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From politics to playtime

Tanya Lipscomb, singer, songwriter and musician, who won a songwriting competition at the Calgary folk fest last month, says she got to where she is by following her dreams.

After realizing she was spending much of her free time at the kids’ stage at the Calgary folk fest, Lipscomb decided to start writing songs that appeal to children.

“I thought, ‘I can create music that parents will like and messages kids can relate to’,” she said. “Why not harness my knowledge and set it up for kids?”

She decided to take it a step further and create a funky, eco-friendly character to perform the songs, and Kiki the Eco Elf was born.

“I talk about needs and wants,” she said, offering an example of what Kiki sings about. “You don’t need that toy, you want it. What we need is clean air and a place to live.” 

Lipscomb’s newest venture sports a colourful outfit and uses props and a bit of clowning around to reach out to children.

The Ottawa valley native always knew she wouldn’t be satisfied working at an unfulfilling job to save money for retirement.

This became especially clear when a few years back she was unhappily working three jobs to stay afloat.

“I’d rather be poor and happy than rich and have no time to do anything I love,” she said. “Wealth and success are in the eye of the beholder.”

Now after being in Jasper nearly a decade she’s rounded up as many projects as the genres her music falls into, which she says include folk, rock, blues, jazz, reggae and a little bit of country.

Besides composing and performing, she’s working on recording her first professional album, she’s teaching music to kids, writing and illustrating a children’s book in French, and organizing two fundraising shows for the summer.

Lipscomb says her own children, Aurora, 6, and Cadence, 2, not to mention a third due in October, offer inspiration.

“I love kids, they’re so rewarding, such blessings,” she said. “And we need to be perpetuating a more conscious awareness for them to sink their teeth into.”

This year Lipscomb won best performance award for the category of best song of Alberta. In the past, she won a best vocabularly award – she said the judges had never heard the word “vicissitude” used in a song before.

Her first appearance as Kiki will be June 9 for the children at Ecole Desrochers. Grown-ups can catch the mature, politically-charged version of Lipscomb’s act on June 12 at a fundraiser at the Atha-B night club.

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