Pro Member Interview – Steve Smith

Steve Smith - SM

As a partner in the SA TrackWorks and Brkthbeat teams, Steve has co-written, produced and mixed songs for acts signed to the world’s leading labels, including J Records, Universal, Sony, Atlantic, Warner, Jive, Capitol/EMI, and Avex. 

With albums sales over 17 million world wide, he has had songs that have been recorded by such international artists as: Loverboy (Canada), Stacie Orrico (USA), Rouge (Brasil), Tohoshinki (Japan) and Namie Amuro (Asia) as well as having multiple top 10 hits in Canada. 

Their award winning #1 song “Surrender” by Altantic Recording Artist, Laura Pausini was at the time the most radio played song written by Canadians and performed by a foreign artist and reached U.S. Billboard Number One. They have had their songs featured in films and TV including: YTV – The Next Star, Disney’s – Austin And Ally, and American Idol. SA Trackworks also wrote and produced a single for the mega U.S. group Smash Mouth of “All Star” fame and most recently; Meghan Patrick recorded their co-written song, “Forever Ain’t Enough Time”, with guest vocals by the legend Vince Gill. 

This year, Steve, known as Steve In The Mix on his social networks, has started a YouTube channel to guide up and coming songwriters, singers, rappers, and producers on the come up. We have created our very own Youtube playlist featuring all of Steve’s videos. Go check it out!

 

  • Do you write for other recording/performing artists?

Writing and producing for other recording artist is mostly what I do. You wouldn’t want to hear me sing. I do know what an excellent performance sounds like and I feel like I can recognize when a song is unique and compelling. Working with an artist who is able to make a song come alive is a privilege. 

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

It was a mix of both. I started as a musician, went to college to study music performance and had my eyes opened to the high level of musicianship that makes a world-class performer. My informal training, but perhaps higher level training, happened as I found myself in the room when master producers and songwriters were at work. The recording studio always fascinated me, and I was lucky enough to learn the craft of songwriting from people who were professionals. I learned about the apparent things like structure, chord changes, approach to lyric writing, but the magic happened when great songwriters used the tools to create emotion. I’m still a student of songwriting, producing and mixing. I love that aspect of it. 

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

Collaboration is key. Learning to collaborate is a skill in itself. It’s a great recipe for staying fresh. So many times a crazy idea is just one adjustment away from being a brilliant idea. Be brave enough to throw all ideas into the room. Sometimes they bounce back in ways that are incredible.

 

#thePROSofSAC #CreatorsCount #MusicCreatorsUnite 

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Pro Member Interview – Treasa Levasseur

Treasa Levasseur - SM.png

Treasa trained in both classical piano and musical theatre before finding her calling as a singer songwriter.  Her songs are witty, heartfelt and often sassy, just like Treasa.  She has released 3 full length albums and 2 EPS, with her rhythm and blues influenced Low Fidelity garnering her a Juno nomination.  She is also a successful community arts facilitator, Canadian Representative for Folk Alliance International, pop up choir leader, and proudly writes songs with kids every week as part of her Jam 101 program for An Instrument For Every Child in Hamilton.  Her favourite side hustle is a tie between playing accordion in Corin Raymond’s band and being a columnist on CBC’s flagship book show, The Next Chapter.

Below is our interview with Treasa, enjoy!

 

  • What inspires you to create music?

The world around me, the connection I can make with other people, and the high of making something from nothing.

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

I started out as a backing musician, but once I got out on the road I realized I wanted to share my own perspective with audiences.

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

I could list so many folks, but a short list of amazing Canadian Women includes Erin Costello, Amelia Curran, Tanika Charles, Rose Cousins, Irish Mythen, Shakura S’Aida, Hill Kourkoutis, Lydia Persaud…

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

88 keys and a journal.

