S.A.C. Black History Songwriters Series: Bucky Adams

Bucky Adams - BHM

Born April 25, 1937 to a large family in Depression era Halifax, Charles “Bucky” Richmond Adams was fortunate to find himself in a musical household. Bucky Adams started teaching himself how to play instruments at a young age. By age 11, he entertained the Queen during a Royal visit to Halifax.

Adams played trumpet early on, until he literally blew his instrument to pieces mid-show. He replaced it with a saxophone he borrowed from his dad, after rushing home during the break.

Adams formed a band with several of his professors at Saint Francis Xavier University before playing in a series of Maritime bands. These included The Rockin Rebels, an early-integrated band in the 1960’s.

He played with Toronto émigré Joe Sealy and they gravitated to performing more jazz. Playing jazz found him sharing stages with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie and other stalwarts of the genre. Singer Linda Carvery toured the Maritimes with Adams and Sealy before working with The Nova Scotia Mass Choir, some years later.

From The Lobster Trap with Louis Armstrong in the 1960’s, to The Middle Deck with B.B. King in 1974, Adams established himself in the Maritime music scene. In 1974, CBC released a 7” (45 rpm) record credited to Bucky Adams and The Musical Friends. The e.p. featured four covers, including one by fellow Maritimer Gene MacLellan.

The following he year he formed Basin Street, with whom he recorded his first full length album in 1976. The title “Bucky Adams and Basin Street at Privateers’ Warehouse” suggests a live recording, but was in fact recorded in a studio. Copies were presumably sold during their residency at the Halifax venue.

This time, covers including a funky instrumental of the hit “Ain’t No Sunshine” were mixed with originals, all of which, including “Bucky’s Blues,” were credited to the band collectively.

In addition to numerous television appearances, Adams was featured on Canada Express, a weekly music television program which won him a Gabriel Award from the United Nations, for excellence in broadcasting.

Generations was a 1980’s band Adams worked with, but his recorded output picked up in the c.d. age. In 1996 he released “In A Lovin’ Way” featuring songs inspired by his childhood such as “Africville Shuffle” and “Maynard Street.” “Live at the Thirsty Duck” followed, recorded with Adams’ son Corey in Halifax.

Adams joined forces with the Hungarian-Canadian Botos Brothers for his third release, and “Freedom” is Adams’ final disc.

Later in his six-decade career, Bucky Adams volunteered at the seniors’ home where he would eventually live. For over twenty years, the Northwood Centre in Halifax enjoyed weekly performances by Adams. He called it his “Wednesday night music therapy.” Corey described watching one such performance; people entered the room using canes and holding each other’s shoulders. Later, when they heard a song they recognized, they’d find the strength to get up, dance, and move to the music. CBC did a profile on Adams’ for his 70th birthday.

Charles “Bucky” Richmond Adams passed away at age 75 on July 13, 2012. He is survived by his partner Glenda, his wife Clara, five children and many grand children and great grand children. Several years later, the East Coast Music Awards announced the African Canadian Recording of the Year Award would be replaced by the Bucky Adams Memorial Award. It debuted at the 2016 ECMAs.

Written by: Erik Twight

Erik Twight is, at present, a Freelance Writer, maintaining a web presence specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show arranged thematically and with commentary.

Don’t forget to check out these videos about Bucky Adams:

1.Charles “Bucky” Adams: A Celebration of Life Tribute in Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TK89IoN0Id4

2.Bucky Adams – Basin Street – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMsNLu_bjlI

Performed by: Bucky Adams
Written by: Edwin H. Morris, Spencer Williams
Produced by: Russ Brannon
Album: Bucky Adams And Basin Street At Privateers’ Warehouse
Source: Discogs

3.Bucky Adams & Basin Street – Afro Minor (Canada 1976) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQk2YEPpa6E

Performed by: Bucky Adams
Written by: Basin Street
Produced by: Russ Brannon
Album: Bucky Adams And Basin Street At Privateers’ Warehouse
Source: 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: Joe Sealy

Joe Sealy - BHM

Joe Sealy’s role as a fixture on the Canadian jazz scene started in his hometown of Montreal, but his status grew after heading east. Instead of heading for Toronto or the U.S., Sealy relocated to Halifax in January of 1967 and got busy on local stages, radio and T.V. shows.

