Hey Rosetta! takes show on road, to global acclaim

Winning fans and impressing international critics, the St. John's band Hey Rosetta! has earned a place in our newsmakers' list.

St. John's band picked as a 2011 newsmaker

The St. John's band has had a banner year, reports Tom Power 5:21

The St. John's band that's been everywhere — the band that is going places — has finally come home.


Hey Rosetta! is back in Newfoundland after a busy year that has seen them grace stages in Canada, the United States and Australia.

At times, says lead singer Tim Baker, it can be tough telling exactly what their profession is.

"The road's hard, and we've spent a long time on it," Baker said. "I felt more like a truck driver, really, than a musician."

The touring life can involve eight or nine hours of driving to spend an hour or two on stage.

But Baker says seeing the faces of fans when the band performs makes the long, hard road worthwhile. "You can feel how happy they are that you're there with them."

Band's beginnings

Hey Rosetta!'s journey has taken the band from small clubs in St. John's to bigger venues in Canada and abroad.

Tim Baker of Hey Rosetta! says the band has spent far more time on the road than on the stage. (CBC)

"It's just not something that ever occurs to me, to sit back and sort of think of where we've come since playing at Roxxy's — it was 40 people, I thought it was pretty good at the time," Baker said.

Hey Rosetta! formed in 2005. Their big sound — waves of orchestral string instruments pounding against a driving rock rhythm section — has since met with critical acclaim. The band has been named one of Billboard's Top 5 Canadian acts to watch, and was short-listed for the Polaris Music Prize.

Baker acknowledges the praise can be a bit difficult to deal with at times.

"It's really important to stay level-headed and to really try to see and hear the music that you're making with a vision that's clear of those kind of influences and that kind of ego."

In October, ATO Records of New York announced it had signed Hey Rosetta!, and will release the band's album Seeds in the U.S. in the New Year.

On the road

The band was home for the holidays, but will soon be twirling the compass once again.

In February, they have a series of dates kicking off in Nevada and California before hopscotching across the U.S. Then it's off to Europe again in April, with shows in Dublin, London and Paris.

And how does Baker define success for the next year — and beyond?

"Really, success is the ability to keep going, and to keep doing what you want to do, in a way that you can define ... yourself."

With files from Tom Power