Tiffany Ponce has been nursing the dream of a professional music career her whole life.
And to celebrate the release of her debut six-track EP titled Only the Beginning, the 31-year-old songstress will play two upcoming shows at Spin Restaurant & Martini Bar at 720 Corydon Ave. on April 27 and May 12.
Produced by local talent SoULBOi, the album is partly influenced by ‘80s and ‘90s R&B music, including Boyz ll Men, New Edition and Janet Jackson, Ponce said.
The Richmond West resident has always had an interest in music. She sang in high school musicals, choreographed hip hop routines for talent shows and learned to play piano and trumpet while attending Acadia Junior High School and Fort Richmond Collegiate.
But growing up in a traditional Filipino family, Ponce decided to follow the academic path of her two older siblings and enrolled in nursing at the University of Manitoba and took "a break from fine arts."
"Because of my traditional background, it was always understood in my family that after high school you would go to university to get a practical profession, as it was the natural thing," Ponce said.
Her sister is now a nurse in Chicago and her brother is a computer engineer for the United Nations in Germany.
While working as a nurse at Grace General Hospital, Ponce had a seminal moment when she realized "something was missing" from her life.
"One day I was just kind of sitting and crying and my mom said, ‘What’s wrong?’ I said ‘I don’t want to be a failure and I want to make you happy.’ She said ‘You’ve already made us happy. It’s time to make yourself happy’.’’
The moment inspired Ponce to begin pursuing her dream of a musical career — and she credits the support of her family as a key factor in her progress.
She went to the Canadian College of Performing Arts for a year, got back into musical theatre and started writing music in 2008.
"I’m just so happy, excited and blessed. I’m grateful for the support of my parents and don’t know if I’d have the strength and character to succeed without them," she said.
Ponce’s mom, Adel, is delighted her daughter is about to launch her debut recording.
"We’re so happy her dream is being fulfilled. She’s really worked hard at this," said Adel, who is also a nurse. "In my culture, education and hard work are very important."
Ponce’s April 27 show is sold out, but there are tickets available for May 12. For more information, visit www.tiffanyponce.com.