Pro Member Interview – Susan Passmore

Sue Passmore is a co-founder and member of the Canadian band, Good Lovelies. In her 12-year professional career as a songwriter and performer with the Good Lovelies, she has won a Juno and four Canadian Folk Music Awards. The Good Lovelies have toured all over the world: in the US, Canada, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom; the band has also recorded 5 full-length albums, 2 EPs and 1 live album. The Good Lovelies’ most recent album Shapeshifters (2018), saw its first single, “I See Gold”, reach #1 on the CBC Music charts, earning the band a SOCAN Music Award, while their Canadian release tour kicked off at the legendary Massey Hall stage in Toronto. “I See Gold” also made CBC’s Top 100 list for 2018, and received a nomination for “Best Song” at the International Folk Music Awards.

Over the course of their career, the Good Lovelies have written, recorded and performed with many notable Canadians including: Stuart McLean (Vinyl Café), Kathleen Edwards, Fred Penner, Jill Barber, Royal Wood, Robyn Dell’Unto, Lily Frost, Peter Katz and Emma-Lee.

After conducting countless harmony workshops with the Good Lovelies, Passmore has teamed up with choir director Marie Anderson (formerly of La Jeunesse Northumberland Girls’ Choir), and has created a songwriting workshop for Anderson’ new youth choral program: Sounds of the Next Generation (SONG). The workshop was a great success and is currently in its second year.

  • What inspires you to create music?

Finding a way of putting words to music has intrigued me since I was a little kid – and my earliest attempts are pretty entertaining to look back on. I love the moment when all the parts of a song click together at last, that “YESSS!” moment when you feel the song has reached its best version. Finally, when music I have created reaches people, when I hear it has had a positive impact, that inspires me to continue. It’s exciting to know that something I write can make a difference in someone’s day-to-day moments.

  • Do you have a process to your songwriting or when creating music?

I tend to get stuck on a nugget I like in the beginning, be it melodic, lyrical and/or chordal, and the songs grow from there. It’s important to me that a song is lyrically interesting, and I spend a fair bit of time circling around lines until they sound right. I like to remain open to change and to outside input, to letting ideas morph along the way; writing is becoming more of a social activity for me vs an insular one, and I’m learning a lot by working with others. Finally, there’s got to be a test audience of 1 – if I’m hesitant about any part of a song in front of an audience of 1, I know I won’t want it heard by the masses.

  • How did you get your start as a creator in the industry?

I met many musicians during my time at York University, who influenced my path as a creator, and some who I continue to work with today. Shortly after graduation, I found myself in my first band, called Bluesativa, and that was my initiation to the industry as a professional creator. After a solo album release in 2006, Good Lovelies began quite by accident. Co-founders Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough and I felt we had potential to succeed as a team of creators and decided to run with it – still running 12 years later!

  • How has your music evolved since you first became a recording/performing artist?

Stylistically, it’s been a bit of a ping pong game, moving from jazz to electro-lounge, indie singer-songwriter to folk-roots and western swing, and most recently I’ve been dipping my toes into the world of pop-folk. My approach to lyrics, arrangements, and vocal delivery have also all evolved over the years. I have learned a lot by working with a variety of producers, musicians and songwriters, and have reached an exciting time in my career where I feel my best work is definitely still to come.

  • What do you see in the future for songwriting and music creators like yourself? 

As we’ve always done, I imagine that as songwriters and music creators we will continue to seek out our best songs and sounds, to push boundaries, and aim to reach our audiences in new and unexpected ways.

#ThePROSofSAC #CreatorsCount #MusicCreatorsUnite

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

 

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Spotify Ep. 8. West Coast

Spotify Ep. 8 (2)

Greetings, fellow Songwriters!

Here we have another cool playlist for this year – Ep. 8. West Coast. This playlists consists of submissions we had over the course of the last few months from our members from West Coast provinces. Be sure to give it a listen by clicking here and, as always, subscribe for updates!

