Some Six Nations Sounds – Part 1

Some Six Nations background

Written by: Erik Twight

As June flies by, S.A.C. considers Indigenous Peoples Day, from a musical angle. Following the horrific discovery of 215 children’s graves at the Kamloops Residential School, it seems fitting to mention The Mohawk Institute, Canada’s oldest Residential School, located near the Six Nations’ land.

Since scientific evidence in 2011 corroborated many stories of children buried on and near the Mohawk Institute’s property, it seems a country seeking Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous people must seek out all of the truth before we consider how best to attempt reconciliation. 

The Six Nations of the Grand River reservation is Canada’s largest, with some 46 thousand acres. This actually represents a miniscule 5% of the original promised 950 thousand acres. The British promised this to Indigenous groups who took their side in the American Revolution, which resulted in the expulsion of the English and their Indigenous allies. The Six Nations, or Iroquois Confederacy boundaries were to have extended five miles on each side of the Grand River from it’s mouth at Lake Erie to it’s source, some 275 kilometers north, at Dundalk. This is specified in the Haldimand Treaty of 1784. Within its boundaries lies the New Credit Reserve.

The Six Nations Confederacy includes the Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca and Tuscarora nations. Some members of the Lenape (formerly Delaware) tribe live there as well.

The reserve has some 26 000 members. Led by Chief Joseph Brant, they confederacy’s reserve never extended to those boundaries, and indeed the group lost pieces of their land from the outset. The English signed away the present-day American portion of the land, with the Treaty of Paris. Today, there has been an extended protest on another disputed land site, the 1492 Land Back Lane. It was also near Brantford, and The Mohawk Institute. The Mohawk Institute closed decades ago but its sordid legacy not only persists, but has returned to Canadian news with the discovery of 215 children’s bodies at the Residential School near Kamloops, British Columbia.

The reserve’s best known musical legacy is, of course, The Band’s Robbie Robertson. At the Six Nations’ inaugural Lifetime Achievement Awards, they honoured Robertson who spoke to The Spectator’s Graham Rockingham. Spending multiple summers on the reserves as a kid, Robertson recalled “it did seem to me that everybody there played music and I decided I needed to get in on this. So it wasn’t long before my uncles and cousins were showing me where to put my fingers on the neck of the guitar. That was the genesis of my whole musical career.”

Erik Twight @VerInfusion, proprietor of Basil’s Books & Vinyl and Freelance Writer specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show on CIUT.fm (89.5FM Toronto) arranged thematically and with commentary.

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.

Stop Playing Politics with the Canadian Creative Sector and Bill C-10

La français â suivre​

On June 4th, 2021, The Lethbridge Herald published remarks by Lethbridge MP and Official Opposition Critic for Digital Government, Rachael Harder. Ms. Harder’s comments have rightly received widespread condemnation from the Canadian creator community. The Songwriters Association of Canada shares this outrage and demands that Ms. Harder publicly apologize in the House of Commons and specifically to the creator community.

Ms. Harder states in the article:

“That arts fund actually goes toward a very niche group of artists that are stuck in the early 1990s because they haven’t managed to be competitive on new platforms. So they are very reliant on government grants in order to continue to exist. And, quite frankly, they are producing material that Canadians just don’t want. Because, at the end of the day, if Canadians did want it then there would be a market for it. And if there was a market for it then these artists would get paid based on the market.”

If one were to follow Ms. Harder’s preposterous logic, it stands to reason that Canadians would rather not listen to Jann Arden, Corb Lund, Paul Brandt, K.D. Lang, Terri Clark, Brett Kissel, Blue Rodeo, The Tragically Hip, Drake, The Weeknd, Daniel Caesar, Metric, Feist, Broken Social Scene, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Jessie Reyez, Jully Black, Marie-Mai, Dumas, Kaytranada, or Tanya Tagaq to name only a small few. Obviously, this is hardly a “niche group”. Without exception, Canadian content regulations have fostered, promoted, and supported the incredible creative contribution that these and so many others have given towards our cultural identity as Canadians, not to mention our economy and to the world.

The article goes on with:

“The Liberals decided back in April they were going to remove that (4.1) clause,” says Harder. “When they removed that clause, they then made Canadians, their individual content they are posting online, they made that content susceptible to regulations of the bill. Which means their content will be censored. What you post on YouTube, what you post on Facebook, what you post on TikTok, will be measured according to its degree of ‘Canadianess.’ And then it will either be allowed to stand or not allowed to stand, or it will be promoted or demoted, within the network or framework of the platform on which it is posted.”

This is patently false as well as a gross mischaracterization of the spirit and intent of the legislation. Apparatuses are already in place to determine what is Canadian content. For the music sector it is the MAPL logo. For audio/visual works there is an existing CRTC definition as well. Identifying what is Canadian content simply enhances discoverability of professional Canadian content. No one individual or agency will be measuring user-generated content for its “Canadianess”. Additionally, no legal content from any territory will be blocked, demoted, or not allowed to stand – rather, content from Canadian creators will be made more discoverable, exactly like it is with traditional radio and television broadcasters currently – a regulatory framework that has served Canadian creators and audiences successfully since the 1970s; all within the parameters of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

And additionally, from the article:

“She [Ms. Harder] feels this special interest group, many of whom originate in Quebec in her opinion, are the real drivers behind Bill C10, and that’s why the Liberals, Bloc and NDP, which are all trying to gain votes in that province, are flirting with passing a bill, likely by this fall, which will certainly face a constitutional challenge as soon as it is given Royal Assent.”

That Quebec creators were the drivers behind Bill C-10 is simply false. The Songwriters Association of Canada and countless others who advocate on behalf of the creative sector have ALL worked and encouraged the government to draft legislation like C-10. In fact, the S.A.C. posted on June 7, 2021 a statement supporting Bill C-10 along with 30 other sectoral organizations from all parts of the country. Instead of “opinions” Ms. Harder should be sharing facts with the public regarding Bill C-10. Her deeply uninformed positions only serve to confuse the substantive issues at hand and threaten to further imperil the creator community – a community who has suffered profoundly from the pandemic. Considering that the entertainment industry is larger than mining, lumber and tourism combined, one would hope Ms. Harder would speak on these issues with a modicum of seriousness and informed by facts – rather than with strident electioneering.

