Some people prefer to march to their own tune—or in this case, sing to it.
“I stopped taking piano lessons when I was 14 because I wanted to do my own thing,” says Aza Deschamps.
In elementary school, Deschamps played a block of cheese in a school play and while singing a song called The Cheese Stands Alone, someone nudged her mother and asked who was teaching her daughter to sing.
“I was like, ‘I’ve never heard her sing like that before,’” remembered Sarah Mickel with a laugh.
So Deschamps started half-hour weekly vocal lessons.
Then in the sixth grade, her “boyfriend” of a month dumped her in the playground.
She ran home upset, and wrote a song about it called Because of You.
Hearing the song, Mickel booked her daughter a session with Bluelight Studios in Vancouver.
“It was her birthday gift, to get a song recorded,” says Mickel.
For an 11-year-old, that was a pretty exciting gift.
The studio was impressed and it was the beginning of Deschamps’ music career.
Five years later, her career has grown.
She’s about to release an album, has two music videos and was selected as one of the top 100 in CBC’s 2019 CBC Searchlight competition with her song Strangers.
Deschamps isn’t a conventional teenager.
While some of her Grade 11 peers are looking to the future, shooting for good grades and looking at post-secondary options, Deschamps is focused on the present.
“Sure, I’m worried about school and grades. Maybe one day I’ll have to rely on a formal education,” says Deschamps.
“But when it comes to my music career, I’m working on my future now. I’m not worrying myself to prepare for my future later. I’m doing it now.”
For years, Mickel has driven her daughter to the studio in Vancouver—sometimes several times a month. As a photographer, Mickel works for herself and has a flexible schedule.
“Thank goodness,” says Deschamps. “Because with Greyhound shut down, I’d be walking to Vancouver otherwise.”
At that, mother and daughter share a giggle.
When Grade 12 ends and Deschamps follows her aspirations, Mickel says she’s excited to see what her daughter does and where she’ll go in life.
“I don’t see myself anywhere where I’m stationary,” says Deschamps. “I want to keep traveling. I want to explore.”
While she isn’t sure what the future will bring, music will always be a part of it, she says. It’s in her blood.
“She will always be a musician. My dream for her is to make money doing something she loves, and having a great time doing it,” says Mickel.
Regardless, Mickel will miss her. “She’s my buddy. We have fun.”
No matter where Deschamps goes, her mom says she better have a spare room as she plans to visit—lots.