Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Six Months Pregnant, Canada's Jill Barber Prepares for Big Gigs Then a Hiatus

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Six Months Pregnant, Canada's Jill Barber Prepares for Big Gigs Then a Hiatus

Article excerpt

Pregnant Jill Barber faces big shows


TORONTO - Juno-nominated chanteuse Jill Barber has some of the biggest gigs of her career lined up this week -- and, as she quips, they feel big in more ways than one.

"Because I'm pregnant right now, so I'm literally feeling bigger," she laughed on the sunny patio of a Toronto cafe this week. "To perform onstage, I feel a little more vulnerable or something.

"But I think that could be good. I think vulnerability onstage generally isn't a bad thing."

Even if she wasn't more than six months pregnant with her first child, Barber might feel daunted by the week's festivities.

On Thursday, she'll take the stage at Montreal's Metropolis -- capacity 2,300 -- followed by a Friday night engagement at Toronto's lushly historic Winter Garden Theatre, with a Saturday gig next in Bragg Creek, Alta.

And then the classification-defying singer will take the first real break of her career, a five-month reprieve from the road that she's entering with some trepidation.

"It's totally wild to me," says Barber, who's married to author and CBC-Radio personality Grant Lawrence. "To actually take a break is kind of scary, I guess, but good. I know it's not that long. But the other thing in my career is as an independent musician, it's so much about momentum, and I've always felt that too.

"Momentum is the kind of intangible thing that keeps my career headed forward," she added. "So to put the brakes on that, even if it's just a short time, feels unusual to me."

And it does feel like Barber is headed into her hiatus with the wind at her back.

An anglophone with a Francophile streak, she released her first French-language disc in January, and she says it's led to a surprising amount of new interest in Quebec while also satisfying existing fans of her stylishly retro vocal jazz.

Of course, assigning just one genre to Barber never tells the whole story. Over her decade-plus career, she's flitted through musical styles just as she's hop-scotched across the country (she was raised in Port Credit, Ont., found her musical voice as a university student in Kingston, Ont., established herself in Halifax and then spent the past five years in Vancouver). …

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