In Conversation with Bif Naked

Do
you remember what you were up to in the summer of 1999? Bif Naked will never
forget — because that was the year Canada’s queen of punk joined the sisterhood
of the travelling festival known as Lilith Fair.

“Being
included in Lilith Fair made for such a fantastic summer for me,” recalls
the 47-year-old singer-songwriter, actress author and speaker. “I was in
between so many tours where I was the only female.”

Not
this time. In addition to festival organizer, headline performer and fellow
Canadian Sarah McLachlan, Naked was part of the 3rd annual tour with
a group that included Sheryl Crow, Dixie Chicks, Indigo Girls, Queen Latifah,
Martina McBride, Natalie Merchant, Liz Phair, The Pretenders and Suzanne Vega —
to name just a few of the 100-plus artists who took part in the Fair’s third
and final tour, which ran from mid-June to the end of August.

“There
were so many iconic women on the Lilith Fair tours,” says Bif. “I
felt grateful and humbled every single day to be around them, doing the group
press conferences each morning and the grand finales on the big stage every
night, besides our own shows.”

But
the shows were only part of the experience for her.

“For
me, Lilith Fair seemed like a movement, not just a tour. It was about equality
and all-female talent, and I had never been on a tour like that before. It
wasn’t a competition, instead it was a community. It was awesome! Great
memories! “

That
says plenty, coming from someone who has lived a life as memorable as hers.
Since introducing herself the world at large with her self-tifled 1996 debut
album, the Indian-born, Manitoba-raised Naked has been an unstoppable force at
whatever she turns her hand to, single-handedly transcending obstacles placed
in her path to become one of the world’s most unique, recognized and beloved
icons.

She’s
released nine albums, including the platinum I Bificus (1998), the gold
followup Purge (2001), and her post-millennium offerings Superbeautifulmonster
(2005) and The Promise (2009). She’s topped charts with singles and videos like
Spaceman, I Love Myself Today, Lucky, Moment of Weakness and her most recent
outing Hot Box Girls. She’s acted in films like Archangel and The Boys Club,
along with TV series like Once a Thief, Cold Squad and The L Word. And of
course, she is the author of the best-selling memoir about life, love, loss and
triumph, I, Bificus.

It hasn’t been a cakewalk. Along the way, she’s survived breast cancer, kidney failure, heart surgery and divorce. But her creative personality and unstoppable humour have been her weapons of self-defence. She’s a tireless advocate and humanitarian and a dedicated vegan who splits her time between Paris, New Delhi, and her home in Toronto, channelling her captivating creativity beyond her signature sounds into writing, painting, choreography, and other genres of music.

Bif
Naked embodies the phrase “lived to tell the tale” and makes for a fascinating
interview.

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