The featured artists and songs are below:

 

Alexandria Maillot – Messed it Up

Release Year: 2018

Performed by: Alexandria Maillot

Written by: Alexandria Maillot

Produced by: Samuel Hewson Woywitka, Alexandria Maillot

Source: CDBaby

 

Edie Daponte – Sliver of Time

Album: Alegria

Release Year: 2019

Performed by: Edie Daponte

Written by: Edie Daponte

Source: CDBaby

 

Josh Bogert – Dad’s Car

Release Year: 2019

Performed by: Josh Bogert

Written by: Josh Bogert, Andy Delisi, John Mavrogiannis

Produced by: Sean Fischer

Source: CDBaby

 

Ria Jade – Wild Things

Release Year: 2019

Performed by: Ria Jade

Written by: Ria Jade

Source: CDBaby

 

Chamelion – I Love You for You

Release Year: 2019

Performed by: Chamelion

Written by: Chamelion

Produced by: Chamelion

Source: Chamelion

 

Kim Thompson – Game of Love

Release Year: 2019

Performed by: Kim Thompson

Written by: Kim Thompson

Produced by: MCC Studio

Source: Kim Thompson

 

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

Pro Member Interview – Karen Kosowski

Karen Kosowki - SM
http://songwriters.ca/member/KarenKosowski

Producer and songwriter Karen Kosowski has one foot in the pop world and the other foot in the country world. She has produced a US Pop Radio Top 40 (Tryon’s “Somebody To Love Me”), a Billboard AC Radio #4 (Emma-Lee’s “It Won’t Be Christmas”) and a Canadian Country Radio Top 10 (Madeline Merlo’s “Motel Flamingo”) – for which she received a nomination for Producer Of The Year at the 2018 CMAO Awards. As an active songwriter, she has contributed to numerous pop and country hits for Canadian and American artists including most recently Brett Kissel’s Top 10 single “Anthem”. Recent releases include producing/co- writing both albums “Fantasies: Volume I” and “Fantasies: Volume II” from Emma-Lee, and co-writing“What A Song Should Do” and “The Worst Kind feat. Lindsay Ell” from Tim Hicks’s latest record “New Tattoo”.

Having written and produced the music for the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games medal ceremonies, Karen has also landed numerous tv/film placements both on television networks such as HBO Canada, CBS, FX Network, Lifetime Network, TLC, YTV, MuchMusic, NickTeen, Space, and the CW, and in feature films including the award-winning thriller “The Scarehouse” and Wangofilms’ action movie “88” (starring Christopher Lloyd), which garnered her a 2016 Canadian Screen Awards nomination in the category of Achievement in Music – Best Original Song. She also received Producer of the Year nominations at both the 2018 CMAO Awards and in the 2015 NOW Magazine ‘Best of Toronto’ poll.

Karen is currently based out of her own private studio in the exclusive music mecca neighborhood of Berry Hill in Nashville, working with new talent from Liz Rose Music Publishing, Big Deal Music Publishing, BMG Publishing and more.

________________________________________________________

For more information please visit karenkosowski.com

Contact: karen@karenkosowski.com

 

  • How did you get your start as a creator in the industry 

    I’ve been a professional songwriter and record producer for over a decade, but prior to that I actually spent many years as a solo artist. When I first started out writing songs as a teenager, there was a big emphasis in the music industry on singer-songwriter artists who performed their own material (this was the mid-nineties), so I started going out and performing my own songs, and renting gear and producing my own albums, very DIY. But 12 years and several albums later, I realized my true passion was the actual writing and producing, and not the other aspects of being an artist like touring, etc.  I’m grateful for everything I learned from the many years I spent as a solo artist, but I’m much happier helping other artists realize their vision!

  • Do you tend to write for one genre, or do you find your music crosses genre lines? 

    I grew up playing acoustic instruments but then got pretty heavily into programming, so I love experimenting with a hybrid of electronic and organic elements, which lands pretty naturally in the pop-country genre… but i sometimes swing full-on pop, or the opposite, to more rootsy country.  It depends on who I’m writing with and what they’re feeling in the mood to do!

  • Do you ever compose for film/tv/video games? What’s that like? 

    I had the opportunity to write a song for the WangoFilms feature film “88” (with my co-writer Peter Katz) starring Christopher Lloyd.  It was a fascinating and emotional way to write, because we were seeing the picture on the screen as we worked out the music.  Technically it was really different too, because the scene required a really fluid piece, with dramatic pauses… we were writing to highlight the emotion of the scene at every moment.  I got to try out some new things in Logic, and made a lot of use of tempo mapping!