 

#thePROSofSAC #CreatorsCount #MusicCreatorsUnite

S.A.C. Black History Songwriters Series: Lillian Allen

LillianAllen

Writer; Poet; Performer; dub poetry embodies these three characteristics, distinguishing it from singers or poets. As a pioneer in the dub poetry world, Lillian Allen has written, recorded and performed for decades. The Juno award winner has published books, advised community advocacy groups and the government alike on various social issues and now teaches at Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD University).

“Black History Month reminds me of the soulfulness of my ancestors whose vestiges of heritage and culture we carry with us as a people everywhere we go; what an amazing connection this gives us. We are like our own worldwide web. Black History Month calls on not just Black people but our entire country to reflect on and celebrate the resistance, hopes, sacrifices and achievements of Black people & our culture and our vital contribution to human enterprise, both tangible and intangible. It should also be a reminder that unequal societal conditions, marginalization, lack of opportunities especially among a section of our youth, was not always so and can and must be countered with culture, economic upliftment and participation in society’s processes.”

Lillian Allen grew up in Spanish Town, Jamaica and emigrated to Kitchener/Waterloo Canada in 1969 and later moved to New York City to pursue her studies and back to Canada where she settled in Toronto in the mid 1970’s.

Reading and performing her brand of poetry at community events to much accolades, her first of many books, Rhythm an’ Hard Times was published in 1982. Her first recording came out the following year. Active in Toronto’s arts & culture scenes, she collaborated with many musicians and artists.

Allen’s interest in writing and performing dub poetry received a jolt when she encountered the original dub poet Oku Onuora at a 1978 writers’ conference in Cuba. Onuora recorded the first dub poetry album, “Reflections in Red,” in 1979. Music is a fundamental component of dub poetry; the beat, usually reggae, is meant to add momentum to the uttered verses.

Lillian Allen was part of the first wave of dub poets including Mutabaraka and Linton Kwesi Johnson, credited with coining the term in a 1976 article. Johnson later explained he was referring to the rise of “toasting” among Jamaican deejays which developed into chattering or even singing along with extant songs and instrumentals. Dub Poetry is not toasting or “singjaying” though; there is a gravitas to the words which is not a requirement in reggae singing or toasting.

She explains in De Dub Poets her desire “to work within a form whose aim was to increase the dynamism of poetry, to increase it’s impact and immediacy, a poetic form that could incorporate many aspects of other art forms: performance, drama, fiction, theatre” and other elements. Her records “Revolutionary Tea Party” (1986) and “Conditions Critical” (1988) won Juno awards.

Allen co-founded the Dub Poetry Collective in between publishing books and performing live before assuming a new role, as a professor, at OCAD University.

Allen is currently developing a new BFA program in creative writing. The program will include performing, digital art forms and other elements integral to creative expression in 2019.

 

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.

 

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Click here to listen to Lillian Allen’s new single on S.A.C.’s Spotify playlist Ep. 5 Black History Songwriters Series

 

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Playlist:

Song: Revolutionary Tea Party

Performed by: Lillian Allen

Written by: Lillian Allen

Source: Discogs

 

Song: Rub A Dub Style Inna Regent Park

Performed by: Lillian Allen

Written by: Lillian Allen

Source: Discogs

 

Song: Conditions Critical

Performed by: Lillian Allen

Written by: Lillian Allen

Source: Discogs

 

Song: I Dream a Redwood

Performed by: Lillian Allen

Written by: Lillian Allen

Source: AllMusic

 

Song: Woken & Unbroken

Performed by: Lillian Allen

Written by: Lillian Allen

Source: Spotify

 

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 – Andrew Allen

andrew allen - sm

Allen’s DIY ability and optimistic attitude have served him well. He’s scored five Top 10 hits in Canada, 2009’s “I Wanna Be Your Christmas”, 2010’s “Loving You Tonight” which was lodged in the upper reaches of the charts for more than 22 weeks. 2011’s “I Want You”, 2015’s “What You Wanted” and 2016’s “Favourite Christmas Song”! 

