's acting in at the Saskatoon Fringe Festival, singer/songwriter Heidi Little has a lot to be thankful for.

But sometimes it's the little things that are most important. This explains why the young songwriter is exuberant not over her good press, nor over the chance to play live in the festival beer garden, but about something that happens for many of us every day &endash; someone else made and served her breakfast at the quiet bed and breakfast lodging where she's staying for the duration of the show.

"It's been 10 years since someone made me breakfast!" the Regina-born songstress says. Little luxuries became rare as the single mother of a 10-year-old boy completed her bachelor of fine arts at the University of Regina while recording albums and gigging around the city. Her CD Live in a Shoebox, recorded with Jason Plumb at the Shoebox Theatre at the university and released a few years back, sold over 1000 copies. Not bad, considering her commitments to her son and education kept her from touring to promote it.

As Plumb prepares to release a solo album in September, Little is hopeful that she will soon be travelling the country as his opening act. But if that doesn't happen, she can still look forward to her live show being aired on CBC's "Gallery" in the autumn, finishing her own solo tour in September and to playing with the Heidi Little Band at the Western Canadian Music Awards on September 28, where Little plans to put her recently completed theatrical training to good use.

"I'm going to try and put the performing back in live music again. Ozzy Osbourne and Kiss and all those guys had a nice show, a great live show that was really stunning. So I've got a great lighting designer from the university who's going to help me out with the show and I'm going to try doing a bit of a performance thing in between the music," Little says, adding that the band will provide ambient music during her delivery of the third person script.

Although Kiss and Ozzy may have influenced her take on performing, Little says her musical influences are more in line with her uncluttered, sweet sound, citing Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos, the Pixies, XTC and Heart as influences on her life and songs.

"I guess I am a songwriter who basically never writes when I'm in something &endash; I write to get me out of something. So when you're all depressed or something, a lot of songwriters write some melancholy song to deal with (it) … but generally, I write to get out and bring myself up.

"So the songs all relate back to the kind of situation that most of us have been through. My life is always a challenge so I'm always writing songs about standing up and moving on and learning lessons."

Copyright ©2003 FFWD. All rights reserved. - Calgary's News & Entertainment Weekly


Our third installment of Musical Chairs begins with Heidi LIttle sitting across the table from Jamie Deal, Jonah Krieser and Stacey Hahm of Ghosts of MOdern Man. They were interviewed in the last issue of prairie dog by members of Sylvie. Now it's their chance to turn the tables.

A musician since the age of thirteen, Little is practivally a Regina institution despite her youth. She's even played with some of the Ghosts in the past, turning this session into more of a meeting among old friends than a formal interview.

"Why do you play music?" Deal asks, cutting right to the chase.

"I guess I'm lucky because a lot of people don't know what they want to do, but I just knew," she says. "It's a passion. I have to do it. It's all consuming."

If you're wondering how her recent tour wiht Jason Plumb (of The Walton's fame) fared, so was Deal.

"We went on tour with the Skydiggers, so it was deadly to get to talk to them," she says. "Plus I got to see how Jason does his stuff. He runs a tight ship."

But at the end of the day, Little is very much her own woman and prefers steering her own ship rather than going along for the ride on other people's tours.

"It works a lot better for me if I'm out there supportg myself," she says, "as opposed to being in someone else's band where they're taking care of everything because I'm not that kind of person."

Little's independent spirit appears to have no small part to do with the fact she's from the Queen City.

Regina is an excellent place for musicisans, Little says, because "there's time and room and space to be yourself. And there's no copying here - there's no 15 bands who sound like Nickleback."

As a former guitarist for Little, Deal wonders, "how is it with so many band members coming in and out of your life?"

"It sucks," she admits. "It's gotten to this point where I don't want to take someone on and have them sleep in a van. I want a rider where we're all taken care of in hotels with meals before every show. Plus it's tough to find people you can really work with, who share your ideas. That's why I've been through so many damn guitar players. I've been through, what, four in four years?"

While Little enjoys the independence of being a solo artist, she says her ultimate goal is to play with a full band with "everybody on the same page." "I'm a soloist most of the time because I can't afford to pay people, but the audience isn't hearing what I hear in my head when I write a song. My influences are old Heart and Joni Mitchell, as well as XTC and the Pixies. This is the sort of music that's in my head."

