At first glance, 15 year old Francesca Dill and 25 year old Dwayne Musson don’t have much in common. But this Saturday, they will both share a life-changing experience, performing their own material for the first time at The Chewstick Foundation’s Chewstick Showcase Fundraiser at the Ruth Seaton James Centre for the Performing Arts.
Francesca, a Warwick Academy student has been singing in St. John’s Youth Choir since age 6 and performed in Warwick Academy’s 2009 smash-hit Blood Brothers. On Saturday, however, she will perform her own material without the security of singing with a choir: “I am very nervous and excited about performing with my own work because I’m used to having the support of a choir backing me up.”
Coming from a musical family, Francesca discovered she could play piano in 2009, when she sat down and figured out how to play Christmas Carols. Humbly, Francesca shrugs and laughs, “We don’t have a TV and I was bored. I just found that I could play by ear.” She is also learning to play the guitar. Her original music has already been recorded and produced by John Woolridge at Just Platinum Studios. She describes her music as alternative ballads, with some songs sounding like pop and others sounding like country. Her influences are broad and range from rock band Nickelback, to country cutie Taylor Swift, to classical soprano Hayley Westenra. Francesca hopes to eventually parlay her love of music into a career however, no matter where her music might take her, Francesca says Bermuda will always be home.
Dwayne “Dewhurst” Musson fits the other end of the spectrum. While he played piano and drums during primary school, he didn’t continue them on and has only recently rediscovered his musical side. He began rapping with some friends and has only been going at it for seven months. Nonetheless, when he stepped into the audition room for the CHEWronto tour, judges were absolutely blown away and adamant that he be added to the roster. The performance this Saturday at Ruth Seaton James will be his first performance for an audience and he is excited to get some practice before he takes on the CHEWronto tour with the other artists over Easter Weekend. The experience is somewhat surreal for the young artist: “I am excited and nervous at the same time, I’m looking forward to it and I want to get myself out there. I think it’s funny that I’m going on tour before I put out a song- it’s a bit overwhelming!”
His rapping style is influenced by music he grew up listening to, such as Q-Tip, Biggie Smalls, Mos Def, Big Daddy Kane and more recent artists such as Eminem, Kanye West and Lil Wayne. Dewhurst’s music has a message behind it: “My music is about empowering yourself- you need to feel like you have the strength to get through the day. It’s about giving yourself that positive reinforcement. It’s a release, it shows how I feel […] This is my way to come out of my shell, too. I hope my music will reach people, that people will be able to listen to it and take something from it.”
Dewhurst found out about Chewstick through friends and was surprised to find such a burgeoning pool of local talent: “I think we have a long way to go to establish ourselves as Bermudian musicians and artists- we need to dig into our culture a bit more to see what’s there. We’re still young in the music industry- there’s a lot of flavours here that need to get developed!”
These two young, emerging artists are in good company during the Chewstick Showcase performing next to local veterans such as Live Wires, Joy T. Barnum, Ramon Clarke and K.A.S.E.
The Chewstick Showcase Fundraiser is this Saturday, April 9 at the Ruth Seaton James Centre for the Performing Arts at 8 PM and a Patron’s reception from 7-8 PM with the opportunity to meet the artists.
The Chewstick Showcase costs $30 for General tickets, and $100 for Patrons, they are available from any of the CHEWronto artists, from the Chewstick office from 9 AM to 6 PM, or at Rock Island Coffee. There will be an After Party at The Chewstick Neo-Griot Lounge & Cafe which is free for showcase attendees or $15 for general public. All funds raised go to support artists travelling on the CHEWronto tour to Toronto. For more information, the full-line up and details check www.chewstick.org or call 292-2439.
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