One of Vancouver’s punchiest indie singers.Fish Griwkowsky, Edmonton Sun
Beau Wheeler is a queer non-binary composer and singer based in Vancouver, Canada. Blessed with a set of pipes that would be the envy of Torch and Twang era KD Lang or a young Robert Plant, Beau is about to release two new albums of music that capture the breadth and diversity of their musical vision.
Theirs is a music that encompasses a wide spectrum of human experience. With songs that touch on love, loss and redemption, and an unflagging ability to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again, Beau, who recently came out to the world as trans, is one of Canada’s brightest lights and an artist to watch out for.
Their music pulls no punches as it shines a light on gender, surviving cancer, and the all too human experience of love in a way that turns the dark and sour stuff of life into something beautiful and hopeful. Beau’s songs remind us that ‘we’ve all been there’ and that no matter how low you are feeling that there’s hope. You’re not alone. Pain and joy form equal parts of life’s equation. The essential magic of Beau’s work lies in this unflinching ability to fearlessly open up and bring a room full of strangers together to share and heal from the vulnerabilities that we all feel.
Adrian Mack of ‘The Georgia Straight’ nailed it when he described Beau’s voice as ‘effortlessly big.’ A true force of nature, Beau’s singing tears down walls and dissolves barriers as they effortlessly channel all they’ve got into each syllable and phrase of every vocal performance. They can sweep from an incendiary roar to a barely audible whisper in the space of a breath. The thrill of immersing yourself in the work of an artist who has such a deep, natural sense of dynamic tension, counterpoint and emotional phrasing is difficult to communicate. Better to simply jump in and be taken on a journey through the unique sonic universe Beau creates in each of their songs.
Beau’s songs and life are inseparable. Experience and loss have forged an indomitably positive spirit that is most powerfully communicated in a live performance. If the essence of rock n roll is about taking the leap and risking everything to be yourself, Beau is certainly one of the most honest performers in popular music today. As a queer artist, they pull no punches as they risk everything in a ‘without a net’ high wire act of a live show that has few equals.
Beau’s musical roots go deep. As an artist whose grandfather played piano with Nat King Cole and Sammy Davis Jr., they are aware that a good song is a good song, regardless of style and tempo. This diverse musical heritage inspired their adventurous decision to record and release two vastly different albums at the same time. The first is an acoustic album that they recorded live off the floor with their band. Co-produced with Jesse Waldman in the roots music tradition of recording the singer and musicians playing together, it’s a deep and soulful record that should earn Beau a lot of new fans. The second release is a dark wave synth pop album produced by Jason Corbett of Actors. A true solo album, Beau performs all of the instrumentation and vocals to deliver an authentic and emotionally direct collection of songs that only an artist of the highest calibre could hope to conjure.
Over the years, Beau has performed at the Vancouver Juno Awards (2018), recorded and toured with several of their own bands as well as contributing vocals to ‘A Small Wonder’ by A.C. Newman of the New Pornographers, and has shared the stage with many ground breaking artists including Dan Mangan, Shane Koyczan and Tanya Tagaq. Beau’s music is the light at the end of the tunnel, a message of hope in dark times. Whether performing solo in a one room wooden church as part of ArtsWells or with their band ‘The Black Salt Sea’ in larger theatre settings, showcasing at Folk Alliance or live-streaming for the Philadelphia Folk Society, a vulnerable humanity exudes from everything Beau communicates. Bridges are crossed. Wounds are healed. Warm, immediate and illuminating, the light Beau creates is one you want to bask in.