His benchmark single “Loving You Tonight” was a lilting, sunny tune about an ideal romance, “Loving You Tonight” helped put Andrew on tour with acts like Bruno Mars, One Republic, Andy Grammer, The Script, Train, Joshua Radin and The Barenaked Ladies… with the official music video garnering more than 4 million views and over 100,000 copies sold worldwide. 

As a songwriter, Andrew’s written with some incredible writers and artists, including Meghan Trainor, Rachel Platten, Carly Rae Jepsen, Tyler Shaw, and Toby Gad (writer of ‘All of Me’ – John Legend, ‘If I Were a Boy’ – Beyonce, ‘Bigs Girls Don’t Cry’ – Fergie etc) to name a few… and is credited with writing songs for Nick Howard (winner of the Voice Germany), Germany pop icon Mario Novembre and EDM singles for Project 46, Ilan Bluestone and the song ‘Last Chance’ that can be found on Kaskade’s Grammy Nominated album as well as the Quadruple Platinum Italian smash “Ad Occhi Chiusi” which was co-written by Matt Simons for Italian Superstar Marco Mengoni and Latin America’s boy band CD9’s Gold selling song ‘Dime’. 

In addition, you may have heard his songs featured in various TV Shows and Movies, including the blockbuster Taylor Lautner film ‘Abduction’, reality show ‘The Bachelor’, UP Networks ‘Bringing up Bates’ and the most recent Folger’s Coffee commercial! 

Radio play and songwriting aside, Andrew is a true live performer with an exceptional voice, incredible songs, some serious live looping chops and limitless energy… not too mention a spatter of comic wit and story-telling ability that helps create a dynamic and interactive live show. He’s definitely an artist that embodies the term ‘live’.

Below is our interview with Andrew Allen:

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

When I started writing I was just writing off the cuff, just spit balling it thinking of whatever I could think of. And, after working with a lot of other writers and collaborating (which can be awkward at first I recognized how important it is to be poignant in what you’re saying to keep away a lot of the extras bits and pieces and to really hone in to what exactly you’re trying to say in the lyric and also to pair it well melodically. And so, I think that the evolution of my own writing has become much more refined and I recognize that it’s definitely a muscle you need to continue work on and if you don’t it gets weak. So a lot of people are like “I’m not inspired to write today” and I disagree with that. I think that you need to write as often as you possible can to keep that muscle active. 

  • What is your fondest musical memory?

So, this is probably about 2 1/2 years ago maybe more. I had flown a friend out to LA where I was living at the time and I said lets write some songs. So the first song we wrote was terrible (haha). And then then second (the next morning) – I had gone to bed the night before and my wife had said to me “I’m very, very confident that I’m pregnant and I’m having a baby girl.” And we hadn’t figured it out for sure yet, but she was very convinced and I believed her. So the next morning I didn’t want to tell him that but I felt very inspired to write sort of a life song. And I all of sudden realized “Wow, I never thought about being a dad and the fact that maybe one day I could also be a Grandfather.” So him and I wrote a song called “Time” and it took us about 45 minutes and it just came out and it was all about the times that you would want to teach to that little human. The neat thing for me was that we recorded a demo of it and I sent it to my publisher and about a year later they contacted me and said they wanted to use it in a Folgers commercial and I thought “that sounds amazing!”. But you never know what those commercials are going to be. So when I saw the commercial, there’s a little girl sitting at breakfast bar and she’s colouring and her Dad comes down and pours coffee into a to-go mug and then he’s about to leave the house and realizes “No, I think I’m going to stay” and he pours his coffee into a #1 stay at home mug and sits down beside his little girl. So the fact that they used a song that was inspired by the birth of my daughter to represent this moment was really special to me.

  • What would be your advice to other creators?

