Staying power on the crowded pop music landscape — a milieu that sees all too many artists fade as quickly as they ascend — is an attribute reserved for the ultra talented.
Since signing with Wax Records in the summer of 2013, Virginia to Vegas — the stage name of 29-year-old Derik Baker — has proven more than worthy of the attention shown him by label executive Jamie Appleby, who discovered the American-born and Guelph-raised singer-songwriter via YouTube.
The Virginia native has since rewarded Appleby’s intuition and confidence with two platinum singles and a 2018 Juno Award nomination for Breakthrough Artist of the Year. With a new EP released just this past June and another high-charting single, he arrives in Peterborough on Saturday, July 20th to headline Peterborough Musicfest.
Admission to the 8 p.m. concert is free, thanks to the support of sponsors.
“We Are Stars”, Virginia to Vegas’ first single release, entered the Canadian Singles Top 100 chart at #94 and rose to the #14 spot. The track, which features Canadian singer-songwriter Alyssa Reid, has since been certified platinum by Music Canada.
“The songwriting process was really cool,” notes Baker in a June 2014 interview with The Extra Mile.
“Alyssa and I are on the same record label (Wax Records) so for us to write together is almost a daily process. That process came together very quickly … the song literally came together in about five or ten minutes.”
VIDEO: “We Are Stars” – Virginia To Vegas ft Alyssa Reid
VIDEO: “Lights Out” – Virginia To Vegas
Come November 2014 when Virginia to Vegas’ released his debut EP Vol. 1, the inclusion of “We Are Stars” was a no-brainer but it was another track, “Lights Out”, that garnered equal or greater attention. Garnering extensive radio airplay, the single was also certified platinum.
Featuring those two tracks, plus the additional singles “Don’t Fight The Music” and “Our Story”, Virginia to Vegas’ debut full-length album Utopian was released in December 2016.
A second EP, Hartland St., has since followed along with the release of four singles — “Selfish”, “Emotions”, “Yesterday”, and “Just Friends”.
As beneficial as Appleby’s discovery of his talent has proven, Baker makes it clear in a May 2014 interview with UMusicians who the real drivers of his passion have been.
“I was very lucky to have very supportive parents who recognized my passion in music and have always told me to go for it … to never give up on my dream,” he shares, adding making music has always been Plan A.
“I remember being back in school, or working a day job, where the only thing I was thinking about was being able to do music. So the fact that now it’s coming to a point where I can do music as a living and to be able to write songs, it seems like the right thing.”
VIDEO: “Selfish” – Virginia To Vegas
VIDEO: “Yesterday” – Virginia To Vegas
Similar to his collaboration with Reid on “We Are Stars”, 2018 saw Baker work with America singer-songwriter blackbear and Canadian electronic dance music duo Dvbbs, co-writing the single “IDWK” that, to date, has amassed more than 45 million streams worldwide.
Peterborough Musicfest is presenting 16 free-admission, sponsor-supported concerts featuring a total of 21 acts during its 33rd season — each concert staged on Wednesday and Saturday nights at Del Crary Park.
Overseen by general manager Tracey Randall and staff, a board of directors, and numerous volunteers, Peterborough Musicfest’s stated mission is to “provide diverse, affordable live music to enrich cultural and economic prosperity in our community.”
For more information on this concert or the entire 2019 season, visit www.ptbomusicfest.ca or phone the Peterborough Musicfest office at 705-755-1111.