We as small business owners and entrepreneurs share certain values – values that espouse hard work, independence, innovation, creativity, fair and accessible markets, and a regulatory framework that keeps markets competitive.  However, Ms. Harder’s position only serves to strengthen false-narratives from foreign-owned tech companies who continue to rake in fortunes, unregulated by our laws, dismissive of our parliamentreckless with our citizen’s data, and trampling creators’ copyright protections.


Considering Ms. Harder’s public derogation of the Canadian creative sector, The Songwriters Association of Canada must ask the Conservative Party of Canada for clarity. Are Ms. Harder’s views endorsed by party leadership? And if not Bill C-10, what is the CPC’s vision for a fair, transparent, and maneuverable regulatory system where Canadian creators can continue to contribute – both economically and culturally? We also ask the Liberal Government, the Bloc Québécois, and the NDP for public assurances that Big Tech’s disruptive tactics will not be prioritized over the economic and cultural sovereignty of creators, the creative sector, or Canadian citizens.

The Songwriters Association of Canada thanks you for your attention and we look forward to each of your responses.

Respectfully,

President
Songwriters Association of Canada

With support from:

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

RE: RÉPONSE DES AUTRICES AUX COMMENTAIRES DE L’HONORABLE RACHAEL HARDER, MP

Le 4 juin 2021, le journal The Lethbridge Herald publiait certaines remarques de Mme Rachel Harder, députée de la circonscription de Lethbridge et critique de l’opposition officielle pour le Gouvernement numérique. Comme on pouvait s’y attendre, ces propos ont suscité la condamnation généralisée de la communauté canadienne des créateurs et des créatrices. L’Association des auteurs-compositeurs canadiens (S.A.C.) partage cette indignation et exige que Mme Harder présente publiquement ses excuses à la Chambre des communes, et plus spécifiquement à la communauté des créateurs.

Mme Harder déclare dans cet article :   

« Ce financement pour les arts s’adresse effectivement à un très petit groupe de membres de la communauté artistique qui vivent encore comme dans les années 1990 parce qu’ils n’ont pas réussi à être concurrentiels sur les nouvelles plateformes. Ils comptent énormément sur les subventions gouvernementales pour continuer d’exister. Et, pour dire la vérité, ils produisent du matériel dont les Canadiens ne veulent tout simplement pas. Parce que, au bout du compte, si les Canadiens en voulaient, alors il y aurait un marché pour ce matériel. Et s’il y avait un marché pour ce matériel, ces artistes se feraient payer en fonction du marché. »  

Si on suivait jusqu’au bout la logique grotesque de Mme Harder, il faudrait alors dire que les Canadiens préféreraient ne pas écouter Jann Arden, Corb Lund, Paul Brandt, K.D. Lang, Terri Clark, Brett Kissel, Blue Rodeo, The Tragically Hip, Drake, The Weeknd, Daniel Caesar, Metric, Feist, Broken Social Scene, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Jessie Reyez, Jully Black, Marie-Mai, Dumas, Kaytranada ni Tanya Tagaq, pour ne nommer que quelques artistes. Il est clair qu’il ne s’agit pas d’un « petit groupe ». Sans aucune exception, les règlements canadiens en matière de contenu ont encouragé, défendu et soutenu les incroyables contributions créatives que ces artistes et tellement d’autres ont apportées à notre identité culturelle comme Canadiens et Canadiennes, sans mentionner notre économie et le reste du monde. 

On peut lire plus loin dans l’article : 

« Les Libéraux ont décidé en avril dernier d’éliminer cette clause (4.1) », poursuit Mme Harder. « En éliminant cette clause, ils ont alors rendu les Canadiens, les contenus individuels qu’ils affichent en ligne, ils ont rendu ce contenu sujet aux réglementations du projet de loi. Ce qui veut dire que leur contenu sera censuré. Ce que vous affichez sur YouTube, ce que vous affichez sur Facebook, ce que vous affichez sur TikTok sera évalué en fonction de son degré de ‘canadienneté’. Et alors on lui permettra ou ne lui permettra pas de rester là, ou il sera promu ou rétrogradé, et ce, à l’intérieur du réseau ou du cadre de la plateforme sur laquelle il est affiché. »

Cela est tout à fait faux, et c’est une grossière représentation de l’esprit et de l’intention de la loi. Il existe déjà des mécanismes pour déterminer ce qui constitue un contenu canadien. Pour le secteur de la musique, c’est le logo MAPL. Pour les œuvres audiovisuelles, il existe déjà une definition du CRTC également. Le fait de pouvoir identifier le contenu canadien ne fait qu’améliorer la découvrabilité du contenu professionnel canadien.  Personne ni aucune agence ne mesurera le contenu généré par les utilisateurs  pour en déterminer la « canadienneté ». Qui plus est, aucun contenu légal d’aucun territoire ne sera bloqué, déchu ou éliminé – au contraire, le contenu des créateurs canadiens sera rendu davantage découvrable, et ce, exactement comme le font déjà la radio traditionnelle et les télédiffuseurs – un cadre de réglementation qui rend d’excellents services aux créateurs et aux publics canadiens depuis les années 1970; le tout en conformité avec la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés.  
 
Autre passage de l’article : 

« Elle [Mme Harder] pense que ce groupe d’intérêts spéciaux, dont plusieurs membres viennent du Québec, selon elle, est la véritable force derrière le Projet de loi C10, et que c’est pourquoi les Libéraux, le Bloc et le NPD, qui essaient tous de remporter des votes dans cette province, songent à faire adopter un projet de loi, probablement d’ici l’automne, qui fera certainement l’objet d’une contestation constitutionnelle dès qu’il aura reçu la sanction royale. »

C’est une erreur manifeste que de prétendre que ce sont les créateurs québécois qui ont été la force derrière le projet de loi C-10. L’Association des auteurs-compositeurs canadiens ainsi que d’innombrables autres personnes qui ont pris la défense du secteur de la création ont TOUS aidé à encourager le gouvernement à produire un projet de loi comme le C-10. En fait, la S.A.C. a publié le 7 juin dernier, un communiqué appuyant le projet de loi C-10 avec 30 organisations du secteur culturel de partout à travers le pays. Au lieu de partager des « opinions », Mme Harder ferait mieux de partager des faits avec le public concernant le projet de loi C-10. Ses positions profondément mal informées ne servent qu’à brouiller les questions de fond qui sont en jeu et à menacer de mettre encore plus gravement en péril la communauté des créateurs – une communauté qui a profondément souffert des effets de la pandémie. Si on considère que l’industrie du divertissement est plus importante que la somme des industries minière, forestière et touristique, on pourrait s’attendre à ce que Mme Harder aborde ces enjeux avec un minimum de sérieux et en se fondant sur les faits – au lieu de donner dans la propagande électorale.