I think .. always challenge yourself. I think if you are writing a song and you’re like “this is the best song I’ve ever written” or whatever – Y’know, Rachel Platten – She’s a great inspiration on this front where before she released “fight song” she wrote a hundred songs before it. And if you talk to other Artists, they just keep churning it out. And not to say your first song isn’t your best song but I think that a lot of new writers will say to me “How do I get a publishing deal? How do I get a record deal?” And my advice to them is always that people want to get onboard a moving train and you have to be moving and challenge yourself. If you’re trying to write songs for the radio, listen to the radio and see what’s coming out and compare your songs against them. And if they’re not good enough write harder, write better, and collaborate. Challenge yourself – that’s my advice. 

#MusicCreatorsUnite #CreatorsCount #thePROSofSAC

Pro Member Interview – Winston Hauschild

winston hauschild - sm

Winston Hauschild is a Canadian songwriter and record producer with an ear for new talent. Producing breakthrough recordings for emerging artists, he’s helped launch the careers of everyone from two-time Juno Award nominee Hannah Georgas and folk artist Mike Edel to indie pop artist Nat Jay, nominated for Pop Recording of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards in 2015. 

Winston also produced Wanting, the first Chinese artist to be signed to Nettwerk Music Group. Their collaboration, her debut album, Everything in the World, went multi- platinum and won numerous awards, including Album of the Year at the Chinese version of the Grammy Awards. Soon after, Wanting received 15 Best New Artist Awards across Asia and performed to 700 million people during Mainland China’s televised New Year’s Gala (CCTV) in 2012. 

Dedicated to helping diverse artists navigate a tough industry, Winston is an artist’s producer. A songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and former recording artist signed to Aquarius Records, Winston grew up in the Canadian music scene – whether playing small towns as the teenage frontman of his first band or as a touring musician playing hockey arenas. 

A vocal supporter of arts funding and education, Winston sits on the Board of Directors for Music BC, a non-profit industry association dedicated to the growth and sustainability of British Columbia’s music community. He’s also served as a producer/mentor for the Peak Performance Project’s Boot Camp, an artist development program with career-changing cash prizes for top performers sponsored by Vancouver radio station, The Peak 102.7 FM. 

Always searching for the best new sounds for his various projects, Winston splits his time between some of Vancouver’s top commercial studios and his private studio in the woods on Bowen Island. Below is our interview with Winston:

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

 I’ve been writing songs and making records for 28 years now.  I started by playing in numerous bands and touring the country many times.  Around 2005 I was producing records for other groups and singer-songwriters.  This inevitably led to lots of co-writes and opportunities to help build artists’ careers from the ground up.

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

 I was taught guitar by my parents at a young age and took a handful of piano lessons.  I always learned by ear and gave up on the theory side of things.  When it came to producing, I just watched the producers I was working with from all my early years in bands.  A lot!  I skipped going to audio school and learned everything by trial and error.  

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

A few years ago I had one of my songs cut by an artist from Hong Kong.  It was really interesting to hear my lyrics re-written in Cantonese and hear how the producers interpreted the sound and vibe of the tune.   So cool!

#CreatorsCount #thePROSofSAC #MusicCreatorsUnite

Pro Member Interview – Jenn Grant

jenn grant - sm

Jenn Grant is a multi award-winning artist. Her latest record Paradise was
the third highest selling and streamed new album in Canada week of
release. Paradise is the follow up to her 2015 Compostela, which earned
Jenn two Juno nominations for both Songwriter as well as Contemporary
Album of the Year.

Below is our interview with Jenn Grant:

  • What inspires you to create music?

My inspiration comes from Discovery. Whether it’s music I hear from other bands or songwriters, going to see a live show, or having the opportunity to dig into dig into an album on our record player. If I didn’t have access to other people’s art I think I would still make music, but it would be a very different experience. Hearing music that I find exciting or moving in some way just makes me want to write until I get a similar kind of feeling. the potential to make something that will resonate with peoples hearts is what I am all about. 

