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.

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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.

Pro Member Interview – Deric Ruttan

Deric Ruttan is a Grammy-nominated, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and a Canadian country music artist.  The writer of multiple #1 country songs, Deric was raised just outside Bracebridge, Ontario, on land where his great grandfather made moonshine in the 1930’s.  It was the perfect backdrop for the singer/songwriter, who grew up listening to everything from CCR to Gordon Lightfoot to Johnny Cash. 

After touring with several country bar bands, Deric moved to Nashville, where his unique outlook and delivery attracted the attention and praise of songwriters Don Schlitz, Steve Earle, and Steve Bogard.  Deric has had over 70 songs recorded by other artists, including cuts by Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley, Darius Rucker, Justin Moore and David Nail to name a few.  Bentley’s chart-toppers “What Was I Thinkin’”, (Billboard #1), and “Lot Of Leavin’ Left To Do” (Radio & Records #2) are Ruttan co-writes, as are the Eric Church hits,  “Guys Like Me” and “Hell On The Heart” (Mediabase #8).  Since signing with THiS Music/Warner Chappell, Deric’s songwriting star has continued to rise.  In November 2013, he celebrated a multi-week #1 song when “Mine Would Be You”, recorded by country superstar and The Voice judge Blake Shelton, was a three-week number one (Billboard) for the artist.  “Mine Would Be You” was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Country Song, and an ACM Award for Song Of The Year.  In June 2016 Deric celebrated his second Blake Shelton #1 hit with the introspective “Came Here To Forget”. 

In July 2016, MCA Nashville’s David Nail took the Ruttan summer anthem “Night’s On Fire” to #10 on the Mediabase chart, and in April of 2017 Deric celebrated his 4th #1 country single when Jason Aldean took his song “Any Ol’ Barstool” to the top of both the Billboard and Mediabase country charts.  An ASCAP (8x), SOCAN (10x), CCMA (Canadian Country Music Association) (2x), and CMAO (Country Music Association Of Ontario) (5x) award winner, Deric has headlined 4 of his own coast-to-coast tours in Canada, where he has had 11 Top 10 singles as an artist, and 2 #1 videos on CMT.  He is currently in the studio recording music for a new EP, to be released on his own independent label, Black T Records.  He lives just outside Nashville, TN with his wife Margaret.

  • What inspires you to create music?

Fear of poverty.  No, but seriously…the fact that I have a family to support is my inspiration to work everyday writing songs, recording songs, and trying to get songs recorded. For me, inspiration shows up when I do.  You have to show up, inspired or not, and get to work.  Hopefully, inspiration will show up at some point during the process.

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

My preferred method is to start with a title that inspires me. Also, coffee. Lots of coffee.  Then, I like to kind of sketch out a storyline of how I see the song unfolding – not literally sketch it out, but have a general idea of how the song is going to go.  This can be in my head if writing alone or something I talk through with a co-writer.  After I have an idea and a general outline that I’m excited about, I pick up a guitar and get to work on melody.

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

This is a hard question to answer…not sure when the “start” was…but as far as my professional songwriting career goes, I signed my first publishing deal in Nashville in 1996 – a year and a half after moving here.  Music row veteran Jerry Crutchfield signed me to my first publishing deal and paid me to write songs.  He was the first person here to pay me to create.

  • Do you write for other recording/performing artists?

Yes.

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

I’ve certainly written some pop-leaning country songs, but most of my activity (as far as songs I’ve written that have been recorded by others), have been pretty mainstream county sounding songs.

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

Cell phone (only because that’s where I write down my titles and ideas), guitar, lap top, online rhyming dictionary.  In that order. Oh, and coffee. Lots of coffee.

  • If the music community could do one thing better what would it be?

Be more united when it comes to facing down those who seek to use our content for free (streaming services, for example).  If we (labels, publishers, artists, songwriters) were better at speaking in one clear, united voice, it would be a great thing.

#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.