Comme propriétaires de petites entreprises ou entrepreneurs, nous partageons un certain nombre de valeurs  – des valeurs comme le travail acharné, l’indépendance, l’innovation, la créativité, l’équité et l’accessibilité des marchés ainsi que le cadre de réglementation qui permet aux marchés de demeurer concurrentiels. La position de Mme Harder ne sert malheureusement qu’à renforcer de fausses représentations créées par des entreprises de technologie d’origine étrangère qui continuent de s’enrichir sans que nos lois n’interviennent , en cas d’outrage à notre parlementimprudents avec les données de nos citoyenset qui piétinent la protection du droit d’auteur des créateurs.

Compte tenu de cette déclaration publique de Mme Harder à l’encontre du secteur créatif canadien, l’Association des auteurs-compositeurs canadiens demande au Parti conservateur du Canada d’émettre une clarification. Les idées de Mme Harder sont-elles celles de la direction du parti?  Et, s’il ne s’agit pas du projet de loi C-10, quelle est la vision du PCC à l’égard d’un système de réglementation juste, transparent et souple qui soit capable de permettre aux créateurs canadiens de continuer d’apporter leurs contributions économiques et culturelles? Nous demandons également que le gouvernement libéral, le Bloc Québécois et le NPD rassurent le public que les manœuvres perturbatrices de Big Tech ne l’emporteront pas sur la souveraineté économique et culturelle des créateurs, sur le secteur de la création et sur les citoyens et citoyennes du Canada.

L’Association des auteurs-compositeurs canadiens vous remercie de l’attention que vous porterez à cette demande et attend impatiemment votre réponse.

Respectueusement, 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is arun-chaturvedi-signature.png

Arun Chaturvedi
Président

Avec l’appui de:

Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA)
Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA)
Screen Composers Guild of Canada (SCGC)

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.

S.A.C. is a proud signatory and supporter for Bill C-10. Bill C-10 is a critical first step towards rules that are fair and effective, and reflect the modern-day media landscape. Delaying this important legislation further will only strengthen foreign digital players at the expense of our distinct Canadian voices.

It’s time to refocus on the urgent task at hand — building a sustainable, competitive, world-class broadcasting sector that continues to serve Canadians. Below is the public service announcement prepared by CAB published in the Hill Times on June 7 & 8, 2021.

Modernizing Canada’s Broadcasting Act is long overdue. The legislation has not been updated since it was introduced 30 years ago, and it has not kept up with transformative changes in technology and consumer expectations over the past three decades. 

By giving a free ride to foreign streaming services, the current law and related regulations favour global digital platforms over our own broadcasters, producers, musicians and creators, placing many of them at risk. 

Canada’s broadcasting, production and music communities are part of the cultural and economic fabric of the entire nation — in countless communities large and small. We support Canadian content made for and by Canadians. We deliver local, regional and national news and information, educational, and entertainment programming. We support community initiatives. We offer a platform for Canadian creators and businesses. And we sustain hundreds of thousands of jobs. 

Bill C-10 is a critical first step towards rules that are fair and effective, and reflect the modern-day media landscape. Delaying this important legislation further will only strengthen foreign digital players at the expense of our distinct Canadian voices. 

It’s time to refocus on the urgent task at hand — building a sustainable, competitive, world-class broadcasting sector that continues to serve Canadians. 

IT’S TIME TO GET ON WITH MODERNIZING BROADCASTING RULES IN CANADA.

Hill Times

(French Version follows)

SAC. est un fier signataire et partisan de Bill C-10. Le projet de loi C-10 est un premier pas essentiel vers des règles équitables et efficaces qui reflètent le paysage médiatique moderne. Retarder davantage cette mesure législative importante ne fera que renforcer les acteurs numériques étrangers au détriment de nos voix canadiennes distinctes.

 La modernisation de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion se fait attendre depuis très longtemps. La législation n’a pas été mise à jour depuis son introduction il y a 30 ans, et n’a, depuis, pas suivi l’évolution des technologies et les attentes des consommateurs. 

En laissant le champ libre aux services de diffusion en continu étrangers, la Loi actuelle et les règlements connexes favorisent les plateformes numériques mondiales par rapport à nos propres radiodiffuseurs, télédiffuseurs, producteurs, musiciens et créateurs, ce qui expose bon nombre d’entre eux à des enjeux de viabilité très sérieuses. 

La communauté de radiodiffusion, production audiovisuelle et de musique canadienne font partie du tissu culturel et économique de toute la nation — dans d’innombrables collectivités, grandes et petites. Nous contribuons au contenu canadien fait pour et par les Canadiens. Nous produisons et diffusons de la programmation de divertissement, des émissions éducatives, de nouvelles et d’information locales, régionales et nationales. Nous appuyons les initiatives communautaires. Nous offrons une plateforme aux artistes, artisans et aux entreprises canadiennes, et nous créons des centaines de milliers d’emplois. 

Le projet de loi C-10 est un premier pas essentiel vers des règles équitables et efficaces qui reflètent le paysage médiatique moderne. Retarder davantage cette mesure législative importante ne fera que renforcer les acteurs numériques étrangers au détriment de nos voix canadiennes distinctes. 

IL EST TEMPS DE SE CONCENTRER SUR LA TÂCHE URGENTE QUE NOUS DEVONS ACCOMPLIR : BÂTIR UN SYSTÈME DE RADIODIFFUSION DURABLE, COMPÉTITIF ET DE CLASSE MONDIALE QUI CONTINUE DE SERVIR LES CANADIENS. 

For more information, see this Bill-C 10 FAQ document shared by CDEC.

The 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.

S.A.C. Women’s History Month Series – Ruby Waters

Still in her early 20’s, Ruby Waters is a successful songwriter, seasoned live performer, and certainly eager to resume her live concerts like everyone else on either side of the stage. Earlier this year, shew played a three night stand online, for the series “Dinner and a Show” in Toronto.

Waters, born to a Slovakian father and Metis mother was raised in Shelburne, Ontario. Since joining her mother on stage at the age of 4, music was always at around by the time she started busking as a teenager. 

