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Chutzpah! Festival Celebrates Diversity With Multifaceted International Programming

Chutzpah! Festival Celebrates Diversity With Multifaceted International Programming

by Yasmine Shemesh In Hebrew, chutzpah means “brazen audacity.” As such, it’s fitting that the term would be the namesake…

Little Miss Higgins: Finding a New Home in a New Life 

Friday 06th, October 2017 / 12:00
By Sarah Allen 


Higgins wrote her new record in a café during the day, and a sports bar at night
By Alicia Sylvester

CALGARY – Major life changes have affected Saskatchewan’s Little Miss Higgins in the past few months: a new home in a new province, and having a baby boy. Despite her upheaval, singer-songwriter Jolene Higgins is putting out a new record that is aptly titled My Home, My Heart. Even though the big move and new family member didn’t allow for many superfluous moments of creativity, Higgins also has an impending tour.  

“It was tough to sit down and write a song because there was no time.” Higgins tells BeatRoute, “there would be these little fleeting moments where I would just be singing at him, making stuff up because I just couldn’t think of any songs, even though I know so many.”

Songs on the new album such as “Little Joe Lullabyare clear products of the time spent caring for her son. 

While he slept, she stole moments with her ukulele, repeating the first line of the title track, ‘My Home, My Heart,’ a song that remained a one liner for about a year. With a recording date set and approaching quickly, Higgins knew she had to get to work finishing some songs and writing others completely, so she headed to Brooks, Alberta, for 14 days to utilize her mom as a babysitter.  

She wrote in a café until it closed for the evening, and then in a Montana’s lounge where a barrage of televised sporting events inspired her song “Full Contact Sport,” a tongue-in-cheek number that fits in strongly with her discography.

“’Full Contact Sport’ is not about sports, but I used it as an analogy and it’s really funny,” reveals Higgins.

“That’s what I love. Usually the funny songs for me are so easy to write.” 

There were some songs that presented her with difficulty.

“’Swept Away’ was challenging because it delves into a heavier topic.”  

Higgins states, “I’m always nervous with those ones being a little bit political, a little bit challenging. You never know what is going to happen or how it’s going to be received.” 

After putting the track to her band and producer in studio, Higgins witnessed the song transform with a new groove. The bluesy melody paired with her hypnotic vocals constructed a song that utters nostalgia. 

Another song, “Top of the Mountain,” came from an unexpected source, again during her time in Alberta. Higgins says the song was originally a poem her aunt had written. She was presented with it in a book at a small service held for the purpose of burying her father’s ashes.  

“I opened it up and I read it and was like ‘Huh, what a really awesome poem.’” Higgins continues, “She let me keep the book and I just kept thinking about it. I took it and started singing a bit of a melody with it and then I sat down with my guitar and I started playing this song to her poem.” 

Because of the timing, the song was very emotional, even leaving her weeping. It was then Higgins knew she had to ask her aunt for permission to use it for the album.

This was Little Miss Higgins’ first time recording at The Song Shop in Winnipeg, a small studio built in producer Scott Nolan’s back yard. The album demonstrates her artistic fluidity as she weaves in and out of genres, and ultimately transport the listener to another time. 


Little Miss Higgins performs at October 13 and 14 at Wide Cut Weekend (Calgary), October 17 at Rooster’s Wood Fire and Smoke (Red Deer), October 19 at Bozzini’s (Chilliwack), and October 20 at Rogue Folk Club (Vancouver).

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