Pro Member Interview – Darryl James

Darryl James - SM
http://songwriters.ca/member/DarrylJames

Darryl James has been writing and touring with the Strumbellas for the past 9 years and has seen one of his co-written songs “Spirits” become an international hit going “Double Platinum” in Canada, “Gold” in the USA and “Gold” in Germany. “Spirits” also have over 120 million Spotify streams and over 54 million Youtube streams worldwide, so Darryl understands what it takes to write a hit single! 

Over the past 2 years, Darryl has made songwriting one of his main priorities with the goal of writing songs with for other artists. In the last 6-12 months, Darryl is now co-writing with grammy nominated artists and producers regularly, signed a recent publishing deal with Kobalt Music Publishing, and has judged for both SOCAN and CARAS for various industry awards. 

  • What inspires you to create music?
I love creating music that connects with people and what they’re going through in their lives. When fans tell me that my music relates to them in any way, it means the world to me and inspires me to write more!
  • Do you have a process to your songwriting or when creating music?
Yes. First, I create the melody and chords in a voice memo. From there, I try to write another melody to connect the two or co-write with someone to create something unique. I generally work on lyrics last.
  • How did you get your start as a creator in the industry?
I’m an original member in the band, The Strumbellas. It was my first band, and first time experiencing the industry.
  • How has your music evolved since you first became a recording/performing artist?
In The Strumbellas, we try to work with a new producer every record and push our sound to something new, and exciting. Each of us in the band is always trying to find new music that inspires us and then build from in our own projects.

  • Do you write for other recording/performing artists?
Yes. I am signed to a publisher called, Kobalt Music Publishing. I pitch songs to other artists and for sync opportunities.
  • Do you tend to write for one genre, or do you find your music crosses genre lines?
I enjoy writing for other genres, but feel most comfortable in writing folk/country songs.
  • Have you faced any major economic, social or political hurdles as a music creator?
Economically, the first 8 years of being in The Strumbellas was a struggle. I ran my own consulting business on the side, just to make enough money to support being in the band, and supporting my family.
  • Do you have any musical influences who have influenced your style, or who you give a “nod” to whenever possible?
Our lead writer in The Strumbellas, Simon Ward. He writes “Huge” hooks and is always working to write better songs. It has been inspiring to learn from him throughout the last 10 years, and he’s influenced my work ethic and style for songwriting.
  • If you could collaborate with any other music creator, who would that be?
To be honest, I love collaborating with anyone. I find the experience so memorable and inspiring.
  • How did you learn your craft – was it a “formal” or “informal” music education?
It was very informal. I played guitar around the camp fire and then transitioned to bass guitar and song writing, but that wasn’t until I was in my 20’s. Therefore, never be worried about when and how you start writing your first songs. It can happen anytime.
  • Do you have any advice for upcoming songwriters and creators who are looking to break further into the creative scene?
Write as many songs as you can, and don’t be scared to co-write with other creators.
  • What is your fondest musical memory or favourite piece of music you’ve written?
My fondest memory is when our song, “Spirits” climbed the USA alternative charts and reached #1 for 3 weeks. The excitement and opportunities that song presented over the last few years were life changing and inspired much of my current work.
  • What is the most important “tool” you need when creating, eg. GarageBand, google docs, your cell phone, Pro Tools, or a pad of paper?
I’d say a voice recorder and a note pad. When you feel inspired or even when you don’t feel inspired, write some melodies and lyrics at any time of the day, and go back and listen every month or so.
  • Do you ever compose for film/tv/video games? What’s that like?
I’ve started to write songs to pitch to film and television and in The Strumbellas, we’ve had a lot of sync placements with our last record. Overall, it is an amazing experience to hear a song you’ve co-written in a film, commercial or video game. And, even more rewarding when fans/friends come up to you and tell you about those placements!
  • How can S.A.C. help you?
I’d love to use the S.A.C to build my songwriter’s professional network by going to songwriting camps and connecting with other writer’s.
  • If the music community could do one thing better what would it be?
For the industry to be more inclusive of females and minority groups in leadership roles along with equalling out the opportunities for females/minority groups in the recording/production, and live music scenes.
  • What do you see in the future for songwriting and music creators like yourself? 
With the internet, and the ability to put your songs out into the world within seconds, I feel like the opportunities are endless. 15 years ago that really wasn’t possible, and I’ve seen first hand how a songwriter can be found from a song on a SoundCloud link or Youtube video.
#ThePROSofSAC #CreatorsCount #MusicCreatorsUnite

