The 100 Mile Festival of the Arts has helped Baylee Shields kickstart her dream of becoming a music producer.
Shields got involved in the festival after her mother signed her up for singing lessons when she was five years old. Once she was old enough, she began performing and fell in love with it.
“We did musical theatre, so we did a couple of duets and classical singing,” Shields said. “When you get into music, you get to this point where you know the piece and put emotions to it, so when you’re performing it almost feels like you’re above yourself. It’s a high you ride on every time you’re performing in front of people.”
As time went on, Shields said she gained confidence in not only her singing but also in herself. She developed a tendency to push herself and keep on learning increasingly difficult songs. This feat was all the more challenging as Shields can’t hear properly out of one ear.
“It’s definitely very trial and error,” Shields said. “It’s been a really fun challenge because I’ve got to try a lot of different singing techniques I learned down in workshops at the provincials in Kamloops, Chilliwack and Victoria. They would actually teach me ways I could enhance my singing and I ended up using a lot of those techniques.”
Shields has been unable to perform as a result of the pandemic, which cancelled musical competitions across B.C., but hopes to one day compete on Vancouver Island where she is in her second year at the University of Victoria, working towards earning a Bachelor’s degree in music and computer science. She said the mix of music theory and software classes are preparing her for becoming a music producer.
She is especially happy to be attending school in person this year as her first year of study was completely online. Shields said that was a big challenge, especially when it came to music classes when they had to sing together over Zoom.
“I’m hoping to learn how to write and produce my own – as well other people’s – music as well as perform on top of that,” Shields said. “If that doesn’t happen, completely unrelated to music, I’d like to become a video game developer.”