Remembering Mike “Beard Guy” Taylor

SUN_BEARD_GUY_THUMB_301218
photo from http://www.globalnews.ca

Few people expect to prosper, let alone thrive, in the music business once they hit their mid-40’s, but that’s what happened with Burlington small businessman and Walk Off The Earth multi-instrumentalist Mike “Beard Guy” Taylor.

Born in 1967, Mike Taylor passed away in his sleep at age 51, just before New Years Eve. He leaves his ex-wife, Amy, and their two teenaged children, Mylie, 16, and 14- year-old son Jackson.

Raised in a musical home, Taylor played keyboards, accordion, and other instruments (including that famous guitar from the Youtube video). He played in bar bands for years before getting together with Walk Off the Earth in 2011. He also sang with the group, and he posted a video singing “O Holy Night” days before his passing.

Taylor also ran a successful business in Burlington, employing some 25 full time staff at his international shipping company, Gateway Freight Systems. Adding hockey and the gym to the mix, Taylor led a busy, active life, making his sudden death from natural causes all the more surprising to those who knew him.

Walk Off the Earth, assembled in Burlington in 2006, were already known for their catchy and quirky covers of pop songs and other hits. The band has posted covers online of “Gangnam Style,” acoustically, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and many other eclectic choices over the last decade and a half.

In 2012, a Youtube post featuring all five members of the band playing the same guitar went viral. “Somebody That I Used To Know” has been viewed some 186 million times on the band’s channel, with millions more views on additional uploads of their cover. Suddenly, the band “Beard Guy” joined went from viral to award-winning.

Walk Off the Earth won a Juno award in 2016 for Group of the Year, after several years of nominations. They have released a half dozen albums and other releases since their New Years Eve 2007 recorded debut, “Smooth Like Stone On A Beach.” A planned New Years Eve 2018 – 2019 CBC TV appearance from Niagara Falls was cancelled following the December 30 announcement of Mike Taylor’s passing. On January 7, the band played a memorial concert for “Beard Guy” in Burlington.

Walk Off The Earth also took to Social Media to honour their friend and band mate. Gianni Luminati posted on Instagram TayTay…I’m not ready for you to leave us brother! I know we had so many more restaurants to hit, so many more golf rounds to suck at(me) and so many more late night bus convos about life and love. I learned so much from you and you were always the first person I called when I needed advice in life or business. You were an amazing Father to your kids and I strived to implement that with my own boys. I hope you know how many lives you touched in a positive way. I’m so thankful I had the chance to live out our dreams together traveling around the world. The memories we created will stay with me till the day we meet again. I love you buddy. Long Live The Beard!”

Mike Taylor will be missed by the whole music community.

Blog post by Erik Twight

Erik Twight is, at present, a Freelance Writer, maintaining a web presence specializing in current affairs, history, photography and music and producing a weekly podcast/radio show arranged thematically and with commentary for fun. Click here to read more.

 

 

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

Pro Member Interview – Andrea England

Andrea England - SM (1).png

Andrea England has a unique ability to work successfully in two different music worlds, placing her pop co-writes such as “Casualty” on Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger’s solo debut album, Killer Love (for which she received a UK Gold album award), and recording and performing as a solo artist herself in a folk/roots/country vein. Her sophomore album, Hope & Other Sins, is the long-awaited follow-up to 2005’s Lemonade, the debut that enabled her to work behind the scenes as a professional songwriter.

“The fact I wrote on a song as pop as pop can be boggles the minds of some people,” Andrea muses.

Her latest album, Hope & Other Sins — produced in Nashville by Colin Linden (Bruce Cockburn, Colin James, Stephen Fearing), and featuring such special guest musicians as Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Liz Rodrigues, Gordie Sampson and Damhnait Doyle — is about resilience, much like Lemonade was, how life can knock you down, but nothing good can come from staying down for the count.

Andrea emerged triumphantly after a serious car accident in 2001, the week her debut EP, Heart Wide Open, came out, and then a hard-to-diagnose heart-related illness in 2006 made it imperative for her to take a few years off from recording, get a job with medical benefits — and get well. While she couldn’t make an album just yet, she didn’t stop writing for it.

