Exploring the world with a humanitarian organization, Rebecca Sky found herself in rare situations — a group home for abused girls in China, remote villages in the Amazon, teaching tropical medicine in West Africa. Even after a life threatening spider bite which put her in a comma and left her with chronic pain, Sky continued to adventure and reach out to those in need. Her experiences and wild literary mind have since inspired her to write fantasy stories for young adults allowing readers to escape the world around them. After publishing her books online for free three years ago Sky now has over 25,000 fans. When her novel The Love Curse hit 10 million reads on Wattpad last year, Pulitzer prize journalist, David Streitfeld of the NYTimes personally called her for an interview. Now signed with three agencies, Sky’s content has been optioned for film and has the potential to become a new TV series with a media agent who has worked on franchises such as Twilight and Percy Jackson.
All heads turn to Ocian Flo as the lights are dimmed and a soft drone begins. Her impressive set of large crystal bowls come to life. For Ocian, in the beginning, the resonating sound completely moved her. It was uniquely rhythmic with each twist of her wrist and various degrees of pressure. She had studied the body, learned to be a Reiki Master and in pursuit of her conscious evolution, found her ideals for healing could incorporate these rare instruments. Jay Schwed shared with her that the vibrations of the bowls increased the energy frequency of the body and earth around us. Ocian’s confidence grew into a new passion. Her voice, a glass triangle, and chimes are extra musical apparatus incorporated in her performances. Conferences, groups, and non-profits use her sounds in workshops, fundraisers or team events to create enlivening, beautiful and powerful inspiration. Ocian is only beginning to realize her potential from the harmony she instills with clarity of thought and relaxation.
Prepare yourselves Victoria… this local band which has been graphed together over the past few years is gaining steady momentum – meet Secondhand Habit. In 2013, fully formed with new members, they wrote their single “Love Letter,” which has a gut wrenching must see video. After receiving two showcase spots in Canadian Music Week 2014 (Toronto), they decided to give back in some way for the opportunity. They added more dates as a mini-tour and donated the money raised to the Canadian Diabetes Association. Their sudden tour idea received a very positive, eye-opening response. Inspired by Foo Fighters and 90’s Rock, the band has a modern punk blues sound. Originally the band had a Ska feel however, that is all about to change with their soon to be released album in 2015. Secondhand Habit was picked up this year by a record label, Blackstream (through Universal) and will soon travel to Alberta to record. The band indicated that they are serious but not taking themselves too seriously
… a perspective embodied by each original Caleb Speller piece. Art hid Speller from pressures at school and after graduation his travels to Hawaii, Thailand, and Australia aided in a deeper connection to himself, his beliefs, and the world. While rebuilding custom bicycles, Speller earned a Visual Arts diploma at Camosun College which introduced many new mediums. His focus became ceramics, watercolour, and photography, yet unorthodox. Gaining confidence, he knocked on doors in the creative community and his work was invited to display at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria during the Warhol exhibit. Speller’s inspiration continues to grow, whether it’s carving hockey pucks into print blocks, building a studio from found materials, or studying plant life from his garden. His newly assembled table book showcases images of his work and how he is shaped by surroundings, accessible materials and the recesses of his mind’s visual dictionary. There is no destination, he is active in the present.
After graduating from forestry and one of the first ever Eco-Tourism courses in 1999, Tyler Hayes chose to head west from Ontario to explore related jobs such as spacing forest growth in Grand Prairie and river guiding in Jasper. Intending to explore the coast, Hayes purchased a van. On his trip to Vancouver Island Hayes met with a glass blower and decided to buy the artist’s work to sell at festivals along the coast to California. Hayes became fascinated with how glass was made and the malleability of the material. Then an idea to create his own pieces sparked something for him. Shortly after, he found an artistic business partner, applied for grants, trained and bought a shop. Hayes works with borosilicate glass, the highest grade of glass commonly known as Pyrex. His beautiful pendants, sea life figurines, and globes are all over the world. This year Hayes blends purpose and passion together to manufacture, by hand, the only environmentally friendly glass straws produced in Canada.
Josh Miller, like many people, studied at University, found a career (in carpentry), and is a self-proclaimed “simple kind of guy”. Until last year; fate dealt a serious accident, preventing him from working. During his recovery, his teenage impulse (un-pursued interest to attend Emily Carr) revealed painting as more than a hobby. It was totally fulfilling. Inspired by his fiancé’s appreciation of fine art, he creates with bold colour (straight from the tube, no solvents like artists of the 1930’s) and uses only a pallet knife, with aspirations to be the next D Kooning. This passion gained serious momentum, listing him in the top 10 at the Emerging Art Gallery (Victoria) his first year. He feels by rejecting the standard art community expectations, the response to his work is growing and continues to seep through appreciating channels. His goal: to eventually show in London.
Influenced early on by his mother’s musical guidance Richard Moody found a lifelong devotion to the string instruments. At fourteen Moody moved with his family to France where he studied and practiced classical viola 3-5 hours a day. Being a part of a city and conservatory incredibly supportive of the arts allowed him to blossom as a player. Back in Canada Moody was driven at his craft, yet led a bit of a gypsy lifestyle – busking Vancouver, co-founding renowned group Acoustically Inclined and traveled solo performing a variety of Improv, Roots, Folk and Jazz. Later, studying yoga in India, he was inspired to incorporate the rich Indian music into his work. In the last six years Moody has made a presence in Victoria playing with the Bills, Brishen, and teaching. Currently he is touring a new album “Safar” created with Amir Amiri of Iran. Nominated for Best World Music Recording at the Western Canadian Music Awards, it’s an East/West collaboration of modern sounds and classic Persian piece.
The soul moving voice of Steph Macpherson makes it hard to imagine she had anxiety or was shy about being on stage. Yet, after nearly fourteen years of voice lessons, her love of playing guitar and Sarah Harmer finally took over and in high school she simply stopped worrying about it. Originally Macpherson wrote songs about the people around her where she found herself as the observer, watching the challenging and often emotionally fragile, even dark moments, friends struggled through. To her credit Steph listened to herself and realized she had fewer issues and plenty of support, and asked herself “ why wasn’t (she) doing more?” After a trip to New Zealand in 2006 she wrote her first EP, followed by an LP. Macpherson then went on to win cash awards, and open for many famous musicians (Lilith Fair 2010; Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, and at Canadian Music Week 2012 in Toronto.) Macpherson’s Indie, Country-Canadiana sound is creating serious buzz. Her new LP is due out spring 2015.