S.A.C. International Women’s Day Focus: Salome Bey

Salome Bey_ International Women's Day March 8, 2019 (IG) (4)

She’s won awards for her stage work – singing, acting, and writing. She toured the U.S. with her brother and sister, billed as Andy and the Bey Sisters. The sibling act also toured Europe. Touring brought Salome Bey to her soon-to-be-adopted country, Canada, in 1961. She would settle here permanently some five years later.

Salome Bey was born in Newark, one of nine children, on October 10, 1933. Bey played music from an early age, but didn’t release her own records until 1970, when, perhaps making up for lost time, both CBC and Canadian Talent Library (with Quality Records) each put out eponymous Salome Bey albums. To add to that confusion, some, but not all the cuts appear on both records.

Starting with “Spring Thaw” in Toronto in 1969, Bey performed in stage musicals through much of the 1970’s, bouncing between New York City and Toronto. She recorded vocals on a couple of Horace Silver albums in the early 1970’s. Galt McDermot’s record label, released “Songs from Dude” in 1972. He wrote the songs which Bey sang in her lead role in the Broadway production.

Bey found success on and off Broadway, winning an OBIE (Off-Broadway theatre award) for “Love Me, Love My Children.” On Broadway, “Your Arms Are Too Short To Box With God” resulted in a Grammy nomination for the original cast recording.

In 1978-79, Bey wrote and starred in “Indigo,” a musical production about the history of Black music. She also played a string of European jazz festivals, and some of this material was released by Radio Canada (French CBC) as “Jazz Canada Europe” in 1979. Bey’s voice can also be heard on some live recordings by The Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir.

Continuing to celebrate the history of Black music, Bey, wrote and directed shows featuring Black female blues singers, including Madame Gertrude, about Ma Rainy which starred Jackie Richardson. “Sweetmama” was a staged biography Ethel Waters.

Salome Bey wrote and directed shows that showcased black female blueswomen — a play called “Madame Gertrude” (about Ma Rainey, the mother of the blues, and starred Jackie Richardson), also a play called “Sweetmama” (about the life and times of Ethel Waters)

Dubbed “Canada’s First Lady of the Blues,” Salome Bey received the Order of Canada award in 2005.

Sadly, she began showing signs of dementia in her 60’s, and she will not be able to perform in public again.

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.

Spotify Ep. 6

Playlist:

Song: Washed Away
Written and performed by: Salome Bey
Album: I Like Your Company
Source: Duke Street Records

Song: Untitled Love Song
Written and performed by: Salome Bey
Album: I Like Your Company
Source: Duke Street Records

Song: I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart
Written and performed by: Salome Bey
Album: I Like Your Company
Source: Duke Street Records

Song: Young At Heart
Written and performed by: Salome Bey
Album: I Like Your Company
Source: Duke Street Records

Song: Am I Blue
Written and performed by: Salome Bey
Album: I Like Your Company
Source: Duke Street Records

Song: A Kiss To Build A Dream On
Written and performed by: Salome Bey
Album: I Like Your Company
Source: Duke Street Records

Song: Warrior
Performed by: SATE
Written by: Saidah Matthews, Thomas McKay
Produced by: David Click Cox
Album: Red Black & Blue
Release Year: 2016
Source: Discogs

Song: Know My Name
Performed by: SATE
Written by: Saidah Matthews, Hill Kourkoutis
Produced by: David Click Cox
Album: Red Black & Blue
Release Year: 2016
Source: Discogs

Song: Mama Talk To Me
Performed by: SATE
Written by: Saidah Matthews, Thomas McKay
Produced by: David Click Cox
Album: Red Black & Blue
Release Year: 2016
Source: Discogs

Song: The Answer
Performed by: SATE
Written by: Saidah Matthews, W.Mccord
Produced by: David Click Cox
Album: Red Black & Blue
Release Year: 2016
Source: Discogs

