Meet the 2024 Writers

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7:00 pm | Sunday, August 18

Jill Barber

Jill Barber is the winner of a 2024 Canadian Folk Music Award for best producer of the year and a three-time Juno Award nominated singer-songwriter. Her critically acclaimed repertoire spans a transformative spectrum from folk, to vocal jazz, to pop, and includes songs in both French and English. An unforgettable and enchanting performer, Jill has over 1.4 million monthly listeners on Spotify and has headlined iconic venues such as Toronto’s Massey Hall and Roy Thompson Hall, Ottawa’s National Arts Centre, Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre and Tokyo’s Blue Note and Cotton Club.

Barber’s 2023 album, Homemaker, is a return to her folk roots, delivering ten quietly profound songs about the complexities of motherhood, marriage, and the struggle to feel at home in one’s own identity. Whereas her most recent albums have been bathed in lush string arrangements, Homemaker sees emotions laid bare, with a stripped-down production style reminiscent of her acclaimed debut Oh Heart and double Juno Award nominated follow-up For All Time.

It was over the past few years that Jill began to feel an increasing disparity between her public image as “Canada’s Sweetheart” and the reality of her domestic life as an exhausted wife and mother. “One day I was headlining Massey Hall, and the next day I’m sweeping a messy hall” she quips.

“I was afraid to break the spell of the more romantic version of myself that I put out there in the world and which helped define my career, but I eventually reached a breaking point where I needed to write this album in order to reconcile these two versions of myself, and feel okay about all aspects of who I am.”

These songs tell the story of what happens to the young romantic when she reaches “middle age,” with Jill recasting “The Homemaker” as the hero of her own story, reclaiming its power for herself and others.

Written and recorded in her adopted hometown of Vancouver where she lives with her husband and two children, Homemaker is the first record that sees Jill in the role of a producer, co-producing with Erik Neilsen, and featuring some of Vancouver’s top session players. “These songs are so damn personal, and such a deep reflection of my soul, that I felt an almost maternal instinct to both protect them—and produce them for myself. I really feel like I stepped into my own power as a producer on this record, with a lot of generous assistance from engineer/producer Erik, who really championed my abilities in the studio.”

Homemaker is a statement about the humility and strength that it takes to do the meaningful work of creating a home for others, while still holding space for your own dreams.

Jill Barber