Sometimes life is about survival, and it takes all your effort just to put one foot in front of the other. But, thankfully, there are other times when life is a joy. Bif Naked has had her share of difficult years, and now she’s in the midst of a personal and professional period that she refers to as “the fun one”.
“I am enjoying myself now more, creatively, than I ever have,” the Vancouver rocker explains, interviewed by phone. “I’ve started to see everything as magical in its goodness.” She adds with a laugh: “I’m a chronic optimist. I’ve annoyed family and friends for years. I kind of float through life undaunted.”
To say that the singer has had a lot to deal with in the five years since she released her last full-length album, The Promise, is an understatement. She’s faced breast cancer, kidney failure, heart surgery, a divorce, the death of her dog of 17 years, the passing of her father, and, several weeks ago, the sudden death of bandmate Jacen JD Ekstrom.
Any one of those events might have caused the average person to ditch the bright outlook, but the singer born Beth Torbert is made of stronger stuff. The heavily tattooed 43-year-old says this raft of adversity helped her gain a new perspective—and ultimately become a more relaxed person. “I’m really grateful all the time,” she says.
So perhaps it won’t come as a surprise to hear that the “I Love Myself Today” singer has become a beacon for others who are suffering. She’s a motivational speaker. And she does volunteer work for cancer patients, noting she feels privileged to walk them through what’s often described as a transformational experience.
“I can’t believe that I get to live a life where I can, number one, witness this—and number two, share it with people,” she says. “I don’t think there’s any better path to be on for me.”
She’s also become an ambassador for AIDS Vancouver, recently donating proceeds from an upbeat dance single, “Intellectual”, to support people living with HIV/AIDS.
“The song speaks to identity,” Naked says. “A lot of my friends have had gender-identity changes throughout their life and sexual-preference changes. It’s a great source of discussion for us. This song was the happy result of many of those conversations.”
There’s a new album in the works, and, after years of performing select acoustic shows, the raven-haired vegan is looking forward to her upcoming, full-out rock show at the Hard Rock Casino.
If that isn’t enough, Naked is working on a memoir that will share her hard-won wisdom with the world.
“I could have croaked happy a decade ago, so everything is gravy,” she reflects. “I just seem to keep having a really good time, regardless of what’s thrown in my path.”
Bif Naked plays the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver’s first-anniversary party on Saturday (December 20).