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Rising Stars to perform The Citadel House


By KAREN WELLS TC Media   Emma Peckford and Nicholas Saunders can remember 2014 as the year they both made inroads on the provincial music scene.

Emma, 16, was the winner of a $50,000 national talent contest “She’s the One” last July. It was a real thrill-ride for the Corner Brook native, who got to travel to Los Angeles in October.

“I had an incredible time,” she said. “I met and worked with amazing people, and did amazing things. I was treated like a star, with people doing my hair and makeup, and picking out my outfits, and being in front of a camera. I recorded a song with an amazing producer and worked in a legendary studio. Looking back now, it feels like a dream.” (Check out her video on Facebook at Emma Peckford Music).

Nicholas, 17, had his own success, earning second place in the Music NL Newfound Talent Contest — Gander edition. He released his debut solo album “Don’t Tell Me What Kind of Day to Have” and added a number of performances to his credit, including the Newfoundland Folk Festival, the Lyrical Voices Show at the Winterset in Summer Literary Festival and the Emerging Artist Concert at The Citadel House along with Madison Dohaney and Donovan Hutchings.

Returning to Citadel House is something Nicholas is looking forward to — he and Emma will take to the stage on Saturday, Jan. 24 in the Rising Stars concert.

“Citadel House is one of the few locations in Newfoundland outside of bars that offer a regular place to perform for artists with original music,” he said.

“Its reputation attracts a lot of people with great taste in music. Without Citadel House, opportunities for young performers such as myself would be that much more limited.”

This is the first time Emma will grace the Citadel House stage.

“I can’t wait to play in such an awesome room and share it with a great fellow musician,” she said. “I absolutely love the intimate and interactive feeling that the Citadel House provides. I have always loved to be close to my audience, and feel that, as a solo acoustic performer, these small venues are perfect for me.”

Citadel House owner/operator Dean Stairs believes in encouraging talent of all ages. At least once a year, his family’s concert venue hosts up and coming artists.

And make no mistake, Emma and Nicholas are artists, he says.

“They aren’t necessarily doing other people’s music, they are writing from their own experience and about people of their generation,” he said.

Emma and Nicholas were both chosen for Rising Stars because of their potential.

“I think there’s every possibility that between the two of them we will be hearing the next generation Amelia Curran — that could very well be Emma Peckford,” Stairs said. “Nicholas could be the next Ron Hynes. He writes very differently but Nicholas is a very creative person.”

Emma, 16, was the winner of a $50,000 national talent contest “She’s the One” last July. It was a real thrill-ride for the Corner Brook native, who got to travel to Los Angeles in October.

“I had an incredible time,” she said. “I met and worked with amazing people, and did amazing things. I was treated like a star, with people doing my hair and makeup, and picking out my outfits, and being in front of a camera. I recorded a song with an amazing producer and worked in a legendary studio. Looking back now, it feels like a dream.” (Check out her video on Facebook at Emma Peckford Music).

Nicholas, 17, had his own success, earning second place in the Music NL Newfound Talent Contest — Gander edition. He released his debut solo album “Don’t Tell Me What Kind of Day to Have” and added a number of performances to his credit, including the Newfoundland Folk Festival, the Lyrical Voices Show at the Winterset in Summer Literary Festival and the Emerging Artist Concert at The Citadel House along with Madison Dohaney and Donovan Hutchings.

Returning to Citadel House is something Nicholas is looking forward to — he and Emma will take to the stage on Saturday, Jan. 24 in the Rising Stars concert.

“Citadel House is one of the few locations in Newfoundland outside of bars that offer a regular place to perform for artists with original music,” he said.

“Its reputation attracts a lot of people with great taste in music. Without Citadel House, opportunities for young performers such as myself would be that much more limited.”

This is the first time Emma will grace the Citadel House stage.

“I can’t wait to play in such an awesome room and share it with a great fellow musician,” she said. “I absolutely love the intimate and interactive feeling that the Citadel House provides. I have always loved to be close to my audience, and feel that, as a solo acoustic performer, these small venues are perfect for me.”

Citadel House owner/operator Dean Stairs believes in encouraging talent of all ages. At least once a year, his family’s concert venue hosts up and coming artists.

And make no mistake, Emma and Nicholas are artists, he says.

“They aren’t necessarily doing other people’s music, they are writing from their own experience and about people of their generation,” he said.

Emma and Nicholas were both chosen for Rising Stars because of their potential.

“I think there’s every possibility that between the two of them we will be hearing the next generation Amelia Curran — that could very well be Emma Peckford,” Stairs said. “Nicholas could be the next Ron Hynes. He writes very differently but Nicholas is a very creative person.”

Stairs worked with Nicholas on recording projects last year and said Nicholas has a strong personality and his own way of doing things, which is a strength in the music business.

“He’s young enough that the level of songwriting that he is at and how he presents himself on stage, he is mature far beyond his age.”

Stairs said it seems Emma has destined for the industry for a long time.

“It’s been something she has always wanted to do and seen it as being who she is, and she’s defined herself that way.”

Both Emma and Nicholas will sing and play guitar. Their musical styles vary. Emma describes her sound as acoustic, easy listening, folk inspired. She has strong vocals and a wide vocal range. Her musical influences include her father, Dean Peckford, other Newfoundland artists, Ed Sheeran and Leonard Cohen.

Nicholas says his music is essentially alternative/indie rock with a focus on melody and memorability.

“I don’t shy away from hooks or poppy choruses,” he said. “My goal when performing music is to elate the audience, make them happy. My goal when writing a song is to ensure that the song sticks with you after you’ve heard it.”

Stairs said there was a lot of buzz about Nicholas after the March 2014 performance at Citadel House.

“The level that these people are working at — Emma and Nicholas — is really astounding for their age,” Stairs said. “There is very little difference between the art level they are working at and someone such as The Mayhemingways — that we have coming back here in July — in terms of their songwriting skills, and all that is very much on par, which is really astounding when you are talking about groups that have been doing this for 10 years.

“But it’s obvious groups like the The Mayhemingways have hundreds of shows under their belt whereas these folks are not quite as polished and comfortable with an audience that is that close, but they are not uncomfortable either.”

Emma and Nicholas will each have a 45 to 50 minute set. Stairs said this gives them the opportunity to develop a show, which is all part of the craft.

Stairs said The Citadel House is the perfect venue to help them develop their performance skills. The audience can number up to 50 people, which makes for an intimate listening experience.

“We say this is where music comes to be heard. People who come are really music lovers and they come to be engaged with the artist,” Stairs said.

“Every show at Citadel House is warm and inviting and a friendly place to come to. These concerts also have a little hint of excitement because you know that the audience is thinking, I could be part of history here — this could be something I look back on in 10 years and say I saw Emma or Nicholas at Citadel House.

“It’s like seeing Tim Baker of Hey Rosetta at a coffee shop performing seven years ago.”

Concerts at Citadel House, 104 Main St., are for all ages. Coffee and treats will be available, and the music starts flowing at 7:30 p.m.

 

editor@pilotnl.ca

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