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Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Toonage: Toronto Music Review"

by Kim Snyder
I will be one of the first to say that people from Northwestern Ontario are great people and have talent far bigger than one would imagine, coming from a small mining town off the beaten path. Shy-Anne Hovorka is no exception as she was just nominated for the upcoming 2008 Aboriginal Music Awards for best new artist, best songwriter, and single of the year!
Shy-Anne was adopted by the Hovorka family at the age of six and feels she owes much of her success to those who helped her in those early years. She has been singing since she was three, performing since nine and enjoys a wide variety of musical genres, leaning more towards blues, soft rock, pop, contemporary and folk music.
While singing is her first love, she often accompanies herself on piano. Shy-Anne studied music at Lakehead University and earned her Honors Bachelor of Music degree, receiving her formal training in the classical tradition. She has performed as the featured soloist for the Thunder Bay Symphony under David Bowser and has won numerous awards for her performances in Classical Music Festivals.
Her love of music and commitment to develop her own talent, and her desire to share her passion with others, continues to direct her path in life. She has recently taken the final steps with her music, which bares her heart and soul, and created her own CD entitled Black ThunderBird, which is also her given spirit name. The songs on her album are about life, and reflect her experiences and the events of those close to her.
One of the scariest things about releasing a CD is the public response it will receive. These songs are her life. Her life is in her music. Shy-Anne has been reluctant for many years to share her music. To bear your heart to strangers is hard to do, but music is meant to be shared and listened to. She hopes that there are people out there who can relate and feel through her music the way that she does.
The biggest dream for her is that her music will help others understand life and realize that they are not alone. She wants educators, parents and care-givers know how much they can impact one life, and how one life can, in turn, hopefully impact many others in a positive way, thanks to their love and determination.
Check out her talent on Facebook, MySpace or at

- Toonage

"Shy-Anne gains stage confidence"

submitted photo
Shy-Anne Hovorka poses during a photo shoot for her album cover art.

She was surfing the Net, running her name through a search engine, when she got the news.

She had been nominated for three Aboriginal Music Peoples Choice Awards: best new artist, best songwriter and single of the year.

It felt a little surreal, she said later, seeing her name listed alongside the likes of Crystal Shawanda, Dallas Arcand (Kray Z Kree) and Sierra Noble in the various categories.

“I wasn’t even going to submit my music for consideration,” said Shy-Anne Hovorka, a 32-year-old singer-songwriter.

“I’m glad I did though.”

Hovorka, who was born a Matachewan band member but lost her status because of her adoption by a Czech family, was also scheduled to perform Nov. 7 at the Peoples Choice Awards show in Winnipeg. It aired live on APTN.

Heading into the show, Hovorka wondered what it would be like performing in front of what she expected to be a crowd of several thousand people.

“With so many other phenomenal musicians in the crowd, I can’t help but wonder ‘Are they going to be listening to me (as fans) or are they going to be listening to me (as musicians, critical of any little mistake). All I can do is my best.”

Hovorka’s plan to silence any critics?

“I’m going to perform an original song no one has ever heard before,” she said, giggling. “They won’t actually know how it’s supposed to sound.

“It’s just going to be me and my keyboard for the show.”

Music has been a part of Hovorka’s life for as long as she can remember.

“My earliest memory involves music,” she said. “I was three years old and I wanted to sing a song.

“I didn’t know enough English or Ojibway, so it was just gibberish. My grandma asked me what language I was singing in. I told her it was my own.”

As she grew up, her family moved around a lot before settling in Red Lake.

It was there she discovered a passion for music. She spent her youth singing around her home.

While she enjoyed it, there was never a certainty she would make a profession or career out of it.

She earned an honours bachelor of arts degree in music from Lakehead University in 2000 and a bachelor of education
degree with an honours specialty in music in 2003. She is also a Royal Conservatory Music certified teacher.

Between her degrees, she spent two years teaching English as a second language in South Korea.

She summed up the experience in a few words. “I loved the culture, the food and the people,” she said. “But the city was built out of concrete and I couldn’t see the stars.”

By 2002, she was ready to come home to Canada.

She returned, got her teaching degree and moved to Red Lake.

She worked five years teaching Ojibway, oral language, music and literacy to kindergarten through Grade 8 students.

