Millions of Canadians are isolating right now – including musicians and singer-songwriters. But that hasn’t stopped them from performing.
Alex Zaichkowski, who performs under the artist name Havelin, plays his first online live show of the year on Friday, Jan. 29.
Performed here at his home in St. Albert, he will use the time as an opportunity to promote his sophomore album, a new self-titled, six-track CD.
“It was time to step out and introduce myself. It has been a long time since I released an album,” Havelin said. His debut “Alright, Alright, Okay” was released in 2016.
While the singer-songwriter's debut CD was steeped in folk-pop flavours, Havelin’s second CD exhibits a more mature pop sound.
“Each of my songs are a vignette. They capture a moment, a feeling, kind of like an emotional Polaroid,” said Havelin.
The concept for the CD was fairly straightforward: follow the arc of a relationship.
“My first song is “Gentle,” the promise to be there and take care of your partner. As the songs progress, the album becomes sadder, more melancholy, and I work through to heartbreak. The last song is called “Three Drinks.”
The album was recorded in Toronto in part at Noble Street Recording prior the pandemic and at a home studio during the initial 2020 spring lockdown with producers Dave Mohacsi, Dajaun Martineau and Gavin Brown.
“We really strove to create an evolution of songs that sound logical. We went with a pop groove. I wanted to try something new. I’d spent two years writing songs and I’m happy with the result.”
The Paul Kane High student first leaped to national fame after stepping up as finalist on Season 6 of "The Next Star" in 2013. Throughout the series competition judges whittled down the talent pool of teenagers 15 years and younger until only six remained. The top six participated in a showdown to find the next star.
The reality competition provided Zaichkowski, 17, a springboard to a lead acting role in "Lost & Found Music Studios," a teen series that debuted on Family Channel in 2016.
Now splitting time between St. Albert and Toronto, Zaichkowski opted to remain down east, in part to kickstart a music career under the name Havelin.
An American tour prior to COVID-19 left him in debt and then the pandemic shut down every venue where musicians made a living.
“It’s been tough, but at the end of the day, it’s been tough for most artists,” he stated with a note of resignation in his voice.
However, the pandemic has provided a creative breathing space to many singer-songwriters unable to perform or record right now, but still need to exercise their craft.
Zaichkowski, who has a one-year post graduate diploma in screen writing from George Brown College, dubs himself “Swiss Army creative.”
“I’ll try anything once. I’ve just written a book about a group of friends who go on a road trip as send-off for a terminally ill friend.”
The show starts Friday at 6 p.m. Tickets are $6 and are available at https://sidedooraccess.com/shows/QuwzZs68uE09lYPDj3w7.