Song: Dirty Little Lie
Performed by: SATE
Written by: SATE, Hill Kourkoutis, Merna Bishouty, Ricky Tillo
Produced by: David Click Cox
Album: Dirty Little Lie
Release Year: 2019
Source: YouTube, Discogs

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: Molly Johnson

Molly Johnson press photo
http://www.mollyjohnson.com
Known as one of Canada’s greatest voices, award-winning jazz vocalist Molly Johnson is a mother, singer-songwriter, artist and philanthropist, who has just released her highly anticipated new album, “Meaning To Tell Ya”. Produced by multiple GRAMMY Award winning Producer, Larry Klein.

Approaching 60 years on Earth and almost as many on stage, Molly Johnson has been active in Toronto music since appearing in 1960’s stage musicals in her native Toronto.

The six time JUNO nominee has recorded interpretations of everyone from Billie Holiday to Marvin Gaye, as well as writing her own songs. Johnson’s latest release, “Meaning to Tell Ya” has recently been nominated for a JUNO.

Studying ballet in her teens improved her singing ability and she found herself singing with local disco act Chocolate Affair. Little else is known about this group, but a following endeavour with Billy Reed and the Street People yielded Johnson’s first recorded out put. “Doin’ The Best We Can” is this band’s only album. There are solid funky blues cuts and soul covers on this record, which was partly recorded at the famous El Mocambo, which is pictured on the front cover.

As the decade closed, Johnson formed Alta Moda. She spent the next decade and change with this band, and later The Infidels, which had most of the same band members as Alta Moda. Johnson moonlighted in the mid 1980’s as a back-up singer for the alternative rock act Breeding Ground. This band made a couple of videos which were broadcast on MuchMusic.

At the time Alta Moda started, Johnson lived above Queen West haunt The Cameron House where she also played weekly “Blue Monday” jams. By 1992, The Infidels folded and Johnson decided to take a break from music. Voice-overs and ads paid the bills but she didn’t stay away from music for too long.

The next decade (millennium, in fact) saw a return to making music, and Johnson’s first self-titled C.D. came out in 2000.

She toured Europe, released “Another Day” in 2002, and “Messing Around” in 2006. “Lucky” garnered a JUNO for Vocal Jazz Album of 2009.

2019 finds Johnson back in the JUNO spotlight, with a nomination for last year’s release, “Meaning To Tell Ya.” There is even a vinyl edition of this release, almost certainly the first wax pressed with Johnson’s voice since the Alta Moda era. The C.D. includes mostly Johnson originals, along with a few covers, including Marvin Gaye’s sublime “Inner City Blues.”

As an activist, Johnson has involved herself in education and Black History Month, petitioning to have Lawrence Hill’s The Book Of Negroes turned into a television series, and for it’s inclusion on high school reading lists. The only Canadian high school curriculum book addressing racism, Johnson pointed out in an interview, continues to be To Kill A Mockingbird.

In 2007, she became an Officer of the Order of Canada, partly for her work with the Kumbaya AIDS charity.

More recently, Johnson started the KMJF in 2016. With a few ducats of arts funding, nothing from the city, and no corporate sponsorship, the Kensington Market Jazz Festival has put hundreds of bands on dozens of stages, in clubs, on the streets, and even in some alleyways, annually, for a glorious September weekend in the market.

Johnson has a few Ontario concerts scheduled in March, including in London, host city of this year’s JUNOs.

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.

Spotify Ep.5

Playlist:

Song: Meaning To Tell Ya
Album: Meaning To Tell Ya
Performed and written by: Molly Johnson

Song: Another Day
Album: Another Day
Performed by: Molly Johnson
Written by: Molly Johnson and Mark McLean

Song: Lucky
Album: Lucky
Performed by: Molly Johnson
Written by: Molly Johnson and Steve MacKinnon

Song: L.O.V.E
Album: Meaning To Tell Ya
Performed and written by: Molly Johnson

Song: Melody
Album: Another Day
Performed by: Molly Johnson
Written by: Molly Johnson and Craig Ross

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.