Horsefly artist Hana Eastmond delighted crowds with her original songs and country tunes as she performed on the Rogers Hometown Hockey main stage this weekend.
The bubbly, red haired singer-songwriter has big dreams for the future: she’s set to release her first single, “Gunnin’” on iTunes and Spotify in the coming weeks.
While she was born in Langley, Eastmond moved to Horsefly with her family when she was two. The 28-year-old is still there, with her husband Tyler, and doesn’t have plans of moving away any time soon.
“I really enjoy being in the outdoors, hunting, hiking, fishing. Anything that keeps me in remote places,” she says. “I really like the small town thing.”
For a country singer, Eastmond had an unlikely beginning as a vocalist.
As a four or five year old she was discovered, one might say, at a Christmas concert in Horsefly.
Grace Dunford, a well known music teacher who has since passed away, listed to Eastmond sing and decided she wanted to take her on as a student.
From there, Eastmond grew up singing opera and classical music, performing in the Cariboo Arts Festival and Honours Concerts on a regular basis. She even did a year of university in Calgary for classical music.
The experience, however, made Eastmond realize what she didn’t want to do, and that was classical music.
“I wasn’t really into the classical music thing, like it was fun, but after my year of university for classical music I decided that it wasn’t for me.”
Eastmond headed back to the country, and, when her dad, Arne Erikson, passed away in 2009, she started writing country music.
Eastmond says her father was a huge inspiration for her.
“I was born and raised on country music. My dad and I, when he was still around, we used to sing a lot and play a lot together,” she says.
“Me and my dad were super close because he was also very musical and very outdoorsy. That was tough when he passed.”
Erikson was a hunting guide and introduced Eastmond to hunting and the outdoors, something she continues to this day.
“I was born and raised hunting,” she says. “Before music, hunting would definitely be my first love and my first passion. In a perfect word, if the music career took off, hands down I would buy a guiding outfit. That would be the end goal.”
After her father died, Eastmond had to teach herself to play the guitar, and says she tries to incorporate her two passions in her music. It’s tricky, she says, because some people don’t understand hunting.
“It’s about being out in remote places where all of your decisions fall on you, your outcome falls on the decisions that you make and learning things all the time and just being out in nature. I love it and if I didn’t have that I would go crazy.”
Still, she says the connection comes from staying true to herself.
“I don’t like anything that is sort of fake and forced, which a lot of the music industry does seem to be. If I can keep it real for myself then I think other people will feel it too. As soon as you start putting on too big of a front then you are not being yourself and I think that you won’t have as much success that way.”
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As she’s gotten older, she says her style and songwriting has changed with her.
“I think as time goes on and you come into your own, your music develops with you because you see the world through a broader spectrum that is not just about you any more. You get a feel for people and places and situations. You perceive them in a different way than you would have earlier on.”
Eastmond has recorded some of her songs in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland and hopes to make it big with her music career, despite living in the small town.
“When music does take you to the bigger city which inevitable it will do, and I really thoroughly enjoy that part of it all, I just can’t wait to get back home and to simpler things.”
As her new single Gunnin’ begins: “40 miles down a gravel road, that’s where you’ll find my soul.”