After school, she taught piano, voice and music theory to residents of the town ranging in age from four to 81.

She “absolutely enjoyed” her time in Red Lake but decided to try making a career out of music.

She took a leave of absence from the school and moved to Thunder Bay, calling it a business decision.

“It’s hard to maintain a music career in the bush,” Hovorka said. “It costs a lot more money to travel for shows.”

The arts community is also more vibrant in Thunder Bay, she said.

Since music isn’t paying all the bills yet, Hovorka returned to the educational field. She teaches Ojibway at an adult learning centre. She is also an instructor at Coran’s Music Store.

The move to Thunder Bay is already paying dividends musically.

“I’ve been able to accept more shows,” she said.

She opened for the Tomson Highway Cabaret in Thunder Bay, Oct. 15 and 16. It’s unlikely she would have been able to do that had she been living in Red Lake, she said.

Hovorka tends to let the atmosphere of the show dictate how she performs.

“I’m mostly a singer,” she said. “I’ll back myself up on keyboards.”

When she’s performing in a bar, doing cover tunes with her band Shy’s Guyz, there’s a rock-vibe. When it’s original music she’s performing, there’s a slightly more laid-back feel.
[Shy-Anne Hovorka]
photo by James Thom
Shy-Anne Hovorka performs at the Lakehead Outpost, Oct. 17, opening for the Tomson Highway Cabaret. She performed three songs before giving way to Highway.

“I’m usually on stage with the piano,” she said. “Sometimes there will be a backup track of my own music. I’m never
completely a capella.”

While she’s fairly comfortable on stage now, she hasn’t always been.

“I had no confidence,” she said. “I was living up to my name of Shy-Anne.

“It’s only in the last year that I got the confidence to sing professionally and make an album.”

That confidence came from the pressure of a deadline.

“I got funding from the Ontario Arts Council ... and the Métis Nation of Ontario to record the CD,” she said. “If I didn’t get it done in a year, I would have to give the funding back.”

The CD, called Black ThunderBird, contains 11 tracks. Its title represents Hovorka’s spirit name. It was released on her own label, ThunderBird Records, so she can control her own image and music.

“I had always looked into the business side of music but never had the courage,” she said. “When the opportunity arose with the CD, it was the right time to do it.”
photo by James Thom Hovorka wows the crowd with her range during the Outpost show.
photo by James Thom
Hovorka wows the crowd with her range during the Outpost show.

While her confidence still sometimes wavers, it improved significantly as Hovorka played a lot of shows over the past year to support the CD and herself.

Performing on stage, before several thousand people at a time, helped with overcoming her shyness.

“On stage, the singing and playing, I can do that,” she said. “I still get nervous sometimes between songs on stage.

The speaking and talking to the crowd, that’s what gets me sometimes.

“I try to crack jokes or explain the meaning behind some of my songs … I’ve explained to crowds the significance of my spirit name and why I wrote a song about it. It gives people a chance to know a little bit more about me.”

Being adopted, she has developed a kinship with children’s aid societies and has played many shows for these and other types of youth groups.

“It leads to speaking about other issues,” she said.

“It’s like a dinner-entertainment evening. I chat with youth and talk about my experiences. I think it’s really important to speak about my experiences with foster care and adoption.”
Published in Sagatay, December 2008 / January 2009 - Sagate

"Singers share inspirational music with students"
Singers and musicians share inspirational music with students