Like her parents, who met as touring musicians, Waters got the urge to travel, and moved west, until an acid trip in B.C. inspired her to resettle in Toronto. Here, she “released” a couple of songs in 2015 on the Youtube channel Toronto Acoustic Sessions. As an aside, there is an Adele cover in what must be one of Waters’ earliest videos, from 2011 on her YT channel.

After recording enough of her own songs to become frustrated with what she called her “e.p. cemetery,” she started to release some of them. “Sweet Sublime” was Waters’ 2018 debut, followed by “Supernatural” and “Last Cigarette” in 2019.

Waters’ songs, whether on her own or with a band, have a spare quality in their arrangements which keep the lyrics front and centre. Still, her music sounds more polished than folk songs, but as a consummate singer-songwriter, they aren’t really poppy, either. She records with Sam Willow, her producer and close friend.

With her e.p. “Almost Naked” out, and touring heavily, 2019 was a busy year. She opened for Serena Ryder’s Ontario shows, and toured with Classified. She can be heard on his song “10 Years” but she is not in the video. After another tour, this time with City and Colour, Ruby Waters headlined at a packed Horseshoe Tavern in her adopted home town in November 2019.

With touring shelved in 2020, Waters released her follow up e.p. “If It Comes Down to It” on October 16th. The single “Rabbit Hole” is about drugs and depression, but as she told CBC, “all the worst days bring the best songs.” In another interview, Waters discussed her song-writing approach saying “it always starts with a line that comes out of nowhere and I try to build on that.” While some songs have unhappy backstories, recording them once they’re written comes easy enough. Most of her last e.p. was recorded at her “old house” which Waters shared with a bunch of musicians. The single “Quantum Physics” drew almost two million streams in the months following its release, and her songs continue to gather momentum online.

Ruby Waters’ Youtube channel->

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYEe-aKzDQUiajLjb6kkjiA

Written by: Erik Twight

Erik Twight @VerInfusion, proprietor of Basil’s Books & Vinyl and Freelance Writer specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show on CIUT.fm (89.5FM Toronto) arranged thematically and with commentary.

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.

S.A.C. Black History Songwriters Series: Vancouver Soul History

Most early Canadian soul music came from Ontario. Canada’s Black population was concentrated in the country’s biggest cities, as well as parts of Nova Scotia. Of the few Canadian soul records out there, generally 45’s, most were recorded and released in Ontario. Fans might then understandably overlook some of our soulful west coast vibes, and Vancouver’s music history isn’t discussed nationally as often as Toronto’s.

Given Canada’s relatively small Black population, especially 60 years ago, a lot of 1960’s soul music here came from white bands, some of whom had Black singers. This wasn’t unique to Canada; Geno Washington in England, Jay and the Techniques from Pennsylvania, and upstate New York’s Wilmer and The Dukes all come to mind. Nonetheless, there were fairly few all-Black bands in Canada at the time, which helps explain why the first Black Canadian band to get signed to a major label wasn’t until 1975, for Crack of Dawn.  

Many Black Albertans arrived in Canada in the early and mid twentieth century, leaving Jim Crow states like Oklahoma behind for a new life on the Canadian prairies. Cities like Calgary weren’t particularly hospitable to minorities, according to Tommy Chong who grew up there and formed a band with four African Canadians, before being asked to leave town and take his band with him. Chong’s band The Shades, and the singer Jayson Hoover would, separately, find their ways to Vancouver and shake up the soul music scene over there.

While isolated from the rest of Canada, Vancouver was the last northern stop on the Pacific touring circuit. When borders were easier to cross, Vancouver was a regular stop for San Francisco bands as well as international touring bands playing the U.S. west coast.

There were multiple soul bands in town, and some had Black singers, like Soul Unlimited with singer Carl Graves, and Jamaican- Canadian Kentish Steele sang for The Shantelles.

In 1964, Jayson Hoover left Alberta on vacation to visit Vancouver, and never looked back. He teamed up with local soul players The Epics, where he met his future song-writing partner Jim Harmata 

Jayson Hoover and Barry Collins shared vocals for the band, calling themselves The Soul Brothers, until Collins left in 1965. With his actual brother Tom, Collins would soon sing for fellow Vancouver soul purveyors Mojo & Co.

The Epics are featured on the 1967 double album “Live From The Grooveyard.” It features most of the Vancouver soul players of the era, minus Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers. Jamaican-born Kentish Steele’s smooth vocals for The Shantelles. The Carl Graves- fronted Soul Unlimited and Jayson Hoover with The Epics are all on this album, along with The Stags, Shockers, Nocturnals and Night Train Revue. While recorded in a local studio with audience noise dubbed in, it provides a glimpse of what those shows presumably sounded like. The album leaves a decent document for posterity; if only other cities’ scenes could have gotten similar projects off the ground, documenting their era.

There is some confusion regarding exactly when The Epics folded morphed into The Trials of Jayson Hoover. Some sources say the year was 1966, but The Epics perform a cover of The Parliaments’ “I Wanna Testify” on the local television show “Let’s Go,” and that George Clinton song came out mid 1967.

CBC’s “Let’s Go” was part of a multi-city music t.v. series shot from coast to coast through the work week, starting in Vancouver, then continuing through Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. Quite a few notable Canadian musicians passed through during the show’s run, most notably The Guess Who.

One frustrating aspect of “Let’s Go” is the show had great international artists who were only ever interviewed (instead of playing), and their hit songs performed by local Canadians, who were only allowed to play covers of the new international hits. Regardless, “Let’s Go” put a few local soul acts on Canadian television, giving them significant exposure in the days when there only were a few channels. Jayson Hoover and Lynn Brooks sang through a Motown themed episode, while The Collins Brothers with the Mojo Co. were featured in another soul themed episode.

The Trials of Jayson Hoover opened for a few big acts passing through Vancouver, including Led Zeppelin’s 1968 Canadian debut. In December of that year they released their first single, “King Size,” written by Hoover and Jim Harmata. The song was cut in Vancouver and released on Tom Northcott’s New Syndrome label. It reached #8 on local charts.

The following year, they held down a residency in Portland Oregon, and played in western Canada.

In 1970, Hoover formed Anvil Chorus to play harder, more psychedelic music. Anvil Chorus released a string of singles in 1970, playing with a Funkadelic infused vibe. “Rhythm Is The Way” – another Hoover – Harmata collaboration- was first, and it was issued through much of Europe. For some reason Hoover at this time was credited as Jayson Henderson.

