WANT TO GO?
An Arts Council of Kanawha Valley fundraiser
WHERE: Columbia Gas Auditorium, 1700 MacCorkle Ave. SE
WHEN: 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday
TICKETS: Individuals $25, couples $45 (at www.artskv.org or Taylor Books)
INFO:www.artskv.orgCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Nicci Canada came relatively late to the realization that in the spotlight was where she belonged.
"It didn't cross my mind until I was, like, 28," said Canada, who grew up on Charleston's West Side.
A friend planted the seed after hearing her sing.
"Nicci, I think you missed your calling. You should be singing," Canada recalled the friend saying. "And I thought, 'OK, I'll do it.'"
She is speaking by phone from Charlotte, N.C., where she now lives and plots the ongoing development of her career. The 37-year-old's first CD, "Twenty Twelve," came out in August. She'll showcase her jazzy, soulful voice this Saturday with the Bob Thompson Unit as part of Love Art, the inaugural fundraiser of the Arts Council of Kanawha Valley.
"I'm just excited to come home. I love West Virginia; I love my people. I'm a Mountaineer girl at heart -- always have been, always will be."
Hometown acquaintances not clued into her reinvention will know her as Shawna Nakia Reese, but Nicci is her longtime nickname while Canada is her husband's name she took when she married. She grew up singing in the Greater Emmanuel Apostolic Faith Church in Charleston where "my first solo was in the kiddie choir," she recalled.