Rebel Luv was shown some affection by the readers across the Okanagan Valley.
The rock ’n’ roll duo of Mikie Spillett and Ken Repkow – who call Oliver home – were recently featured in Okanagan Life Magazine’s Best of 2018, winning the category of Best Local Musician/Music Group in the South Okanagan.
Contest winners were determined by online voting, and the support came completely naturally – neither musician promoted the contest to their friends, nor did they vote themselves.
So how did they win?
“Being present in the community,” is Ken’s answer. “We’ve been playing in West Kelowna to Osoyoos, and a few different places like Hundred Mile House. We’ve been playing constantly almost every weekend.”
No matter where they perform a show, there’s something for everyone on every set list.
“We’ve got over 300 tunes under our belt so we can cover all styles of music,” Ken said. “From AC/DC and Led Zeppelin all the way down to Buck Owens.”
“To Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson,” Mikie chimed in.
“And of course we throw in some originals as well,” Ken said.
As fans well know, Mikie’s background is in country singing. She could be any farmer’s daughter. And Ken, underneath his hair-metal hair, sharpened his musical chops during the Golden Age of Rock ’n’ Roll, from the 1960s to the 1980s.
“We now appreciate each other’s different styles,” Mikie said. “And we practice hard. Some fans asked if we could learn Kryptonite by Three Doors Down recently, so we did. And we enjoy it.”
When Ken first tried to get her to learn rock tunes, Mikie would say, “I can’t sing that, are you nuts?”
But then, “All of a sudden it was like, oh my God, I nailed it. I can sing that!”
While it was challenging for both of them to learn their partner’s favourite style of music, it spurred major artistic growth. And since Ken is so familiar with the full spectrum of sound, “You can just hum a song, he’ll find it and he’ll be playing it in no time,” Mikie says. “He’s passionate in his playing – he wants to get every note perfect.”
“Country stuff is like the stuff my mom used to play,” Ken joked. “What sets us apart – Mikie is a really good entertainer and performer. She’ll be in the crowd egging you on to come dance.”
Beyond her perky covers of classic tunes from the radio, Mikie’s brand of passion is easy to appreciate through an album they wrote together called Small Town Talk.
“It’s called Small Town Talk because people love to chat,” Mikie said. “In a big city you’ll hear the gossip about, but when you’re a small town, you know exactly who it’s about.”
The near future holds many more Rebel Luv in the Okanagan. Over the next few years, Rebel Luv hopes to record another two or three albums, as well as take their show on the road across B.C. and Alberta, possibly farther.
The next chance to party with the South Okanagan’s number one band is on Saturday, Jan. 19 at Murphy’s. And there’s no cover charge.