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

I don’t like to confine myself to genres. I never felt the need to be put into a certain box, and in that way I think it was hard for people to categorize me. But as an artist it has given me a real sense of freedom, and become part of my story. If music is good and authentic it’s worth exploring. For me music is often about taking artistic risks and I would really miss that element of the creative process if I felt confined to one genre. I do like to dip into elements of folk, pop, rock and country and I feel comfortable floating between all of those ‘genres’ to create my own type of sound. 

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

I started writing songs when I was a kid. From about age 8 onwards I would write songs in my diary and just sing them out loud by myself somewhere outside where and when I knew I’d be completely alone. I took a few guitar lessons at the age of 12 which really gave me a sense of freedom and discovery, however there wasn’t a lot of guitar training as the teacher liked my voice and kept asking me to sign Anne Murray songs as he played guitar. I eventually just learned the basic chords and did it on my own. I started writing lots of songs on the guitar but kept it hidden for a decade. I felt shy and nervous about it and that stage fright was a really daunting thing for me until I was ready to perform for an audience. 

I never had any formal education in music except for a few voice lessons, which was about vocal health, and not about style at all. My teacher knew I was concerned about losing my voice as I had pre vocal modules and we worked together for one year alongside an ENT Doctor to get me back in good health. I think every singer should learn about vocal health and the techniques to keep them singing without harm. 

I still want to take piano lessons as I’ve been writing a lot on the piano over the last few years, but formal teaching and schools never really worked for me. I have always been very eager to learn, and very visual, and have found my own path to being able to create without training. But I still have a lot to learn and someday maybe I’ll find the right teacher!

#MusicCreatorsUnite #CreatorsCount #thePROSofSAC

10.28.18 - 10.30.18 (4)

Happy New Year Everyone! Here we have our first of many playlists for 2019. Ep. 4. New Year, New Playlist. This playlists consists of member submissions we had over the course of the last few months. Be sure to give it a listen and subscribe for updates!

You can check out our Spotify Channel “Songwriters Assoc. of Canada” Here.

You can stream Ep. 4. New Year, New Playlist Here.

The featured artists and songs are below:

Steph Copeland, Russel Louder – Who You Gotta Love

Performed by: Russell Louder, Steph Copeland

Written by: Steph Copeland

Source: Steph Copeland

Freek Van Workum, Steph Copeland – Little Boxes

Performed by: Freek Van Workum, Steph Copeland

Source: Datahead Publishing

 

Michelle Thibodeau – Easy Target

Performed by: Michelle Thibodeau

Written by: Michelle Day Thibodeau

Source: Michelle Thibodeau

 

Sound Activism – Gasoline, Gasoline (The World’s Aflame)

Performed by: Sound Activism

Written by: Franke James, Billiam James, Missy D

Source: The James Gang, Iconoclast Inc.

 

Billiam James – Akathisia (I Can’t Sit Still)

Performed by: Billiam James

Written by: Billiam James

Source: The James Gang, Iconoclasts Inc.

 

Michelle Creber, Baasik, Gabriel Brown – Getting Stronger

Performed by: Michelle Creber, Baasik, Gabriel Brown

Source: Creber, Brown & Co.

 

Sweet SantaFe – Just a Simple Thought

Performed by: Sweet SantaFe

Source: 698124 Records DK

 

Emma Lamontagne – I Don’t Sleep

Performed by: Emma Lamontagne

Written by: Emma Lamontagne, Robyn Dell’Unto

Source: Festival House Incorporated / Fontana North

 

Amir Brandon – Fallback

Performed by: Amir Brandon

Written by: Amir Brandon Zadegan, Rosanne Baker Thornley

Source: Amir Brandon

 

Justine Blanchet – Feelin’ Free

Performed by: Justine Blanchet

Written by: Jennifer Rae Camche

Source: Justine Blanchet

 