Krieser waits until the end of the interview to ask the question that's on everyone's mind, which is, of course, "will there ever be a Heidi LIttle record about bloody amputations and severed heads rolling down the street?" Little responds, unfazed, "I highly doubt that. I'm so damn optimistic."

"I mean," Krieser continues, sensing the need for clarification, "could you ever make a blatantly angry record?" Little thinks, choosing her words carefully: "I'm 27 now, and I want to keep making music for the rest of my life, so the possibilities are endless."
- The Prairie Dog, 24 July 2003


Heidi LIttle could easily fill the role of poster girl for the Queen City's "I Love Regina" campaign. The golden-throated singer-songwriter and actress was born, raised and schooled in the city she will always call home.

"It's the greatest place to become really good at what you do," she says of Regina. "To really focus on who you are, and keep in touch with what you're doing and what you want - we have space here to be who we need to be.

"Besides that, the people here are just...quality folks. There is no one here who isn't working so hard to be the best they can be.

"It's a beautiful place to come home to and that's all I need to know."

The 27-year-old grew up with parents who could both carry a tune, and by the time she was five, Little was already commanding an audience.

"I did my first church choir solo when I was about four-and-a-half," she recalls with a chuckle. "Even then, I thought it was awesome. I just loved it."

Someone who is now known for her angelic purity and depth as a singer of roots rock and folk, Little actually ripped it up in punk bands while attending high school at Sheldon-Williams and Balfour collegiates in the early 1990's.

She sang with Sexy Sister Mary and Nonetheless, and later put time in with local blues rock powerhouse, DD and The Dynamiters. (She was one of the Dynamiters.) It was also around this time that Little began to discover her muse as a songwriter.

"Usually I pick up the guitar when I'm not feeling all that well, for whatever reason," she admits with a smile. "It could be financial, it could be emotional, it could be physical. I use (songwriting) to bring myself up.

"A lot of my songs have to do with standing up and pushing on. You know, working as hard as you can with the life that you've got. I tend to write about that stuff a lot.

"I also write a lot of metaphorical stuff so that people can't take anything personally," she adds, laughing. "It will still be 'I' or 'you' or 'we', but people can take from them what they will, because they're applicable to many situations."

Little has parlayed her songwriting exploits into an outstanding five-song demo that she recorded with Jason Plumb in 2001.

Tunes such as "So Much More,", "Crazy," "2 Ton Truck," "Open Arms" and "Cowboy" will stand as a precursor to her debut full-length CD, which LIttle hopes to have ready in time for a scheduled CBC concert Series appearance in May.

Meanwhile, she continues to gig regularly around the city and did a West Coast tour last summer. Appearing both as a solo acoustic act and with The Litttle Heidi Band, Little enjoys the security of the full band that will be behind her during an appearance tonight at The State's Battle Of The Bands.
- by Gerry Krochak for the Regina Leader-Post 2003


Discography

Heidi Little - Self Titled EP, 2000

Live in a ShuBox -CD LP, CD BABY (internet release), 2003

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

The journey began in 1999. Five songs were produced, recorded and mastered under the mentorship of Juno award winning, gold record holding Jason Plumb; formerly with The Walton’s. The first single Cowboy was picked up by numerous television series, independent films and proceeded to sell couple thousands of copies. Shortly thereafter Heidi Little began booking more of western Canada, playing major folk festivals, and opening for the likes of Holly McNarland, The Northern Pikes, the Sky Diggers, The Walton’s, and Bill Bourne. A documentary called “Karaoke Night at the Plains was airing nationally on CTV and CBC. It showcases Heidi’s earlier work, and the beginnings of her budding musical career, and is currently enjoying medium rotation status. Since Heidi Little’s release of Live In A Shu Box, songs that ended up being recorded and supported by CBC radio for their Gallery series Christmas 2003, and has aired nationally as a whole program called “True Believer”, Little has toured three countries. In Mexico Heidi performed live on three television programs complete with a translator, "You said” was on rotation with five radio stations in the upper North Eastern regions of Mexico and seven hundred copies of the disc were sold. What would follow would be an eighteen date, independent solo tour going to coffee houses and ampi-theatres throughout Texas, Arizona and California.
The Windrift International songwriting competition placed “Angel” as third runner up in December 2004. The Canadian Music Week/Rock 94 radio placed a new song “Movin On” as first place for the Regional competition, with Nationals being held March 5th, 2005 in Toronto at this years CMW’s. Currently an Eastern Canadian tour is in the planning stages and the summer festival touring circuit is the main focus.