Heather Rankin hits Civic Centre

HALIFAX: From lip-syncing underwater alongside a crew of mermaids to celebrating Canada with a tiny caribou, Heather Rankin has done it all over the past few months.

However, as the Mabou native prepares for her June 3 appearance at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre’s Bear Head Conference Room, she’s still adjusting to life as a solo performer, despite a JUNO Award nomination and two East Coast Music Award (ECMA) nods for her debut solo album A Fine Line.

Speaking to The Reporter Thursday afternoon in Halifax, the long-time member of The Rankin Family confirmed that her forthcoming Civic Centre appearance will mark her first full-length solo performance, as opposed to the shorter sets she has delivered at other venues in recent years.

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“I can’t think of a better place to launch that full-length show than at home, in Cape Breton,” Rankin declared.

“It’s on the top of my list to please and make proud the people who know me the best and know who I really am and know my background and my family. There’s always a little bit of nerves there, but it’s exciting at the same time to catch up with people and let them know how my music is growing and changing as a solo artist.”

Overcoming fear and meeting new challenges are common themes for Rankin in 2017, as the self-declared non-swimmer accepted a challenge from award-winning filmmaker Thom Fitzgerald, the director of her upcoming “Titanically” music video, to participate in an underwater video shoot at a Halifax pool.

“My butt kept floating to the surface,” Rankin grimaced.

“We figured out partway through that we needed to put weights around my waist, which added another level of fear to the whole experience.”

However, Rankin pushed on with the assistance of the video’s aquatic co-stars, including three fish-tailed members of the Halifax Mermaids modeling company.

“They were wonderful and so sweet and so helpful,” Rankin recalled.

“They would take me, one on either side, and pull me down as far as I could go, and I would float up to the top and try to mouth the words [to ‘Titanically’]. It was exhilarating, but it was terrifying at the same time.”

Back on dry land, Rankin recently attended her first JUNO Awards as a solo nominee, with A Fine Line up for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year. She’ll hit Saint John this weekend for the ECMA ceremony, with A Fine Line nominated for Folk Recording of the Year and the album’s most recent single, “We Walk As One,” nominated for Fan’s Choice Video of the Year.

In the meantime, Rankin is enjoying her role as an official Canada 150 Ambassador, with her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages full of patriotic photos and posts from Rankin and her toy sidekick, “Mabou Caribou.”

“It’s quite an honour – I don’t know what I ever did to deserve this, but it’s such a privilege to be considered as someone who has had a positive effect in the country,” Rankin gushed.

For more information, visit the Web site: heatherrankin.ca, as well as Rankin’s social media accounts.

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Adam Cooke has been a staff writer and columnist for The Reporter since 1999. A native of L’Ardoise, Adam lives in Port Hawkesbury with his wife Cathy.