Vertigo Series Spring Stage


About the artists


Iryn Tushabe is a Ugandan-Canadian writer and journalist. Her creative nonfiction has appeared in Briarpatch Magazine, Adda, Prairies North, The Walrus, and on CBC Saskatchewan. Her short fiction has been published in Grain Magazine, the Carter V. Cooper Short Fiction Anthology Series, and been included in the Journey Prize Stories (volumes 30 and 33.) In 2021, she was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing. A 2023 winner of the Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize, she’s currently finishing her debut novel. 

Ryan Hicks is an alt-pop, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer from Regina,Saskatchewan. He has over 20 years of experience in music performance, and holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Music Education. Throughout his career he has released three full length albums, and is set to release his fourth record, Experience, on March 24th,2023. Hicks has been featured on SiriusXM and CBC radio, and has charted on campus radio across Canada. He has toured extensively throughout Western Canada, and has showcased at notable festivals including Breakout West and Gateway Music Festival. 

Hicks adopted an early interest in music, which was heavily encouraged by his parents. He particularly recalls his dad’s vinyl collection far surpassing the demarcated shelves. As a teenager, Hicks learned to read music and played trombone with his school band. He borrowed his dad’s Beatles sheet music, and taught himself every song he could on guitar, bass, and drums. At the University of Regina he studied classical music, where he took voice lessons and learned composition. He sang tenor with the university’s chamber choir, winning the title of “Chamber Choir of the World” in 1997, and spent 17 years performing with a Celtic Pop group. 

Hicks’ forthcoming release, Experience, was recorded over a five day span with Jonathan Anderson at Protection Island in Vancouver, BC. Jonathan also engineered the record, and was the producer. Experience is a deeply personal and cinematic record that reflects the ups and downs of three years throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Hicks’ songwriting captures stark emotions that he exemplifies through visceral storytelling layered over spirited, twangy, melodies. He cites his primary influences as Fleet Foxes, Brian Wilson, and Paul McCartney. In speaking to the process, he elaborates, 

“During the pandemic, while I had time to write music, I did not write anything for over a year. As much as I wanted to, I just did not have it in me. I spent that time connecting with nature and myself. I felt I needed to seek counseling, and that changed me. Soon after, it was like a great river opening up of creativity. I began writing songs again – songs that ended up on this new album. 

The ten track record was written entirely by Hicks and features both himself and engineer. Jonathan Anderson as multi-instrumentalists, with features from BC based drummer Tristan Helgason and Regina vocalist Cynthia Peyson-Wahl. Hicks will be touring his new record throughout Western Canada in the summer of 2023, with dates in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, and Calgary. The album and video premiere of the self-titled single (Experience) will be held at Rebellion Brewery in Regina, Saskatchewan, on March 24th, 2023.