Bif Naked performs at Diana Krall Plaza on Friday (July 24) as part of the Bathtub Weekend Launch Party.

Bif Naked performs at Diana Krall Plaza on Friday (July 24) as part of the Bathtub Weekend Launch Party.

Singer refuses to slow down

Bif Naked performs at Diana Krall Plaza on Friday night.

Having a career in music was not what Bif Naked originally intended when she decided to join her friend’s band.

“I just accidentally started singing for my friend’s band because their singer quit,” she said. “That’s kind of how it started.”

At the time, Naked, born Beth Torbert, was a theatre student at the University of Winnipeg.

“I had no interest in music. None. Zero,” Naked said.

But things with her friend’s band picked up and what started out as something to do became so much more.

“I dropped out of university because we got offered a tour and I am still waiting to go back [to university],” she said.

Since then, Naked has gone on to perform alongside the likes of Snoop Dogg, Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow and many others.

On Friday (July 24) Bif Naked will be performing with Bend Sinister, The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer, Platinum Blonde and others at Diana Krall Plaza as part of the Bathtub Weekend Launch Party.

“We have been playing in Nanaimo since my first record,” she said. “We usually have so much fun going around the town.”

Naked was born in India and adopted by American missionaries. She briefly lived in Kentucky before being raised in Manitoba.

After playing in her friend’s band, Naked bounced around in a couple other bands before embarking on a solo career.

“I never wanted to be a singer. I was in ballet for almost 15 years and I really thought I would be a performer as far as dancing and acting,” Naked said.

Early on in her career, it was the little things that kept her motivated.

“Any starving artist will tell you it is the little milestones that you have that look forward to and you keep going,” Naked said.

After releasing her first record in 1995, Naked released I Bificus in 1998. The album, which certified platinum, contained her hit single, Spaceman.

Naked says part of her success came down to the quality of her songs and timing.

“I think it always comes down to the songs. I think that it was the right timing for a girl,” she said. “It was a different era in music. Songs like Spaceman were a little unconventional lyrically.”

Story continues below

By 2008, Naked had two gold-certified albums, was performing roughly 250 shows a year and was recently married, when everything changed.

“I got breast cancer,” Naked said. “That was daunting for sure and a setback for sure. I really didn’t think I would able to work again, let alone want to work again.”

While undergoing cancer treatment, Naked saw her  marriage come to an end.

“To go through that type of thing on top of being sick and going through treatment was a tremendous thing to overcome,” Naked said.

During treatment in 2009, Naked released her album, The Promise.

“Just because you have cancer you still have to work,” Naked said.

She says going through treatment was an “incredible journey” and that meeting other cancer patients motivated her to keep going.

“You meet other patients who you can relate to,” she said. “It becomes very bonding. The relationships that you make during that time are incredible and they are lifelong.”

Today, Naked has become a motivational speaker for the National Speakers Bureau and she  is working toward a new record. Naked has also completed an autobiography, which will come out in 2016.

“We were in edit for three years,” Naked said. “The problem is I have a big mouth and I don’t understand word count.”

arts@nanaimobulletin.comFollow @npescod on Twitter

Just Posted

Beef to the lady who went onto my property then proceeded to take my large plant from my home. I found out and asked for it returned. You said I was dramatic? You should be ashamed of yourself.
Beefs & Bouquets, June 16

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail

The discovery of a missing woman’s body in Nanaimo earlier this month is now being treated as homicide, say Nanaimo RCMP. (File photo)
Discovery of woman’s body in downtown Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

Amy Watts’s body was discovered near Albert Street and Victoria Crescent on June 3

Two Lotto Max tickets sold on Vancouver Island were winners, though nobody won the $70-million jackpot in Tuesday’s draw. (BCLC image)
Lotto Max player in Nanaimo wins $500,000

Campbell River lotto player wins $1 million in the Tuesday, June 15 draw

An artist’s rendering of a proposed student housing complex at 326 Wakesiah Ave. (WA Architects Ltd. image)
Two Lotto Max tickets sold on Vancouver Island were winners, though nobody won the $70-million jackpot in Tuesday’s draw. (BCLC image)
Lotto Max player in Nanaimo wins $500,000

Campbell River lotto player wins $1 million in the Tuesday, June 15 draw

Island Health is bringing a vaccination clinic to Lake Cowichan starting June 23. (Submitted)
Island Health opening COVID-19 vaccine clinic to boost lagging Cowichan Lake numbers

Cowichan Valley West the only Island area under 60 per cent in adult first dose totals

For more than a year, Rene Doyharcabal and a small group of neighbours in Langley’s Brookswood neighbourhood have been going out every evening to show support for first responders by honking horns and banging pots and drums. Now, a neighbour has filed a noise complaint. (Langley Advance Times file)
Noise complaint filed against nightly show of support for health care workers in B.C. city

Langley Township contacted group to advise of complaint, but no immediate action is expected

A nurse prepares a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Yukon Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Thomas
Vancouver couple pleads guilty to breaking Yukon COVID rules, travelling for vaccine

Chief Judge Michael Cozens agreed with a joint sentencing submission,

An inmate in solitary confinement given lunch on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN/Lars Hagberg
22-hour cap on solitary confinement for youth in custody still too long: B.C. lawyer

Jennifer Metcalfe was horrified to hear a youth had spent a total of 78 straight days in isolation

Flowers and candles were laid on the driveway of the Weber home, where Kerri Weber was found dead in November 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria man to stand trial for death of his wife last November

Ken Weber is charged with second-degree murder of his wife, Kerri Weber

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

COVID-related trash is washing up on shorelines across the world, including Coldstream’s Kal Beach, as pictured in this May 2021 photograph. (Jennifer Smith - Black Press)
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Most Read