Issue: 2019-09-25, PHOTO: courtesy of Paris Pick
Paris Pick is preparing for a busy fall, with a feature in BreakOut West 2019 and her first cross-country tour

Paris Pick has been up to a lot this past year. Last November, she was featured in What’s Up Yukon for the local release concert of her debut album, Feeling Love, and its subsequent touring. It’s been nearly a year since then, but the Whitehorse soul and pop singer hasn’t slowed down. In fact, things are getting even bigger for Pick now as she prepares to be a featured artist in this year’s BreakOut West showcases and gears up to embark on her first central and Eastern Canadian tour.

BreakOut West in an annual event that consists of a four-day conference, three-night music festival and the Western Canadian Music awards. It is an opportunity for rising artists to network with industry professionals and expand their platforms. It’s hosted in a different city each year. This October, it’s happening in Whitehorse.

“Though I’m a little bit nervous, I’m mostly excited,” said Pick. “I’ve never performed at a showcase festival before. I’ve spent seven years preparing for an opportunity like this and I’m really stoked that I was invited to perform.”

Several of this year’s BreakOut West artists are local to the Yukon. It wouldn’t be right for Paris Pick to not be one of them. Over the past few years, her unfaltering dedication and drive has landed her at the forefront of the Yukon’s music scene. For Pick, being part of BreakOut West could a valuable stepping stone to other festivals, showcases and industry events.

“With so many delegates attending, like booking agents, labels, and artistic directors, this is a great chance to meet new people and make new connections,” she said. “It’d be awesome to get into some other national and international showcases in the aftermath.”

The Yukon is lucky to have a thriving original music scene, but the isolation of the territory can sometimes be a barrier. For artists like Pick, bringing the Yukon’s music to other parts of the country and the world is important, but difficult to do. BreakOut West 2019 taking place in Whitehorse will undoubtedly be a prime opportunity for the Yukon’s emerging talents to spread the word of their music and begin to make names for themselves beyond their hometowns.

“I’ve heard stories about BreakOut West coming to Whitehorse back in 2011 and it sounds like it was great for showcasing artists and all the local businesses,” said Pick. “We’re so remote, it seems as though bands never consider coming here.”

Pick is right about the lack of artists who are willing to make the trip North to tour their music, but is confident that this will change during BreakOut West, which she says is attracting some incredible talent to the Yukon.

“It’s unbelievable. Some of Canada’s best music will be right at our doorstep.”

Shorty after her showcase features in BreakOut West, Pick is heading off on her third tour with her band Paris Pick & The Pricks. Pick has completed two tours so far, both of them in British Columbia. This fall, Pick will head east, traveling through British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec in support of her debut record. The tour will last nearly an entire month from Oct. 9 until Nov. 3.

“I’ve always wanted to do an across-Canada tour with my band, but I just needed to wait for the right opportunity to do so,” said Pick. “I look forward to making new friends out east and I’m hoping to make it more of a regular route once the ball is rolling.”

A month-long tour across most of the country is an ambitious venture, but Pick has already seen the merits of performing down south and is ready to take her music career even further.

“Touring is valuable as it provides opportunities to make new connections with artists, venues and listeners. I’ve definitely gained a bit more recognition by being active performing outside the Yukon and having a stronger online presence.”

Once her busy fall has wrapped up, Pick plans to finally take a well-deserved vacation for her 25th birthday. Once she’s back, she’ll be back in the recording studio right away, preparing for her next chapter of music-making, touring and expanding the local music community.

“I was recently told by some fellow touring musicians that they noticed Yukon musicians don’t seem as pretentious as some of the other artistic communities across Canada. It’s as though we are happy to do what we’re doing, whether or not we have a spotlight on us,” she said. 

BreakOut West 2019 takes place in Whitehorse from Oct. 2 to 6. Catch Paris Pick along with an impressive slew of other local Whitehorse and Yukon artists.