Justine Blanchet, Dean Young – Ready to Fly

Performed by: Justine Blanchet, Dean Young

Written by: Dean W Young, Jennifer Rae Camche, Justine Blanchet, Samuel Mendoza

Source: Justine Blanchet

 

Justine Blanchet – Sing Like No One’s Watching

Performed by: Justine Blanchet

Written by: Justine Blanchet, Samuel Mendoza

Source: Justine Blanchet

 

Justine Blanchet – Young Love

Performed by: Justine Blanchet

Written by: Jennifer Rae Camche, Justine Blanche, Terry Robert Fernihough

Source: Justine Blanchet

 

Specyal T – Lady Shame

Performed by: Specyal T

Written by: Specyal T

Source: Independent

 

Pat Reid – Still in Love with You

Performed by: Pat Reid

Written by: Patrick Gordon Anthony Reid

Source: Pat Reid

 

Sam Louis – So Long California

Performed by: Sam Louis

Written by: Sam Ligiliazza

Source: Flying Colours Music, Inc.

 

Nat Jay – Can’t Getcha Out

Performed by: Nat Jay

Source: Nat Jay

 

Tuesday Jam Band – Stars in Your Eyes

Performed by: Tuesday Jam Band

Written by: David R. Petrie, Geoffrey Vankeel Loucks, Robert E. L. Armitage

Source: Virginiavankleek Enterprise Inc.

 

Tuesday Jam Band – Glad You’re Here

Performed by: Tuesday Jam Band

Written by: David R. Petrie, Geoffrey Vankeel Loucks, Robert E. L. Armitage

Source: Virginiavankleek Enterprise Inc.

 

Stacey James – When It’s Not Right

Performed by: Stacey James

Source: Stacey James

 

The Young Novelists – Back to the Hard Times

Performed by: The Young Novelists

Written by: Graydon James

Source: The Young Novelists

 

The Young Novelists – Two of a Kind

Performed by: The Young Novelists

Written by: Graydon James

Source: The Young Novelists

 

Tommy Vixon – Fallen in Love Again (Remix)

Performed by: Tommy Vixon

Written by: Thomas John Hodgson

Source: Tommy Vixon

 

Dana Ben David – Signs (I Wish I Knew)

Performed by: Dana Ben David

Source: Dana Ben David

 

Dana Ben David – Wild Thoughts

Performed by: Dana Ben David

Source: Dana Ben David

 

Rebecca Lappa – Poison Rose

Performed by: Rebecca Rose

Written by: Michael Hanson, Rebecca Lappa

Source: Radar Love Records

 

Katrina Bishop – Mr. Jealousy, Wanna Be, Rocket Launch, Giddy Up

Performed by: Katrina Bishop

Written by: Katrina Ann Bishop

Source: Grizelda Records

 

Justine Giles – I’m Done, Poppy

Performed by: Justine Giles

Written by: Justine Erin Giles

Source: Justine Giles

Lexxicon – Waistline

Performed by: Lexxicon

Written by: Angelo Robb

Source: Lexxicon

 

Katie Marti – Not a Love Song

Performed by: Katie Marti

Written by: Katherine A. Marti

Source: Katie Marti

 

Steve Sofferin – The Game

Performed by: Steve Sofferin

Written by: Steven Craig Sofferin

Source: Steve Sofferin

 

Angela Saini – Black Sheep

Performed by: Angela Saini

Written by: Angela Elizabeth Saini, Lori Ann Kelley

Source: Angela Saini

 

Sheila Soares – Our Kisses Melt the Snow

Performed by: Sheila Soares

Source: Independent

 

Sweet SantaFe – Just a Simple Thought

Performed by: Sweet SantaFe

Source: 698124 Records DK

 

Sarah Noni – For You

Performed by: Sarah Noni

Source: Independent

 

Joe Mathieu – Wisdom, Love me or Leave Me

Performed by: Joe Mathieu

Written by: Joseph Wayne Mathieu

Source: Joe Mathieu

 

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.