* Local News

Tue, 2009-09-22 12:21

News Release

Shy-Anne Hovorka, Nylin White, Missy Knott, and Chris Sutherland provided outstanding vocal performances at all 3 high schools for intermediate level and secondary level Rainy River District School Board students. These exceptionally talented performers are all healthy lifestyle artists who joined forces to do a Northwestern Ontario Aboriginal Music Tour in support of youth and Mother Earth.
Nylin White is a new up and coming Northwestern Ontario Aboriginal musician, whose song “On the Res” communicated that too many friends are lost through suicide, and urged youth not to give up, to be strong, and to be “who you are.”
Winner of Peterborough’s Best Emerging Artist 2009 award, Missy Knott spoke to students about losing someone to cancer, and the recent loss of her father to this disease. Her song “Happy in the Sun” focused on how her father took joy in the simple gifts of life during his last days. She also performed “Including You,” which was written about the importance of avoiding abusive relationships, taking control, and letting go of everything that is hurtful.
Shy-Anne Hovorka is a 10 time music award nominee and the recipient of over 10 music awards. With an Honors Bachelor of Music degree and Bachelor of Education degree, many of her songs reflect her interactions with students, and her feelings growing up as a child. Through song and discussion with Rainy River District School Board students, she promoted the importance of the ability, to be proud of themselves and their heritage, to look past skin colour, and to focus on all the positive things that there are to celebrate in the world. The biggest dream for Shy-Anne is that her music will help others understand life, and realize they are not alone. Especially the children that are in foster care. She also wants educators, parents, children’s aid services, and care-givers know how much they can impact one life, and how that one life can in turn hopefully impact many others in a positive way thanks to their love and determination.
Shy-Anne Hovorka shared a message with those in attendance that encouraged them to “give Mother Earth a break by fasting for 12 hours on October 10, 2009” in support of Anishnabe Nation Elder, Dave Courchene’s, Day of Fasting/Celebration of Giving. The goal of this day is to give back to the earth, to encourage more people to use their musical talents to express positive messages, and to contribute to a more peaceful world.
The show on September 17, 2009 at Fort Frances High School closed with Moose Cree First Nations hip hop artist Chris Sutherland. One of his goals is show the students that rapping with positive messages has more power than singing about many of the negative concepts in contemporary music today that fill the ears of youth.
During their 3 days in the Rainy River District, on September 15 through September 18, 2009, the group also auditioned and selected three local youth to perform with them in Thunder Bay on October 3, 2009 at the Paramount Theatre.
Aboriginal Education Leader, Brent Tookenay said: “The artists all gave a message of determination and dream following, which is also reflected in the Rainy River District School Boards mission: To empower all students to dream of the possibilities, to believe in themselves and to achieve.”
- Rainy River Record


Black ThunderBird (debut)



Shy-Anne Hovorka is an Aboriginal singer/songwriter from Northwestern Ontario. She was the 2010 winner in the Aboriginal People's Choice Awards for Female Aboriginal Entertainer of the year and Best Produced Album. Other past nominations include 2008 Aboriginal Music Awards; best new artist, best song writer, and single of the year, and was nominated in 2009 for; Best Pop album, best new Folk album, and best International album.Her latest video "Can't Change the World" also is up for music video of the year.
Shy-Anne has been singing since she was three, and performing since nine. Enjoying a wide variety of musical genres, Shy-Anne performs blues, pop, contemporary and folk music. Her first love is singing, but also accompanies herself on piano. These days Shy-Anne is joined by guitarist Jordan Elcheson and percussionist Rob Benvegnu. Jordan and Rob help to complete Shy-Anne's live sound by adding fullness and excitement to the music.
Her songs "Pseudo" and "Can't Change the World" have made top 20 chart placements on various stations across Canada, and she has been the fastest moving artist on myspace on a few occasions.
Shy-Anne was a finale act for the Indigenous Festival, backed by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, opened the G-8 Interfaith Summit, opened the Winnipeg Folk Festival with the song "Can't Change the World", performed the 2010 Aboriginal People's Choice Awards, 1st night. Shy-Anne has had the opportunity to open for Tomson Highway. She was a spotlight performer for the Aboriginal People'sChoice Music Awards in 2008 at the Winnipeg MTS Center. Shy-Anne also was the Master of Ceremonies for the 2009 Aboriginal Youth Achievement Awards, and has been the keynote for a number of youth events. To add to the list of Shy-Anne's accomplishments, she was also selected by Lakehead University as one of 3 most successful graduates in the last decade. She has many more accolades to add to her list of accomplishments.
She has performed as the featured soloist for the Thunder Bay Symphony under David Bowser, and has won numerous awards for her performances in Classical Musical Festivals. However, given Shy-Anne's eclectic musical interests, her performances have broadened to include a wide assortment of venues.
Shy-Anne's love of music and commitment to develop her talent, and her desire to share her passion with others, continue to direct her path in life. Shy-Anne's debut album was highly successful, and now their second album, Pseudo is surpassing in great strides the success of Black ThunderBird.