Oliver’s first dose of Music in the Park for 2016 will be delivered by country prodigy Beamer Wigley.
Despite only being 13 years old, the young Pentictonite has spent nearly half his life as a performing musician.
While playing on the bandshell stage here in Oliver, his youth will be in contrast to a much more experienced musician – guitarist Dustin McGifford, who’s a teacher at Wentworth Music in Penticton. Wigley and McGifford were first introduced through musical theatre, when they both performed in the Soundstage Production Les Misérables.
“We really clicked and got along,” Wigley said. “I discovered he was a guitar player, and then when I asked to play the South Okanagan Events Centre for the opening ceremony of the BC Winter Games, I needed him to help me find a band.”
Wigley said the two share a similar musical vision, and continue to work together on more projects, though they haven’t written any original songs together.
The majority of Wigley’s songwriting is a solo effort, and he’ll be dropping his first full-length album at the end of the summer, which will be called Meteorite.
Similar to the set lists he plays off of during live shows, Wigley extensively builds different types of styles and sounds into his songwriting.
“Meteorite was inspired by a lot of different artists and music,” he said. “Oldies; blues; pop; classic country – I like to have a wide spectrum with what I do, and I think this album really brought it to the table.”
While many songwriters tend to draw from personal experience, Wigley said he often comes up with songs by imagining himself living in another world.
“I kind of make up a scenario in my head,” he said. “Usually something realistic, and then I walk through it in my mind.”
In making sure his songs are properly polished, Wigley lets his fan base do some fine-tuning, whose feedback serves as his most valuable criticism.
“They let me know what they like and what they don’t like, and I like to make them happy” he said. “But I became a musician to cater to my kind of style and songs, so it’s really about finding that balance.”
At this point in his career, his focus is primarily centred around improving his guitar chops, advancing his writing abilities, and becoming more comfortable on stage while sharing the space with a band.
After headlining the launch to Oliver’s 2016 Music in the Park season, Wigley has a busy summer booked up. He’s been chosen as the entertainment for Penticton’s celebration of BC Day; he’ll be playing alongside Jordan MacIntosh at Peachfest; and he’s been called upon to open for Aaron Prittchett at the Mule on July 22. Wigley will also be seen performing live theatre in Kelowna, where he’ll be starring in Grease, which is scheduled for July 27, 28 and August 7, 21.
Taking a look ahead five years – around the time Wigley will be reaching adulthood – he hopes to still be going down the same road, but much further along of course.
“What I’m doing now but on a larger scale,” he said. “I want to stay in Canada and just keep writing more music.”
By Dan Walton