The Trials of Jayson Hoover, personnel and name, were back in action by the end of 1970. They released a few more singles, including a cover of one-time Torontonian Tobi Lark’s song “Freedom Train.” Hoover’s rendition made the local top 20.

They appeared in a March 1971 issue of RPM magazine, which mentions a Hawaiian residency, and this happened months before Hoover left the group. Interestingly, Hoover recently posted an ad for the band’s Toronto debut on his Facebook page, and they didn’t play Toronto until 1971, despite a strong local soul music scene. It serves as a reminder that cross-country touring was more daunting than some bands were ready for.

Hoover’s first solo single “Everything’s Alright” was his last for New Syndrome Records, as he signed with Mushroom Records, Vancouver’s largest home-grown label. He played as Jayson Hoover and Stuff around this time. His 1974 self titled album has a number of funk gems. “She’s My Lady” reached the Winnipeg Top 20. Hoover was back on CBC TV in 1974, on the “Music Machine” show.  

About half the songs on the album are written by Hoover with his new guitarist, Dennis Green. Clydie King and King Errison (of Incredible Bongo Band fame) are among the players. The funk songs are solid, and mixed with slow jams. The Counts’ “Ridin High” opens the l.p.    

Hoover has continued to sing over the intervening decades, and turned 75 last year. Jayson Hoover and the Groovers is but one of his more recent bands’ names. Hoover’s Facebook page mentions a documentary, to be released later in 2021.

In the next part of this tale from the old west, fellow Albertans The Shades move to Vancouver, and record one of Canada’s biggest yet least known soul hits.

While Jayson Hoover left Alberta to find success singing for Vancouver’s The Epics, The Calgary Shades left Alberta to find immense success with an American singer they’d work with in Vancouver.

The Shades were doing brisk business playing around Calgary before the mayor and chief of police summoned their guitar player, Tommy Chong, and advised him and his band to leave town. Tommy Chong had family connections to Vancouver night spots, which presumably made relocating on the coast less daunting a move.

The Shades went through a few names in their short existence, some risqué and others unprintable today. In Vancouver they worked and recorded as Little Daddy and the Bachelors.

Bobby Taylor started singing at 3 years old and his repertoire came to include many styles, including Gregorian chants. Born in 1934 and raised in Washington D.C. Taylor saw weekly Ku Klux Klan meetings at the Capitol, and decided he’d be safer fighting in Korea. Discharged in 1951, the 17-year-old war veteran went to New York City and later Ohio to sing, before finding himself in San Francisco where he met his next band. At least one account has the band meeting Taylor in Vancouver, and Tommy Chong’s recollections have proven inconsistent over the years. For instance, most accounts say Chong pushed for the band’s rude name changes after seeing Lenny Bruce in San Francisco. Chong has said in at least one interview the name “4 N-words and a C-word” was Taylor’s idea. The band actually used that name, as well as the full spelling, as well as Four Coloured Fellows and an Oriental Lad.

The cantankerous Taylor must have liked Chong’s guitar style. According to producer and author Ian Levine, Taylor once fired Jimi Hendrix because “his solos went on too long.”

Hoping to get actual bookings, Bobby Taylor seems to have had a hand in coming up with the name Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers.

The band was playing at the Elegant Parlour in Vancouver in 1966 when Supremes Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard showed up. They got word back to their label boss Berry Gordy about this hot band (who played plenty of Motown covers in their regular set) and Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers were signed to Motown.

The band toured with the pre-Funkadelic Parliaments and by the end of 1967 they relocated to Windsor Ontario, after getting nervous in post uprising Detroit. One song, written by Tommy Chong, became a smash hit and nudged Motown toward including more topical songs in their catalogue.

Sang by Bobby Taylor, most assumed “Does Your Mama Know About Me?” was written about Taylor dating a white girl. Through the spring of 1968 the song climbed the charts, ultimate reaching # 5 R&B and 29 on Billboard’s pop chart.

Maxine Sneed was the girl in the song; her brothers were in Chong’s band and he had married Maxine Sneed back in 1960. “Does Your Mama Know About Me?” was about Chong’s worries concerning meeting Sneed’s African Canadian mother, as an Asian Canadian guy.

While on tour in 1968, Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers had a series of dates at the Regal Theatre in Chicago; a ten day battle of the bands. One that caught Taylor’s attention was Indiana’s Jackson 5. Taylor got them an audition for Motown and went to work for the band. The Vancouvers were redeployed to back label mate Chris Clarke, and soon two of them were fired when they were late for a show after applying for Green Cards. Wes Henderson moved on, Tommy Chong was more interested in comedy by this time and was happy to go, and drummer Floyd Sneed went to play with Three Dog Night. Taylor joined The Corporation, Motown’s new elite song-writing team, led by Gordy himself, but didn’t last there. Her recorded for a series of smaller labels after leaving Motown.

Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers never repeated the success of “Does Your Mama Know About Me?” Still, that song is an enduring classic, and lives on as fans continue to apply it to their own experiences in relationships with a looming parental shadow.

Written by: Erik Twight

Erik Twight @VerInfusion, proprietor of Basil’s Books & Vinyl and Freelance Writer specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show on CIUT.fm (89.5FM Toronto) arranged thematically and with commentary.

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.

S.A.C. Black History Songwriters Series: Gary Beals

There are some curves in life, some longer or sharper than others. Over the last 17 years, Gary Beals has taken them and put aspects of life’s winding road into his new music. Born October 25 1982, the Toronto-based Scotian-originated singer has been struggling, like other artists, with getting one’s music out there when there are no shows, no clubs and a whole lot of streaming.

Hailing from a church singing background in Cherrybrook Nova Scotia, Beals liked mellow soul like Al Green. His 2004 self titled debut was a slick, polished affair. That was recorded on the heels of Season One of Canadian Idol, when Beals was the 17-year-old runner up. Beals’ debut had solid dance ready cuts like “They Don’t Know.”

In 2009 he released a second disc, “The Rebirth Of Gary Beals,” which featured more polished r&b and dabbled in other styles like the dancehall flavour of “Jump Off.”

Beals has described the conflicts of his sexuality during interviews, and he has enjoyed the liberation of living out for some years, now. He writes and works with other writers on his songs, and has worked with produced instrumental tracks to sing on. Beals plays with multiple bands on stage when there are stages to play, and while there are no shows, he’s been promoting his new music on social media and with interviews. “Bleed My Teeth” was released last October 23, with videos trickling out. “Me For Me” has a couple of videos, one a live band performance shot last year. The “Blood Red Roses” remix has more processed sounding vocals than the original. That song was inspired by a trip to South Africa but the video was of random people dancing was shot in Toronto. 

