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This article was published 28/11/2019 (735 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
When Regina-bred R&B-pop singer Ami Cheon first visited Winnipeg, she never thought she’d call the city home just a few years later, but a three-month stint in town over the summer of 2016 cemented her desire to return more permanently.
"I had never spent much time in Winnipeg, but those three months, I was blown away by the music and arts scene... just really blown away that level of talent was happening here and how many people are coming out to shows," Cheon, 25, says.
Concert previewClick to Expand
- Thursday, Nov. 28, 8 p.m.
- West End Cultural Centre
- Tickets: $15 in advance at the WECC and online at Eventbrite.ca
Cheon moved to Winnipeg two years ago after completing her education at Selkirk College of Music in Nelson, B.C., which bases its curriculum on that of the world-renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston. A self-taught musician, Cheon, who was living in Toronto at the time, felt she wanted to improve her technical training, so she headed west to study.
"When I was in Toronto, I realized that I wanted to go to a music school and that I really wanted to get an education in what I was trying to do. I wanted to take it seriously, but I was missing a vocabulary and a language; I had really good ears but didn’t have the necessary training to build on those skills in a certain way," she says.
"It was fun to get into music theory. I’m pretty mathematical, so I picked up on that pretty fast and leaving there, it was nice to finally have the language and the tools to be able to communicate with other musicians who aren’t self-taught, who don’t just go by feel. If you’re self-taught and can also learn that language, you can move up so much faster and get better so much quicker because you know what is lacking."
In her short time here, Cheon has swiftly made a name for herself in Winnipeg’s music scene thanks to her smooth, soulful and stunning voice.
She released her debut single, Growing Up, earlier this month and will take the stage at the West End Cultural Centre on Thursday, Nov. 28 for her first headlining show in Winnipeg.
But the night won’t just be about her. A few months ago, Cheon attended The Function, a hip-hop dance event in the city, and immediately knew she wanted to find a way to incorporate that type of dance element into her show. She reached out to choreographers Mackenzie Frias and Miggy Maramag, who jumped on board and will bring a crew of dancers to perform alongside Cheon during some of her songs.
"The Function is the most hype event I’ve ever been to in my life. I can’t even explain the energy, it’s just electric," Cheon says.
"I was like, ‘Holy shit, no one who is going to music shows is at this show.’ I find with places like the Good Will and Times Change(d), there’s a lot of the same people at every show, so for this one, I wanted to connect to a different audience, as well, and open that up, and I wanted to have a collaborative show with dance and live music."
Cheon says an EP is in the works, but in the more immediate future, a new single, Good Good (co-written by city singer/songwriter/guitarist Ariel Posen), will be dropped at midnight Thursday, Nov. 28, the night of her WECC concert.
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Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.