Canadian actors and musicians Steven Allerick and Saskia Garel love expanding their creative abilities by continuing to inspire themselves through their personal lives and their work. After starring in high-profile stage shows like The Lion King, television shows and musical performances, having a child proved to be this couple’s biggest inspiration.
Allerick and Garel were invited to perform by Garineh Avakian-Akkus, an instructor of music at Pierce College, for a classroom packed with students. The married couple shared with students their early inspirations for pursuing entertainment as a career path and their experiences working in the industry.
Avakian-Akkus said that she invited Allerick and Garel to speak to and perform for her music appreciation class on Thursday, May 17 so that they could pique the students’ interests in the study of music.
“They’ve worked, auditioned and been in the industry. I hope what they have to say about that inspires our students to actually contemplate taking a couple classes and, if not become performers themselves, just support the arts in some way in the future,” Avakian-Akkus said.
Allerick and Garel’s performance focused on the concept of inspiration. Both spoke of what inspired them to carry on with their careers at different points in their lives.
Garel said she attributes her initial desire to pursue music to her parents, particularly her father, who was a jazz musician.
“Inspiration is at the heart of creativity, and I’d say my inspiration began with my parents and the records they shared with me at an early age,” Garel said.
To punctuate the sentiment, Garel sang the songs “The Masquerade is Over” and “The Lady is a Tramp,” which she said are reflective of the music she was exposed to in her early life.
Allerick said that in his adulthood, he drew inspiration from his father’s passing. He said that he took the impact of his father’s death and used it as creative fuel by writing a script that focuses on an entertainer who must address his own father’s terminal illness.
“Most artists spend a lot of time trying to make their careers work, and it’s easy to forget the things that are really important in life,” Allerick said. “You learn that the relationships that you have and the memories you make are the important things, but sometimes it takes moments like when my father passed to put that into perspective.”
Garel said that she and Allerick have found an inexhaustible source of inspiration in their roles as parents.
“When most people have children, they say their lives change dramatically,” Garel said. “Becoming a parent gave me a whole new source of inspiration; I began creating for my kids.”
Garel and Allerick demonstrated their newfound creativity as parents by singing lullabies and nursery rhymes that Garel created for their children.
Allerick said that a significant part of an artist’s life consists of discovering just what experiences can be used to fuel the creative process.
“There are a lot of things in life that you don’t have control over, and a lot of stuff you do,” Allerick said. “A big part of the journey is finding out just what those things are and how you can use them in your art.”