About his adopted city, Beals told BringBackSoulMusic’s Youtube show that while “it’s happening… it could do a whole lot better here,”  citing a general lack of resources for Toronto R&B performers.

Through his career, Gary Beals has been nominated for a Juno (Best R&B / Soul) and won an East Coast Music Award among others. He will perform with Maestro Fresh Wes, Tika and Nefe, on February 25, 2021 at the S.A.C. Celebration Series Black History Month concert event hosted by Rudy Blair, Rudy Blair Entertainment: Tickets and S.A.C. Press Kit.

Concert goes live at 7PM (EST) tonight – streaming to multiple platforms!

Logging on to the Livestream tonight:
All you will need to do is enter your name and email address and create a password to access the event here. The latest versions of Chrome or Firefox guarantee the best experience. 

On YouTube:
Tune in live on S.A.C.’s YouTube Channel. 

On Twitch: 
Tune in live on S.A.C.’s Twitch Channel. 

Written by: Erik Twight

Erik Twight @VerInfusion, proprietor of Basil’s Books & Vinyl and Freelance Writer specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show on CIUT.fm (89.5FM Toronto) arranged thematically and with commentary.

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.

S.A.C. Black History Songwriters Series: Maestro Fresh Wes

When “Let Your Backbone Slide” was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in late 2019, the 30 year old song was the first hip hop jam to receive the honour.

Maestro Fresh Wes has released a pile of cd’s, and lp’s, earlier on, and cassettes before that, like just about every aspiring rapper from the time before cdr’s.

Street music – buskers of every style, punk bands with no expectation of a record deal or money to press their own records, and of course, rappers back in the day, anyone making music without enough support to release a record, released music on good old affordable cassettes. Some early Bronx hip hop jams were “released” (not necessarily with everyone’s permission) on tape and others were apparently traded in New York City high schools. Indeed, a mix tape of DJ Red Alert brought from New York City to Halifax in the early ’80s is credited with being many Haligonians’ first exposure to hip hop and provided the germination of that city’s scene.

Toronto’s Maestro Fresh Wes, born Wes Williams to Afro-Guyenese parents on the last day of March in 1968, got his rapping start recording tape demos in the mid 1980’s. CKLN radio’s Ron Nelson was an early supporter, playing Wes’ music released under the moniker “Melody M.C.” That was in 1983 before the teen ager finished high school, attended Carleton University for a year, and came back to Toronto to push his music harder. After teaming up with Farley Flex in 1988 and appearing on MuchMusic’s Electric Circus TV show, Wes was signed to New York City’s LMR label. Now he had a manager (Flex) and a deal. Still, Wes needed a paycheque and worked as a security guard at Scarborough’s Parkway Mall. He worked overnights so he could keep developing his music. The Parkway Mall had a Tuxedo Royale store where Wes got the name “Maestro.” He also wrote “Let Your Backbone Slide” after searching for the best party phrase he could think of. The song borrowed heavily from a British instrumental, “The Champ,” by The Mohawks. As a debut single, few Canadian artists have done better.

“Let Your Backbone Slide” famously put Toronto on the hip hop map, just in time for the 1990’s. The song sold 25 000 copies in the U.S. on it’s release, and cracked the American Top 40, a first for a Canadian rap song. It sold over 50 000 copies, and went Gold in Canada, leading the way for other early ’90s Canadian rap. MuchMusic played more of it, and popular singles and albums came out from the likes of Dream Warriors, Michie Mee, later the Rascalz, Choclair, and others. This song was the biggest selling Canadian rap song until Kardinal Offishall’s “Dangerous.”

Touring Canada brought out large audiences, and Wes’ first album “Symphony In Effect” sold well too. The following year, a new decade, saw continued success. The follow up single from the album, “Drop The Needle” starts off on a thick P-Funk tip, and the accompanying video won a Juno. 

In 1991 Maestro Fresh Wes joined in on “Can’t Repress The Cause” which brought together rappers and singers from many backgrounds and genres including Lorraine Segato and Leroy Sibbles. The project’s aim was to push for more inclusion of hip hop into the mainstream Canadian music scene; the clubs, the press, and such.

Wes’ follow-up album, Black Tie Affair from 1991 perhaps kept the tuxedo related inspiration in effect and also sold well here, but he had his eye on New York City. Wes relocated to New York for much of the 1990’s but his music never gained the traction in America that it received here and he returned to Toronto in 1997.

His next big hit, “Stick To Your Vision” in 1999 borrowed from “These Eyes” and sounded like an affirmation of Wes as a Canadian artist. “Stick To Your Vision” would also provide the title for Maestro Fresh Wes’ self help book.

Wes worked as “Maestro” for a few years, but when working as an actor he uses his birth name. Despite finding success as an actor, Wes wasn’t done with music, either. “416 – 905 (Party Anthem)” from his “Built to Last” 1999 album received a Juno nomination.

Wes welcomed the new millennium with another album, his sixth, called “Ever Since” which featured a collaboration with Kardinal Offishall, “Bustin Loose,” which owes less to the Chuck Brown classic than most rap variations of this enduring D.C. jam.

Wes has since worked with Offishall again on multiple songs, along with Meesha Brueggergosman, Sam Roberts and others on his 2013 “Orchestrated Noise” album and even worked with Lawrence Gowan for a 2005 rap reworking of Gowan’s hit “A Criminal Mind.”

While Wes has never been considered gangsta rap, some of his songs shout out hoods and activities like “Dearly Departed” while his better known songs celebrate partying and sports. In 2015 he released “Underestimated” for the Pan-Am Games, and in 2017 he recorded “Jurassic Park” which included local rapper and producer Rich Kidd. Naturally, “Jurassic Park” was made into a video in 2019 after the Toronto Raptors won the NBA championship.

While touring isn’t an option for anybody these days, Maestro Fresh Wes performed briefly at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto for the Songwriters Hall of Fame gala in 2019. When discussing his Songwriters Hall of Fame induction that year, he told CBC “I’m 51 years old, but my backbone is still slidin’ man.”

Maestro Fresh Wes will perform with Gary Beals, TiKA, and Nefe, on February 25, 2021 at 7pm EST at the S.A.C. Celebration Series Black History Month concert event hosted by Rudy Blair, Rudy Blair Entertainment: Tickets and S.A.C. Press Kit.

