Their stories are not too dissimilar.
Both found their voices and musical ability at a young age in their hometown of Vernon.
Their community watched them grow up on local stages.
Both went off to kick-start their music careers: one going east to the Big Smoke, the other south to Music City.
And neither has ever forgotten where home lies — especially as Christmas time nears.
Singer-songwriter talents Jodi Pederson and Raquel Warchol are about to join up for a Christmas concert on Dec. 19.
It’ll be the first time the two young women have performed exclusively together.
“Ever since I met Jodi, I have wanted to play a show with her. I thoroughly enjoyed Jodi’s Christmas concerts in the past, so I asked her if she wanted to do one again this year with me. So here we are! I can’t wait to share the stage with such a talent,” said Warchol.
A Kalamalka Secondary School grad, Pederson, kicked off her career with a chance meeting with Toronto-based producer Jack Lenz when she was just 17.
In 2009, she released her first album, Seasons, which was produced by Asher Lenz (son of Jack.) The album did well and some of the songs were featured on radio and used on the TV series Crash and Burn and Men with Brooms as well as on the feature film, Waiting for Summer.
However, it was her 2010 holiday single, Christmas With You, produced by Vernon’s John Newton, that earned her the most success, hitting No. 33 on the Top 20 Hot AC (adult contemporary) charts.
Last year, Pederson embarked on her cross Canada Much Love tour with her accompanist and cousin Joel Pederson. The travel bug officially set in, and she made her way to Australia soon after to continue performing and writing music.
Now residing in Vancouver, Pederson is currently working on her second album and says she is happy to be home with her family and is looking forward to this year’s holiday concert with Warchol.
“Raquel and I first met years ago when we both performed at Polson Park. I couldn’t believe this tiny girl was just rockin’ out on stage — amazing talent,” said Pederson. “We began performing at the same events such as Canada Day in Vernon. She and I are just two girls in a sea of male musicians in this town, so we were bound to get together for some songwriting and performances.”
Also a talented guitarist, Warchol has been writing songs and performing since she was a child. At 12 years old, she took home the Best New Artist of the Year award at the Scorpion Music Awards (now known as the B.C. Interior Music Awards.)
She made her first trip down to Nashville when she was a young teen, and turned the heads of major players in the music industry, including the vice president of the world’s largest talent firm, the William Morris Agency, who labeled her a “professional songwriter.”
While studying at Vernon Secondary, she had the opportunity to travel back and forth to L.A. and Nashville to write with songwriters and artists that ranged from writers with No. 1 hits.
“Writing songs has always been an outlet for me,” said Warchol. “You have to be vulnerable to write a song. The more your lyrics and melodies reflect who you are as a person, the more likely someone else will be able to relate to it too.”
Along the way she has performed on the Great Wall of China, as well as opening for the likes of country star Aaron Pritchett and rock legends Foreigner. She has also been invited to perform twice at the Merritt Mountain Music Festival, and more recently gave a live performance at Kelowna’s Streaming Cafe, which was broadcast internationally online.
Aside from her numerous trips to Nashville and L.A., a contagious feel-good buzz transferred from stage to students this past September when Warchol opened for the band Hey Ocean at UBC Okanagan.
Now 19, she has recently recorded new material that she believes portrays her raw and organic simplicity of tasteful guitar riffs infused with vocals that capture the breathiness and soulful touch of her voice.
She is ready and ecstatic to perform her newly recorded tunes live and share them with local audiences.
Audiences can also expect a few Christmas duets when Pederson and Warchol stage An Old Fashioned Christmas at Powerhouse Theatre. The concert, sponsored by Kiss FM and Wentworth Music, takes the stage Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. Special guest Windmills will open.
Tickets are $20 at the Bean to Cup, Butcher Boys and Wentworth Music. Proceeds go to the Canadian Diabetes Association