Valery Gore is not a pseudonym. At 26, the Fort Erie native strives for creative purity and truth. But it wasn't always this way.
"Coming from where I was at when I went to school, I was classically trained and I didn't know anything about jazz," she says, calling from her home in Toronto. "Maybe there was a little bit of a bent in my personality. I had little confidence at first; I was just up against all of these heavy players. I was still trying to find my niche. I wasn't going to be a professional."
Her sophomore, self-produced album, Avalanche to Wandering Bear, was released this past year and won critics' hearts across the country, a surprise, even to Gore herself. She brings her unique jazz-infused pop songs to Halifax for the first time on July 17.
"I guess overall the one theme of the record was me overcoming confidence issues. I was kind of terrified about what I was going to do with my life and having this inner self-doubt," she says.
Instead of allowing fear to control her, Gore took to the metaphorical wilds. In the process of creating this record she mustered up her courage and harnessed her inner animal.
"I always thought of myself as one of those people who have a strong personality. Your friends always tell you that, but I felt so weak and so beaten down by myself. I thought there was a lot of that on the record. I do see myself as this strong animal, but also just a reminder that you are affected by chance, fate and nature."
Before she lands in Halifax, Gore is making an appearance at the Evolve Festival in Antigonish. "I'm looking forward to spending some time at the beach, camping and eating lobster."
Kenny Garrett Hold onto your horn for the legendary saxophonist. Friday, July 10, Festival Tent (Spring Garden and Queen), 8pm, $40-$45
Free shows at the Festival Tent Take advantage of daily free shows, including Zumbini Circus (July 11, 2pm), Verbal Warnin' (July 11, 4pm) and the Deep River Boys (July 12, 4pm).
Joe Louis Walker w/Garrett Mason Your personal misery will vanish when exposed to case of authentic blues. Saturday, July 11 at the Festival Tent, 8pm, $30-$35
Marinda + Solari w/Shauntay Grant Take that, Cadence Weapon: the spoken word and music series pairs up an acoustic musical duo with Halifax's new poet laureate. Sunday, July 12, Company House, 9pm, $10-$15
Alex Conde Carrasco w/Maria Osende Flamenco Company John, I'm only dancing.
Tuesday, July 14, Festival Tent, 8pm, $20-$25
Gypsophilia w/Krasnogorsk and the Moscow Country Club Dreamy gypsy-jazz from your neighbours and friends. Wednesday, July 15, The Seahorse Tavern, 10pm, $15-$20
The Bad Plus Pixies, Black Sabbath and Nirvana covers get squeezed through the jazz machine and come out sounding rad. Thursday, July 16, Delta Halifax Baronet Ballroom, 9pm, $25-$30
Shuffle Demons w/The Idlers That Spadina bus costs $2.75 now, but these groovy guys are still a great deal. Friday, July 17, Festival Tent, 8pm, $20-$25
Fred w/Prospector's Union, The Stance Those who were anticipating the Irish band at last year's Pop Explosion are granted a second wish. Maybe not trad jazz, but we like it. Saturday, July 18, The Seahorse Tavern, 10:30pm, $8