Concert goes live at 7PM (EST) tonight – streaming to multiple platforms!

Logging on to the Livestream tonight:
All you will need to do is enter your name and email address and create a password to access the event here. The latest versions of Chrome or Firefox guarantee the best experience. 

On YouTube:
Tune in live on S.A.C.’s YouTube Channel. 

On Twitch: 
Tune in live on S.A.C.’s Twitch Channel. 

Discography (from Wiki)

  • 1989 symphony in effect
  • 1991 black tie affair
  • 1992 Maestro Zone
  • 1994 Naah Dis Kid Can’t Be From Canada
  • 1998 Built to Last
  • 2000 Ever Since
  • 2013 Orchestrated Noise
  • 2017 Coach Fresh
  • 2019 Champagne Campaign
  • Eps
  • 2012 Black Tuxedo
  • 2015 Compositions Volume 1
416-905 (Party Anthem)
Stick to your Vision (These Eyes)

Written by: Erik Twight

Erik Twight @VerInfusion, proprietor of Basil’s Books & Vinyl and Freelance Writer specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show on CIUT.fm (89.5FM Toronto) arranged thematically and with commentary.

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.

Isabelle Banos

Isabelle Banos

Isabelle Banos is a Montreal-based producer, songwriter and a founding member of thealternative pop band Caveboy, in which she plays bass and synthesizers. She has performed across Canada, showcased throughout the U.S., and participated in major music conferences all over the world.

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

I mostly work on music that falls somewhere under the “Pop” umbrella. I love creating songs that as many people as possible can connect with, and hopefully find some joy in. I really love bending and blending within the pop genre as much as I can. My sessions often involve some kind of sonic visit to past decades, creating wacky samples, superimposing beats, and just generally pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

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

I don’t have any formal music education and for a long time I used that as an excuse to hide out, I never really put myself out there. I always lacked the confidence to join the “boys club” that was the local music scene at the time. I would spend countless hours alone taking in free resources from the web; tutorial videos, blogs, podcasts, and everything in between. From there I started applying for every possible mentorship program that was available to me. I’ve had the privilege of working with some incredibly talented and generous people who not only supported my technical development, but who also helped foster the self-confidence I needed to finally realize “Hey I’m good at this and I have something special to offer!”

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

I do! I’ve written and produced music for tons of really cool and inspiring projects. I really enjoy getting a creative brief that outlines exactly what the director is looking for. It’s such a fun challenge trying to figure out how to create something completely new and unique based off of a very specific song reference. Then to actually hear your music in the film or show is such a cool feeling!

#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.

S.A.C. Black History Songwriters Series: Glenn Copeland

Photo taken by: Maria Jose Govea

In these socially desolate times with no live concerts or much else allowed, one can draw inspiration from Glenn Copeland.

An African American transgender man who moved to Canada as a woman in 1961 to study classical music, Copeland’s life has seen a great deal of change, both internal and societal.

Born Beverly Glenn-Copeland in Philadelphia to a musical household where his father sent him to learn piano with his own childhood instructor. This yielded poor results; intimidated by his father’s prowess, the younger Copeland avoided the instrument for years after.

In 1961, Copeland was among the first Black students admitted to McGill University, and felt isolated in the heterosexual atmosphere where transgender wasn’t yet a recognized term. Copeland lived as an out lesbian while at McGill, which nearly got him kicked out.

Accounts of these early years in Montreal describe Copeland alternately as a folk singer, a jazz artist and a blues singer.

Copeland decamped for Toronto in 1967 at the age of 23, seeking a break from academia.

In 1970, his first two albums were released, by CBC and GRT. Some CBC radio albums are identical to contemporary commercial releases by the same artist, but often we get completely different albums, within a year of each other, which is the case with Copeland’s first two self titled records. Working with Canadian heavyweights, including Doug Riley and Lenny Breau, the album is often considered a jazz record, but Copeland insists the music is not itself jazz; the jazzy chords appear in classical music and there is no improvisation or jazzy structure to the songs. The CBC record was recorded live, each song in one take, according to Copeland.

Unfortunately, nobody bought the GRT release, and the CBC one quickly slipped into obscurity. In a recent interview with Johnny Hockin for Redbull Music Academy, Copeland explained “… they didn’t even have a category to put it in. In those days, categories were absolutely critical. If you weren’t in a category, you just existed out in space somewhere.”

The music is moody, and the vocals often brooding. While the album went nowhere at the time, collectors hell-bent on owning the CBC original (250 copies pressed) can now pay about 1500$ for the privilege. It is now well regarded as an album compatible with the likes of contemporary Terry Callier or Maxine Weldon. The vocals are positively operatic at some points, soars in a controlled environment. Copeland’s next album was 13 years away, but he was still active in the Montreal music scene and recording in Toronto, with Bruce Cockburn and Ken Friesen from True North Records, as well as ex- Kensington Market and Edward Bear alumnus Gene Martynec. 

Copeland provided music for the local underground movie “Montreal Main” which yielded no commercial release, but a re-worked version of the title song was released on his 1983’s “At Last.” In the original movie version, he plays an organ and gives a sparse vocal delivery. The remake sounds like its early ‘80s vintage, with pounding drum tracks and newer keyboards.

Through the 1970’s and ‘80s, Copeland’s bread and butter gig was on the Mr. Dressup Show playing himself as Beverly. Mr. Dressup afforded Copeland plenty of studio tinkering time. He still lived a public life as ‘Beverley from Mr. Dressup,’ and “you couldn’t be transgender and writing for children,” so he remained Beverly despite having felt like a male since early childhood. 

This time to explore music creation resulted in an unsung cassette release that led to Copeland’s late life popularity among a younger crowd.

“Keyboard Fantasies” was released in 1986, recorded in relative isolation in rural Hunstville, Ontario. Copeland employed a then-new Atari computer platform with a basic drum machine and a built-in palette of sounds which simulate orchestra instruments. “If you squint your ears,” Copeland told Fiona Alison Duncan in Sense.com recently, “you can almost pretend it’s a violin. It also gave me access to sounds traditional instruments couldn’t make.” A Yamaha DX7 and Roland TR 707 were used in this remote environment to create a variety of soundscapes and songs.

