#SMNBW2013 Artist Profile / Profil d’artiste – Becka deHaan

Becka deHaan was born Rebekah Joy Thiessen in Winnipeg on July 11, 1984. Premature birth deprived her of all but light perception at the age of two months. A native of St. Stephen, New Brunswick, she was playing the piano before she could walk–and now performs under her mother’s maiden name of deHaan.

She received her certificate of Grade 10 piano from the Royal Conservatory of Music upon high school graduation in 2002—and in 2006 earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Canadian Mennonite University, majoring in Biblical and Theological Studies and minoring in English literature.

Becka’s talents are many: she writes and performs her own music, playing piano, flute and harmonica. Her vocal and piano gifts boast a diverse range of musical genres from folk to rock to blues to country gospel.

Her performances always leave a strong impression with the audience, whether it be the tear streamed faces of the 300+ audience members on Parliament Hill at the Senate for National Child’s Day in November 2008 to the standing ovations and cheers from the sold-out crowd at the “UltraSounds” benefit concert for the Stan Cassidy Rehab Centre in February 2009 at The Playhouse theatre in Fredericton.

Becka’s talent and energy have been propelling her to even greater heights, namely, her recent performance for over 1000 attendees of The Canadian Social Forum, hosted by the Canadian Council on Social Development at the Telus Centre in Calgary in May 2009.

Additionally, in August 2009, Becka was crowned winner of the first iFactor, a national competition held by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. The prize was her collaboration in a show as the opening act for Juno nominee, Terry Kelly in Winnipeg in October, 2010.

From 2008 to 2011, she was also keyboardist and lead female vocalist for Fredericton’s showband, Vinyl2Bits.

March 2010 saw the release of her debut, full-length album, “Wait for the Wind”—an album showcasing deHaan’s many talents as a vocalist, instrumentalist (piano/harmonica), composer and lyricist. It has earned nominations for 2010 Spiritual Recording with music New Brunswick, for a 2010 Covenant Award–Inspirational Album of the Year–with Gospel Music Association Canada, and for a 2011 East Coast Music Award-Gospel Recording of the Year.

Her second album, “Long-Awaited, Unexpected,” was released in October, 2012–a Christmas album highlighting her development in performance, writing and arranging, with original reflections and arrangements of traditional carols. This album is nominated for a Prix MNB Awards 2013 in the category Folk/Roots Recording of the Year.

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