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  • Annette Dawm

Authenticity and Activism: The Life of Jasper Bakker

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

Earlier this year, Jasper Bakker made an appearance on CTV’s newest talent competition, The Launch. Although her recording of “Giants” was not chosen to be launched, Jasper is set to do big things within the music industry while also working to support members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“I am currently studying to get my Honours Bachelor Degree in Community and Mental Health work so my course load is no joke,” Jasper explained. Being a part of The Launch “definitely” caused the 19 year old to get a little behind academically. However, Jasper was able to work things out with the school staff in order to complete each semester successfully. “School is so important to what I am trying to do with my career in terms of activism and working with the LGBTQ+ community so I definitely did not make failure an option with school this year but it is a constant battle and learning process.” Grace continued.

Over the next few months, Jasper plans to release a six song acoustic EP, perform live shows and to take on another adventure as a public speaker: “I took most of 2017 to work on my writing skills and getting my personal sound together so I am so excited to get back out into the performing side of things and to be able to meet more of the awesome people who have joined the family after The Launch."

"I am also super pumped to start speaking. I have a couple events set up between now and May where I am able to speak on the importance of authenticity and using music to send a message. I also do talks about my experience as a queer individual navigating the music industry…. My long-term goals are to be able to have a stable living doing what I love just as it is for most artists; but I definitely hope that I am able to do both my music and speaking together and do it well. I have a drive to be a reliable and genuine face that is properly able to represent the LGBTQ+ community as well as touch other musicians and people in general through talks and the music I write.”

Bakker wants people to know that when it comes to their music, “what they hear and see is what they get. I put my heart and soul into the music I release so I would want any listeners to know I am genuine and won't write it unless I have lived it.” This approach made it easier to move forward after filming The Launch:

“It was truly an amazing opportunity to network and meet new people. The mentors and staff, as well as the artists, are all insanely talented and I made some amazing connections-- so no complaints here…. I enjoyed singing the song, [“Giants”] but I am a songwriter at heart and take pride in writing my own story into music. So, I did not mind the other artist recording the song written for the show. I really hope to keep my authenticity by recording and releasing my own music. Also, I totally loved the opportunity to sing on the live stage with a live studio audience, how cool!”

Another highlight for Jasper was being mentored by the one and only Boy George! Recalling their time together, Bakker said, “…I absolutely LOVED him. He was insanely honest and talented and his humour had me laughing whenever he was around. He was so sweet and totally understood me which I will always be thankful for. You definitely have to have a sense of humour with him but if you can understand him, he is one of the most inspiring people around.”

The show also came with its own set of challenges for Jasper, especially keeping the results a secret! “This was SO hard!” They admitted. “Only my parents and best friend knew so it was definitely something that was on my mind right up until it aired, but it was so exciting to be able to surprise all my friends and family with the release of the artists online and on television.”

Additionally, Bakker found the entire process of learning the song, recording it and performing it all within 48 hours to be incredibly difficult. In spite of this, there was a positive outcome in terms of their personal growth as an artist. “I think I went into the filming of the show knowing pretty well who I was-- but I definitely left filming with a much better idea of what I am truly capable of. It was one of the most stressful and overwhelming experiences I have ever been a part of and I was pleasantly surprised with how well I was able to cope and perform under that kind of pressure."

People have a lot to learn from Jasper Bakker who will undoubtedly continue to use their voice as a tool to advocate for others who may not be able to speak for themselves, alongside their work in the music industry. Grace offered the following advice to those wishing to explore a similar career path: “Be ready for a wild ride. Be strong. Have faith in yourself. This industry is tough and people will try to shove you down.... I encourage anyone who feels the need within them to do this, to try their hardest and not change for anyone. I have had people try to mold me into something I am not so many times but I have always stuck to who my authentic self is and I encourage everyone else to do the same.”

Update: Jasper is currently in the process of transitioning and legally changing their name, which means their social media handles will soon change. For now, you can find updates on Jasper's Instagram page here.

Photo Courtesy of Jasper Bakker.

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