“It’s a pattern,” she muses. “Something bad happens and I use my writing to get over it and then my songs really impact people because they’re so honest. I feel like I have this sense of being able to look at a situation or empathize with someone and take their story and put it in a song and reflect it back to them in a way that both musically and lyrically can connect. So that’s my goal. That’s why I made the record.”

“Laundry” is a special song written in an old-school country style at the request of her mother, and is for all the women who picture their dream life and it never does include the ugly, mundane or struggle. ”Picture of You” was inspired by visiting Ground Zero 5 years after 9/11 and seeing the still all too immediate impact of it in people’s faces. “Trying” is Andrea’s autobiography, her ‘Coat of Many Colors’ or “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” her story in one song. And “Learn to Dance” is another Lemonade-type song about not hiding when lightning strikes, rather dance around it.

“A lot of the songs on this album have, at the seed, some kind of conflict or struggle, but in the end they are hopeful.”

  • What inspires you to create music?

Life. Loss. Love. The urge to connect, to capture a moment or an emotion – mine or someone else’s – and make it digestible or at least tangible …that’s the goal. I can’t not write about things that move or confuse me; I wouldn’t be me without my pen (or, these days, my iPhone notepad).

  • How did you get your start as a creator in the industry?

I made an EP which garnered radio-play and notice out East. Performing at the first of many SOCAN songwriter circles at ECMAs led me to the producer of my first record, Lemonade. It kind of grew from there….

  • Do you write for other recording/performing artists?

Yep! For and with. Between my own records, that’s what I focus on creatively. If I don’t have a story to tell, I want to help someone else tell their story.

  • Do you tend to write for one genre, or do you find your music crosses genre lines?

As an artist, I’m folk-Americana leaning; but as a songwriter, I’ve written for pop, country, blues, hip-hop and more.

  • Have you faced any major economic, social, or political hurdles as a music creator?

Who hasn’t? Most songwriters – new and established – have to supplement their income at some time or other outside of the craft – especially these days; but I’ve managed to stay afloat over the years by seeking extra income within the music industry rather than outside of it, and that’s been a deliberate choice. Whether I’m writing, teaching, curating, or working on the business side of publishing,  I’m always learning, making connections, and advocating for the craft and for creators.

  • If you could collaborate with any other music creator, who would that be?

Although I write lyrics, music and melody, I’m most passionate about – and driven to – writing lyrics… If I could write a set of lyrics for anyone I’ve not yet written with, Elton John would be at the top of the list. I almost had the chance to write with Lady Gaga way back before she was Gaga but logistics got in the way… it’d be great to get that chance again. There are so many, but those two come to mind first…

  • How did you learn your craft – was it “formal” or “informal” music education?

It was a combination of both: I studied Royal Conservatory organ and then piano growing up, but the structured nature of it didn’t inspire me as a child: there was no room for creativity. Also, although my Mom had had me singing in local variety concerts since I was a young child, I was shy and became more so as I entered my teenage years (during that period, music became a very private matter for me). In University, I studied literature and enjoyed writing poetry and stories; but it wasn’t until  I moved to Ottawa and joined an original band that I was really exposed to the craft of songwriting from the inside – however, the two primary songwriters in that band were not interested in co-writing with anyone else in the band, so at first I was an observer. As luck (looking back now) would have it, I went through a heartbreak, at around the same time the original band broke up, and before I knew it, I was writing my own songs. It wasn’t until I wrote my first song that I realized I’d been training to be a songwriter the whole time.

  • Do you have any advice for upcoming songwriters and creators who are looking to break further into the creative scene?

Record, record, record….and hone your lyrics and melodies until they shine. Don’t give up on your songs, and don’t give up on yourself.

  • What is your fondest musical memory or favourite piece of music you’ve written?

While it doesn’t come from a fond memory, the song closest to me is the one I’m releasing on October 12th, “I Won’t Forget About You.”

  • What is the most important “tool” you need when creating, eg. (Garageband, google docs, your cell phone, Pro Tools, or a pad of paper?

