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​Being Begonia

Music | February 21st, 2022

By Sabrina Hornung

sabrina@hpr1.com

Photo by Stephanie Dinsdale

HPR first caught wind of Begonia one hot day at Winnipeg Folk Fest in 2019. Even though we were trying not to wilt from the triple digit temperatures at the outdoor festival, onstage despite the heat, she maintained a coolness and oozed a certain level of sass, confidence and MAN.. what a voice. Once we found out she was coming to Fargo in March 2020, catching her show was a no brainer, little did any of us know this would be the last show we’d all catch for quite a while. That tour was to be the Manitoba native’s US Tour debut. Unfortunately it was short lived as was everything else that spring. Now two years later, she’s hitting the road again and she’s making a triumphant return to Fargo.

“Having been in the US, when everything kind of started unfolding and feeling very confused as to what was like… going on. And then we got to New York, and my manager was like, All right, everything's canceled– turn around go. It was very intense. And then thinking that we just be on for a month or two. I mean, that's the classic story at this point. And here we are two years later, and I'm just like, feeling every feeling, every emotion possible.” said Winnipeg based musician Alexa Dirks, aka Begonia.

After spending the past decade playing music and touring as part of the indie folk band Chic Gamine, she eventually went on to pursue a solo career as “Begonia.” She wasn’t used to having downtime, or time to just be still, she says that her pandemic silver lining was working on both herself and another album project.

When asked what the best and worst parts of performing as a solo act is, she said, “The best part is also the worst part, I guess. It's like having no one else to answer to and doing exactly what you want. But then that's also the worst part is having no one else to answer to. Because that can be so paralyzing. You have no one really to like, bounce ideas off of and who has that same kind of passion as you I guess, like when you're in a band, everyone is so connected, and you always have people to share that with, but in the same breath, I have an amazing team around me that really believes in me that I feel like I'm sharing this with as much as it is like a solo thing.”

She went on to say, “Collaboratively, I work with a live band, and that feels like collaborative partners. The thing with being a solo artist is that at the end of the day, I get the final say, whereas before there are a few different sacrifices that you have to make but I always try to keep that collaborative energy in my life because it definitely drives me, working with other people.”

When asked about her style influences she said, “I feel like I have a mixture of like ‘Toddlers in Tiaras’, Dolly Parton… I love the glitz and the glamor and the over the top looks. I love wearing a shit ton of makeup and doing my hair.I love going all out and I have someone I work with in town. I am so inspired by the drag performers in the city that I come from. And I feel so inspired to think outside of the box. I just don't want to be afraid to try anything I guess at this point. Especially for someone like me who doesn't necessarily fit into ‘straight sizes’ as they call them. I am plus size and I feel like it's hard to necessarily find just things off the rack or that stylists don't necessarily know how to work with my body all the time. So I've found someone in the city who makes all my clothes and we just kind of get together and touch on things. And I'm not just relying on going to stores and trying to make things fit me like I used to do and would be really discouraged. Like now I feel way more empowered.”.

She cites a wide range of musical influences, from Fiona Apple to Stevie WOnder. “It's kind of a mixture between folk soul and pop music, and with a lot of different genres. What it comes down to, for me, is just raw, honest– honesty… and unique voices. Yeah, that's just what inspired me.. Authenticity– but it's not necessarily perfection.”

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IF YOU GO

Begonia

Wednesday, March 2, 8pm

Fargo Brewing Company

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