After a decade in traditional pop outfit Chic Gamine doing what Juno-winning women do, Alexa Dirks has gracefully stepped into a reinvented solo act as Begonia. Leaving the comfort, stability, and long-time team of talented ladies was undoubtedly a hard decision, especially as Dirks has made it clear that her music as Begonia is heavily influenced by the relationships with the women in her life. Even the songs about men, romance, and breakups are ultimately about how that interplayed within the women around her. The big difference is now, Begonia is the voice and writing of Dirks exclusively – and it has the music world buzzing with excitement, and binging on the musical collages of church-style organ, pop-synth samples, hip hop drum tracks and Dirks’ dynamic, dramatic, soulful, buttery voice. Originally from Winnipeg, Begonia is making waves on charts and lists of the top new artists all over the continent with her February 2017 EP Lady in Mind.
Begonias are a genus of plant which encompasses hundreds of species of small flowers that come in all colours, shapes, and patterns, ranging from brilliant, punchy, crisp pops of colour to kind of awkward, floppy piles of limp petals. Similarly, asking Dirks (or any woman in her twenties) on any given day how they’re feeling would yield an answer that lies somewhere in that same range. “I don’t know what I’m doing half the time but I want to be like the lady in my mind” is essentially a paraphrase of most soul-searching young women’s Instagram captions.
The music is honest, catchy, and belt-at-the-top-of-your-lungs-worthy. Some songs are new and some have been sitting in a notebook for years with no outlet until now, possibly from some of the many song sharing opportunities Dirks has had with members of bands such as Royal Canoe. Though Dirks is standing on her own two feet in Begonia, she by no means has given up on sharing and collaborating, and drawing inspiration from her father, Ray Dirks’, artistic catalogue and her life’s experiences and musical tastes, from jazz to gospel to R&B.