For someone only days away from her solo performance debut, Julia Copeman-Haynes was amazingly calm.
When the 17-year-old North Delta singer sat down with the North Delta Reporter earlier this week, she exuded confidence, her posture straight and her smile bright.
“I am very excited. I’ve been pretty nervous, but … as things are getting closer and I’m looking things over and getting more nitty-gritty with the details, I’m actually getting more and more relaxed,” she said. “I’ll probably be really nervous the day before, but I’ll be okay.”
Music has long been a passion of hers, something she attributed to growing up in a very musical household.
“I can’t remember any instance where suddenly I liked music; it was always a big part of my life. I can remember sitting in my living room watching the same musical over and over again with Christianne Tisdale playing Cinderella, and I was just obsessed with her performance,” Copeman-Haynes said.
On Saturday, May 12, Copeman-Haynes will get the chance to showcase her own vocal chops as she performs her debut solo concert at North Delta’s Crossroads United Church.
“We’re going to do some pop, obviously, some R&B, a little bit of jazz and even some sort of musical theatre showy pieces. Sort of a little bit of everything I’ve ever loved and wanted to touch on,” she said. “I wanted there to be something for everyone too, because I know it’s a community event so I didn’t want to come and just be like ‘this is the only thing I want to sing.’”
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Copeman-Hyanes will be joined on stage by jazz pianist Miles Black, along with bassist Andre Lachance and Nino DiPasquale on drums. Black helped Copeman-Haynes record a demo last summer, and has become something of a mentor to the young singer, helping her learn a bit of musical theory as well as some of the ins and outs of the industry.
“He’s so professional and relaxed and just very straight forward and he obviously has great artistic ideas,” Copeman-Haynes said. “I just learned a lot from [recording that demo], and because he was a part of it, I’ve learned a lot from him.”
“[My approach to music] definitely is still evolving. I don’t think I’m anywhere near to being done growing — I never will be, obviously.”
Though Saturday night’s concert may be her first as a solo artist, it won’t be Copeman-Haynes’ first time in singing in front of an audience. She has performed with the British Columbia Girls Choir for the last four years, and has even done a song or two at her church’s open mic night. And two years ago, while a student at Sands Secondary, Copeman-Haynes played Maureen in the school’s production of Rent.
“I love musical theatre. Technically, I did a pantomime when I was like seven or something like that, but [Rent] was my first one that I really remember. I love it, I would definitely do it again.”
Until the opportunity presents itself, Copeman-Haynes plans to finish high school (she’s currently in Grade 12) while devoting as much time as she can to working on her music. She’s currently enrolled in the Delta School District’s online school, which gives her the flexibility she needs to focus on her budding musical career.
“Whenever I write a new song I sort of just spend an entire day … and I don’t do any school. I just work five hours straight on this song,” she said. “So I’m super excited next year to not have to think about, ‘oh, I should do an assignment,’ and I can just hole myself up in my room and write music. That’s going to be fun.”
In the meantime, Copeman-Haynes posts clips of her singing to her Instagram page (@juliacopehaymusic), and though she has toyed with the idea of pursuing music-focused post-secondary studies, that will have to wait while she spends the next year writing and recording songs for her eventual debut album.
“Obviously the biggest dream that anybody has is ‘I want to be a pop star,’ which would be awesome. But ideally I just want to make a living doing music. I just want it to be my career and I want to be able to support myself through it, because I know that that would always make me happy,” Copeman-Haynes said.
“It’s always been my dream, so I just want to be able to make that work in whatever way I can. Hopefully, eventually, doing my own original music.
“That’s my dream, I just want to live in the music.”
You can catch Julia Copeman-Haynes performing this Saturday, May 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Crossroads United Church (7655 Scott Rd.). Tickets cost $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and students, and can be reserved by calling 778-593-1043 or purchased at the door.