12 December update: Meaghan Smith has cancelled her upcoming holiday shows due to illness. Refunds for the shows will be made at the point of purchase.
It has been more than six years since award-winning Halifax-based singer-songwriter, musician, and visual artist Meaghan Smith last performed. But that is about to change as she takes to The Stage at St Andrew’s for two shows in support of Feed Nova Scotia this December.
When I think about quintessential Christmas stuff, it all feels a little vintagey … and I want to trigger those memories in other people as well. – Meaghan Smith
Pregnant with her second son at the time of her 2016 show with Symphony Nova Scotia, Smith played to a sold-out crowd before taking time off to be with her family. “It was magical,” she says.
But while she may have stopped touring and performing at that time, Smith focused her energy on being a mom and songwriting.
“Since then, my ‘HusBand’ Jason Mingo and I have been writing full-time for publishers and custom songs for people,” she says.
Of course, the pandemic would also play a part in Smith’s absence from the stage when she cancelled plans for a show just before COVID restrictions hit.
“We didn’t end up pulling the trigger that year, but the idea never really left, and I thought I would love to do something to support Feed Nova Scotia,” she says. “I have a longstanding relationship with them, and it all worked out this year.”
Smith’s connection to the charity that collects and distributes food for those experiencing food insecurity across the province began in 2007.
“Fifteen years ago, I made a really special album, New Kind of Light, with Jill Barber and Rose Cousins,” says Smith. “It was the first fundraiser we did for Feed Nova Scotia, and it was a very successful album that raised a lot of money.”
The legacy of the album of holiday music has persisted, with fans still looking for the recording years later, with all proceeds continuing to go to Feed Nova Scotia.
“It’s a project I’m really, really proud of, and I thought since I’m getting up on stage now, I’m going to make it something that can be helpful and beneficial to the community,” says Smith, who will perform a couple of songs from that album for her upcoming shows.
“I’m also doing a bunch of originals, some covers and a few classics that people can sing along to,” she says. “It’s going to be a fantastic time.”
Smith will also showcase some of the tunes she and Mingo have worked on since she stepped away from touring.
“I have a couple of songs that I’m going to throw in that are not Christmasy, so people can hear what I’ve been up to lately, but for the most part, we’re going full-on holiday,” she says.
Besides getting back up on stage, the holidays for Smith also mean creating new memories with her family.
“When I think about Christmas, I think about those traditions I have with my parents and sisters growing up, and then I also think about the fun things I’m doing with my kids right now,” she says. “Christmas was magical and mystical to me as a child and now that I’m the grownup, I’m the magician making all these things happen. So it’s a different experience, and a lot more work, but I love it just as much.”
With a retro feel in the imagery to promote her upcoming concerts, Smith sees it as a way to create something special for her audience.
“When I think about quintessential Christmas stuff, it all feels a little vintagey because I’ve already been there, I’ve already sung this, and I want to trigger those memories in other people as well,” she says.
As for what’s next for Smith after her holiday shows, she is taking a wait-and-see attitude. “We’ll have to see how this goes,” she says with a laugh.
Meaghan Smith performs The Holiday Show at The Stage at St. Andrew’s (6036 Coburg Rd, Halifax) on December 16 and 17. Visit eventbrite.ca for tickets and information.