Three decades passed. Then prominent Japanese record collector Ryota Masuko got in touch, bought the remaining cassettes from Copeland, and re-sold them to an appreciative clientele. A reissue followed, and at the age of 74, Copeland found himself preparing for a world tour. The material on “Keyboard Fantasies” was largely forgotten by this time, as Copeland told Devan Diaz at Papermag.com; “I don’t listen to my own music. When it’s done. That’s it. I might listen to it a bit after it’s finished, but usually I try to move on to the next thing.” Nonetheless, Copeland lent the master recordings he had to a reissue project. The 1970 CBC album has joined the other album from that year in an afterlife as a reissue. “Primal Prayer,” a 2004 album recorded under the name Phynix was reissued last year.

Perhaps it’s his 40-plus years practicing Buddhism, but Copeland can wait to finish a song. “Caspian’s Dream” took about 30 years and an hour or so. He explained to Fiona Alison Duncan, “in 1970, this 8-bar phrase came to me on guitar, and it was so haunting. I tried to come up with something for it, and I couldn’t. I revisited it three more times, and nothing. Then, about 8 years ago, the whole thing came through. Within an hour, a song was written and it’s a very deep thing.” 

From rural New Brunswick where he settled with his wife Elizabeth, touring took Copeland to Japan where he met Masuko, the d.j. who fired up Copeland’s stage career. Copeland tours with a 5-piece band and concentrates on songwriting instead of keyboards. He told Johnny Hockin, “people began asking me to play, and I thought why (now)- then I realized it was a younger generation that was interested in this stuff I had been writing all these years.”

Unfortunately, Covid spread far and fast, and Copeland like about everyone else, was caught up in the virus’ ongoing consequences. With a new reissue and world tour planned, the Copelands sold their New Brunswick home and started looking for a place in the Quebec Laurentians. The New Brunswick place sold, the music economy stopped, and the elderly couple found themselves in a jam. A crowdfunding endeavor and some other generous fans have kept the pair housed while their lives are on hold.

Glenn Copeland self-identified publicly as transgender in 2002 and has since adopted Glenn as his first name. His website is still https://beverlyglenncopeland.com/about where one can find most of Copeland’s music.

Last fall, Transmissions was released. It is a collection going back to 1970, including his first new song in 15 years. Copeland will be a part of Wavelength’s only festival on February 27th in partnership with Harbourfront’s Kuumba Festival online. Keyboard Fantasies will be reissued again this April, by the Transgressive label, on vinyl, cassette, and for the first time, on c.d. 

In a recent statement addressed to fans, Copeland shared “… I have listened to your recent musings about the hope the music inspires and the calm it brings, finally understanding that the transmissions sent through me from what I call the Universal Broadcasting System are helpful to accomplish the UBS’s purpose; namely, that of bringing us together as a single human family at last.”

Describing his modern success from an old cassette, Copeland explained his prior sense of resignation over his music releases to Papermag’s Devan Diaz; “I never thought this would happen… after so long, I just assumed I didn’t fit. I never knew there would be a time when not fitting in would fit. Now there is, thanks to your generation!” Sometimes obscurity and isolation of the day can yield music that tomorrow’s fans might enjoy. Something to consider in this unprecedented mass isolation we are going through in this cursed Covid-19 time.

Written by: Erik Twight

Erik Twight @VerInfusion, proprietor of Basil’s Books & Vinyl and Freelance Writer specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show on CIUT.fm (89.5FM Toronto) arranged thematically and with commentary.

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.

Jessie T

Whether performing live or virtually, Jessie T leaves it all on the stage. With the mind of a songwriter and the heart of a performer, her music takes you through love, heartache and everything in between. Jessie T’s voice blends country sweetness with a “pop-infused edge” raves Coral Andrews of the Waterloo Regional Record.

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

My introduction & love for music started from an early age in a super organic way – even though neither were career musicians, my Dad played guitar & my Mom loved to sing. Our house was always filled with music, from neighbour guitar nights to Charley Prides’ greatest hits playing through our house on vinyl.  

When I was 8, my parents put me in piano lessons. I always leaned towards playing popular music (Elton John’s ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’ was a personal favourite) but through pursuing conservatory grading, I lost the initial spark. I was moved into vocal lessons at the same music school & picked up playing the guitar on the side. My Dad taught me my first 4 chords – after that I was hooked. I started writing wrongs, met my producer in Kitchener & then moved to playing gigs locally in downtown Kingston. 

After high school, I also attended college for one year for a Music & Digital media course. It focused on skills that can assist with building a career in music – photoshop, photography, music history, ear training, etc.  

My relationship with music has very much been built through formal & informal ways. I think embracing both has helped shape my musicianship & love for the craft.

  • Do you have a process to songwriting or when creating music? How did you get your start as a creator in the industry?

Songwriting has always been something I’ve been highly fascinated by, even as a creator. Quite often I’ll look back at songs I’ve written and think “how cool is that!” that certain lyrical ideas or melodies just found their way into that moment.

I have always been a pen to paper kind of girl, until the convenience of Google Docs came to be for co-writes. The songs I write usually come from topics I hear in conversations – talking to a friend or ones overhead in everyday life. Another common place I draw inspiration from are conversations or situations I play through in my head- reliving moments to find little details or rehaving conversations to say things left unsaid. I find it super therapeutic to write about those things.

I started seriously creating after meeting my producer Rick Hutt at 15. My Dad & I started writing and the first one we finished was called Shadows. It was about one of his friends who lost his son to cancer- “A shadow over my shoulder but no one at my side”.

The rest of my career as a creator/artist/performer has embracing opportunities and people that have come in to my path. Never be afraid to have a conversation or ask questions.

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

As stated above, my biggest piece of advice would be to network. The longer I’m in this industry, the more I recognize how small ‘the circle’ is & how connected everyone is to one another. There are so many creators out there for you to work with, try new things!

Collaborate with people who inspire you: Create a list of dream collaborations & send people messages – social media is a great thing for that! Make sure you have a solid/clean product to send & reach out.

Invest in your craft: If you’re not willing to invest in it, why would anyone else? Put the time in to learning your instrument or researching different writing techniques. The same as any business, you need to put in the work.

Embrace opportunities: Never take advantage of people or situations that come in to your path, but be ready to embrace opportunities when they come your way. People like to work with people who work hard, create good product & have a vision. Take time to learn what makes you authentically you & follow that.

Most of all, have fun: Follow paths that make you excited- excitement will generate better product! Everyone in any career is allowed to have tough days but make sure you’re enjoying your journey.

#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.