Meet frequent face at Folk Fest Taylor Vidic

Here’s a name frequently seen in connection with music events around town, from the Juneau Cabaret to The Orpheus Project’s recent “Westside Story”: Taylor Vidic.

“Juneau has a lot to offer if you want to use it. I’m just thankful to have these opportunities,” Vidic said on Wednesday during a brief interlude in her schedule.

This April she’ll be all over Juneau’s music scene, especially at the Alaska Folk Festival. She’ll perform alongside Tracy Ricker on Monday, will sing backup for Costa’s House of Perpetual Devotion on Wednesday, and will lead a group of eight women called Queens to sing acapella around one mic on Thursday.

Outside of the festival, she’ll sing with close friend Cameron Brockett as The Quaintrelles for a Tiny Post Office Concert at the Kindred Post on Wednesday, and the group will play again at Louie’s Douglas Inn after the Queens performance on Thursday (Vidic has a musical residency for the month at Louie’s); and finally, both the Queens and The Quaintrelles will play at the Hangar Ballroom on Friday.

“I’ve been gaining all these new skills, putting on shows in Skagway, playing guitar more, just getting a lot more confidence so I’ve been able to take those skills and implement them in Juneau,” Vidic said about Juneau’s supportive environment.

Vidic keeps herself busy working a seasonal job in Skagway in the summer, performing when she can, attending the University of Alaska Southeast and traveling.

“I am very conscious of the adults, especially, who have aided in my musical journey. So it is nice to be back for a little while to show them how it’s manifested itself,” she said.

She’s excited to play with Tracy Ricker, who hasn’t performed at Folk Fest for more than 20 years. Ricker was a family friend who left Juneau for a period of 10 years before returning, Vidic recalled. As they reconnected and Vidic learned of Ricker’s past in music, she knew they should play together. They’ll be singing pieces that Ricker used to perform, like Elton John’s “Friends” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.”

For Folk Fest two years ago, Vidic put together a group similar to the Queens. It was called the Ladies. Vidic handpicked each member for both groups after hearing all the women sing in other performances; she was just looking for other women she wanted to sing with. The Queens’ set list is under wraps, but Vidic said they might perform choral music and perhaps something by Simon and Garfunkel.

Singing has been a steady love for Vidic. She grew up listening to what she calls “big diva voices,” like Barbara Streisand, Celine Dion and Aretha Franklin. When she was in second grade, she tried out for her school’s talent show, singing Five for Fighting’s “Superman.” She wore a shirt with a hood and kept it pulled up as she stared at her feet through the entire performance, she said. But she enjoyed singing and kept at it.

“In elementary school I was always kind of a leader,” Vidic said. “People called me bossy cause I was a girl and that’s what leader-like girls are called. I think it was another way for me to be a leader.”

In fifth grade, her choir teacher asked her to sing the National Anthem at the D.A.R.E. graduation, which had about 2,000 people, she estimated. After that, she just kept singing at local events and got involved with local music groups.

“My dad played my manager and I just kept singing. I think that’s how people in town have usually heard of me for the first time,” Vidic said.

She began piano lessons at 6 years old and in the past couple years, she’s picked up the guitar too.

“Just the ability to accompany yourself is huge, and it’s hard to carry around a piano,” she said.

It’s her goal to develop and practice her own sound before taking her music beyond home. She’s interested in doing house shows, and said she’s been known to bring a dozen lamps to an event to create ambiance.

“I think that’s one of the reasons why I like music so much,” Vidic explained. “You get to create an experience for people. People go to work all day and after work they want to feel like they’re really living and existing and I get to play a role in those events, in those moments, and that feels good.”

Taylor and Tracy will play on Monday, April 3 at 9:45 p.m., Queens at 8:45 p.m. on Thursday, April 6 (starring Vidic, Brockett, Rashah McChesney, Elizabeth Ekins, Kylynn Machir, Celia Montalto, Cate Ross and Alyssa Abrams) and again from 9:30-11 p.m. at Louie’s. The Quaintrelles’ Tiny Post Office Concert will be on Wednesday, April 5 at 7 p.m. at the Kindred Post and again on Friday, April 7 at 10 p.m. at the Hangar Ballroom followed by Queens.

Contact Capital City Weekly staff writer Clara Miller at clara.miller@capweek.com.

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