Born August 16, 1939, Joseph Arthur Sealy grew up in Longueuil, Quebec. Sealy’s paternal grandfather James Arthur Sealy emigrated to Africville from Barbados where his father Joseph Maurice Sealy was born in 1910. When Sealy’s father was 9 years of age, his grandfather moved the family to Montreal where his father grew up, later married and bought land in Longueil where Joe Sealy was brought up from the age of 9.

By this time, young Joe Sealy had lessons from the popular local music teacher and sister of Oscar’s, Daisy Peterson. Once in Longueuil, Sealy practised on his own and later returned to Montreal to work with local band leaders and tour Quebec. Enlisting in the navy and attending Sir George Williams (now Concordia) University were shoehorned in with music. Sealy’s practical father warned his son he should have a practical skill to rely on, should the younger Sealy find himself unable to earn a living making music.

In January 1967, Peterson headed east to Halifax, where he had steady work lined up with CBC television. This expanded immediately. “As soon as I got to Halifax, in the first week, I was working seven nights a week and also recording every Sunday, plus a radio show every week, and video taping every other Saturday.”

There is footage of the 1967 season finale of Maritime music show Frank’s Bandstand, featuring Joe Sealy playing organ, which can be seen here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yx0I3ZfDVq4.

Somehow, Sealy found time to play in a series of local rock and soul bands. He played with Bucky Adams in The Unusuals. “We actually ended up opening our own after-hours club,” Joe explained. Named after the band, Club Unusual opened from midnight to four in the morning out of a Coca Cola warehouse. Macleans mentions the club and band in a 1970 profile of Halifax.

Sealy had planned to stay only for the T.V. season, but after finding a lot of work, he stayed for more T.V.; Roundabout, Student Showcase, and the better known Music Hop all featured Sealy’s musical touch.

Off-screen, Sealy got to perform with the likes of Milt Jackson and Sonny Stitt among other revered jazz figures before recording his first LP in 1976.

The album was a mix of covers and originals, with a few funky moments mixed in with moodier meditations like “Blue Jade.”

“Sailin Home” was released in 1976, somewhat ironically as Sealy was about to sail on, as it were, and relocate to a new city; Toronto. He arrived to a busy city with a still-thriving live jazz scene. Extended residencies were still the norm, and Sealy held several. One such establishment, Errol’s, yielded a live album.

There was also stage work which found Sealy directing and acting, in addition to performing music. In 1982, Sealy cut his third album, the Juno-nominated Clear Vision, in one day. When asked about whether the immediacy of a live date fueled the speed with which this album was recorded, Sealy observed “There’s nothing like a live experience. This is what we do.”

The early 1990’s saw a rapid decline in not just extended runs in clubs and lounges, but fewer bookings altogether for jazz musicians. Sealy then found long-time collaborator Paul Novotny. They were nominated for a Juno in 1995 and, in 1997 Sealy received a Juno win for Africville Suite. Inspired by the Nova Scotian community bulldozed into history through the late 1960’s, Africville Suite yielded several tours through Canada, Norway, Denmark and the U.S.

Most of Sealy’s records were released on the Sea-Jam label. Up until 2019, Sealy served as the president of Triplet Records, a local jazz label. In 2010, he received the high honour award of the Order of Canada.

In Toronto, Sealy hosts a weekly radio show on Monday nights, at Jazz 91 FM. He still performs, and is quoted in this article from a post-show interview at the 2019 Kensington Market Jazz Festival.

In February 2020, Sealy performed music and stories from Africville with Jackie Richardson. The Joe Sealy Quartet has a regular spot at the Jazz Bistro, where they next play on April 3, 2020.

Written by: Erik Twight

Erik Twight is, at present, a Freelance Writer, maintaining a web presence specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show arranged thematically and with commentary.