An open mind and an empathetic heart 🙂

#ThePROSofSAC #CreatorsCount #MusicCreatorsUnite

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

In Memory of Justin Haynes, 1973-2019

JustinHaynes3
Photo of Justin Haynes from http://www.ottawacitizen.com

Justin Grant Alan Haynes was born February 24, 1973. As a boy growing up in Dunrobin, now on the outskirts of the amalgamated city of Ottawa, he attended school in Kanata where he was remembered fondly by a former music teacher. At the age of 12, Haynes discovered the music of revered jazz guitarist Joe Pass. He was playing out before the end of high school and making a name for himself in Ottawa’s music scene.

By the mid-90’s, Haynes lived in Ottawa’s Centretown and while he apparently liked it there, Toronto held more opportunities to play one’s own music. He joined the migration of some of his Ottawa musician friends and left for Toronto. He quickly found himself busy with all sorts of projects, including some with well known artists like Tanya Tagaq and Mary Margaret O’Hara. He also taught where he could, including music therapy related work with people on the autism spectrum.

A residency at the National Music Centre in Alberta 2012 seems to have only postponed the problem of making ends meet in Toronto. Haynes was quite candid about his struggles both online and in print.

Justin Haynes’ story is a sad one to tell. The 46-year-old composer and multi-instrumentalist was found dead in his basement apartment on March 13. A sad, premature death in the local arts community, but more frustratingly, Haynes had a lengthy, well respected career. If he couldn’t survive the life of a working musician in Toronto, one wonders if this is an indictment against the cost of living (renting) in Toronto.

Haynes worked with new players, seasoned veterans, on stage, in studios, composing and performing a wide range of styles. He played for audiences of all sizes; from The Rex downtown, to appearances at prestigious festivals across Canada, like the Victoriaville music festival and seminal American festivals including SXSW. He even performed at Canadian embassies.

Despite casting a large net in the musical pond of Toronto, regular gigs as a teacher, composer and player weren’t enough to pay all the bills.

Haynes found himself homeless briefly, and he wrote about life at Seaton House for Now magazine. CBC picked up the story, the city of Toronto officially responded, and it became one of those fleeting moments when homelessness makes the news.

Back off the streets, on ODSP, and living in a 500 square foot basement, Haynes was struggling with personal issues. The single father was trying to qualify for overnight stays with his son in the tiny apartment.

Despite recognition for Haynes musical pedigree among musicians, he spent years living hand to mouth. He wrote jazz, folk, solo and group music. The musician was well ensconced in soundscape creation, a growing field, but not necessarily a revenue stream.

A GoFundMe page was opened for his 12-year-old son, George Freeland-Haynes where the community came together and donated over $40,000.

Screen Shot 2019-04-04 at 5.29.12 PM

S.A.C. Spotify Episode 7: Remembering Justin Haynes. Click here to listen.

Blog post by Erik Twight

Erik Twight is, at present, a Freelance Writer, maintaining a web presence specializing in current affairs, history, photography and music and producing a weekly podcast/radio show arranged thematically and with commentary for fun. Click here to read more.

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

 

Pro Member Interview – Mo Kenney

Mo Kenney delivers a powerful punch with her third record. A promising young singer-songwriter is now a dynamic artist with a collection of attitude-driven indie rock that will pull at your heartstrings. Mo has won numerous awards and captivated audiences with performances in Australia, Europe, the UK and the US.

 

  • How did you get your start as a creator in the industry?

I started playing guitar when I was 11 years old and immediately fell in love. I didn’t start writing songs until I was 14 or 15. I loved music so much that I knew I wanted to pursue a career in some capacity. Joel Plaskett really gave me my start. We met when I was 16 and in my early 20’s we ended up working together on my first record. Without his guidance and mentorship I wouldn’t be where I am today! He is still the person I go to if I want an opinion on any new music I’m working on.

  • Do you write for other recording/performing artists?

I have collaborated with other artists on songs that have ended up on their records, or that they have ended up recording for themselves. I didn’t co-write until I attended the Gordie Sampson Songwriting Camp when I was 21. I’m so thankful for that experience because it taught me how to write with other writers. It’s not something I do very often, but every once in a while I’ll co-write with someone.

  • How did you learn your craft – was it “formal” or “informal” music education?

I started guitar lessons at the Canadian Conservatory when I was 11. I took lessons for about 4 years and then stopped. I taught myself how to finger pick and I taught myself how to sing.

 

#ThePROSofSAC #CreatorsCount #MusicCreatorsUnite

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.