Mikkal Waters breaks into Whistler music scene 

Pemberton musician makes debut winning originality award at Whistler Music Search

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - out loud Mikkal Waters has been playing gigs around town since winning the Dave Morris Award for Originality in Music at the Whistler Music Search in October.
  • PHOTO submitted
  • out loud Mikkal Waters has been playing gigs around town since winning the Dave Morris Award for Originality in Music at the Whistler Music Search in October.

Mikkal Waters might have moved from the Okanagan to Pemberton four years ago, but it wasn't until earlier this year that he first performed locally.

The reason? He didn't see an opportunity to play original songs.

"I have written originals for as long as I could write," Waters says. "I've held back from playing in Whistler for that reason."

Back in the Okanagan, Waters organized concerts in barns, town halls and rented spaces where he would bring in bands and fill the opening slots.

But he first started penning his own music back when he was "living on a beach and doing the travelling thing when I first got out of high school," he says. "I loosely (describe my music as) renegade-folk or indie-folk. It really branches from hillbilly to folk music to reggae. It's lyrically driven. There's either a story or something emotionally moving in it to make you laugh or make you cry."

Whistler crowds got a taste of that sound in October when Waters made his local debut as part of the Whistler Music Search.

"A friend was doing it and she was like, 'You should try.' I said, 'OK, but I'm only doing originals,'" he says.

(The music search actually requires contestants to play some original songs.)

In the end, he wound up winning the coveted Dave Morris Award for Originality in Music, which—as the name suggests—honours the musician who brings the most unique package to the annual contest.

"I'm super excited about it," Waters says. "It's getting me to play a lot more. It's causing me to practice a lot more and get back into my craft. I'm also settled into Pemberton now. When I moved here, there was a lot going on."

Since the contest wrapped up at the end of October, Waters has been slowly booking more gigs—back at The Crystal, at other venues and for private events. "I feel like because of the type of talent that is in the area, I've had to up my game before stepping out on stage," he adds. "Because there are a lot of covers, it's a high-calibre person playing in this town. I have a perfectionist side of me and I feel like, in this area, maybe it's a bit of the competitive nature of Whistler, I had to practice a bit more ... I have to admit I've had more fun learning and playing the covers then I thought I would."

While he's added covers to his set—from pop hits to '90s alt-rock and folk songs—Waters has a tactic to slip his own songs in there as well.

"No one's actually said anything; I've played my originals without mentioning they're originals. Then I throw in the odd cover, but I don't say which is a cover and which is an original. I have a lot of catchy original tunes, too," he says.

Next up, in the New Year he hopes to start recording some of those songs and release a full album. "I have a backlist of about 30 songs I want to record right now," he says. "I'm just starting to work on that."

To hear some of his music, or to keep track of upcoming gigs, visit Mikkal Waters Music on Facebook or soundcloud.com/mikkal-waters.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

Latest in Music

More by Alyssa Noel

© 1994-2019 Pique Publishing Inc., Glacier Community Media

- Website powered by Foundation