Don’t forget to check out these Joe Sealy songs as part of our new Spotify playlist episode  – https://spoti.fi/31Qr3U2

Spotify Ep.5

1. Africville
Performed by: Joe Sealy
Written by: Joe Sealy, Paul Novotny
Produced by: Paul Novotny
Album: Africville Suite
Source: Discogs

2. Duke’s In Town
Performed by: Joe Sealy
Written by: Joe Sealy, Paul Novotny
Produced by: Paul Novotny
Album: Africville Suite
Source: Discogs

3. We Three Kings
Performed by: Joe Sealy, Paul Novotny
Written by: Joe Sealy, Paul Novotny
Produced by: Paul Novotny
Album: The Man In The Red Suit
Source: Discogs

4. The Dunes
Performed by: Joe Sealy, Paul Novotny
Written by: Joe Sealy, Paul Novotny
Produced by: Paul Novotny
Album: The Man In The Red Suit
Source: Discogs

5. The Snowman
Performed by: Joe Sealy, Paul Novotny
Written by: Joe Sealy, Paul Novotny
Produced by: Paul Novotny
Album: The Man In The Red Suit
Source: 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.

Nick Fowler (FWLR)

FWLR_INTRO

While maintaining a successful career in music for TV and Film, Nick Fowler needed an outlet that was solely focused on him. In 2013 FWLR was born. Born free to pursue art. Free to take risks and free from concerns of judgement.The goal was to be authentic and earn respect as a true artist rather than as a product; a slow genuine burn as opposed to a flash-in-the-pan short-lived success. Stylistically he is fluid. Flowing from one genre to the next he connects the dots with his signature production and sound. Drawing influence from artists such as The Aphex Twin, Noisia, and BT, his music could be described as sexy, complex, dark and intelligent. An education in Electronics Engineering gave him the understanding to create his own unique brand of electronica and while continuing to grow and learn, FWLR is leaving his mark on modern music.

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

My process usually begins with me experimenting with sounds. I am a massive synth and sound design nerd at heart so a lot of my time is spent messing around trying to discover new sonic possibilities. I tend to separate sound design from writing, but usually when I stumble across a noise that catches my ear it inspires me to write. I like to write small sketches and stock pile them for opportunities like songwriters camps or Television spots. This has really come in handy over the years as both songwriters camps and TV are extremely time-sensitive situations. Having these sketches started really fast-tracks the creative process.

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

I have made my living writing for TV shows since 2012 when I stepped away from my full-time job to focus solely on music. I never intended on getting into the world of sync and licensing but playing in a band and securing our first couple sync deals back in 2010 really opened my eyes. As I focused more on the television side of the music industry I started to gain a huge respect for all the work that went into those productions. I have since written the theme songs for The Social on CTV, Daily Planet on Discovery, and all the shows on BNN as well as hundreds of library tracks for shows such as etalk, Canada AM, CTV News, Marilyn Denis and many more. I’ve had sync placements with shows such as Letterkenny, Degrassi, Rookie Blue, The Next Step, and Lost and Found. I’ve also dabbled in ads (McDonald’s, ViewSonic, Maybelline) and have had some of my songs used in games such as Rocket League, Xenon Racer and more. Hearing your music being used to reinforce a visual narrative is a really incredible feeling as the result is greater than the sum of the music or the visual on their own.

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

Be yourself and don’t take shortcuts. Everyone is able to see it when someone isn’t being genuine. Art is supposed to be a creative expression of who you are and what you believe in. When people try to create art with ulterior motives (such as to become successful or make money) the audience picks up on that. It takes time to grow an organic fan-base of people who truly connect with you. Don’t rush that. Create good art and the success will come.

 

#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.

 

Victoria Banks

Victoria Banks - social Media

Victoria Banks has been nominated for 11 Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Awards and was named CCMA Female Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year in 2010. She has been labeled “one of the best songwriters in the business” by Nashville’s MusicRow magazine.

In addition to releasing three albums and touring with artists from Reba to Wynonna, Banks – who hails from Muskoka, Ontario – has written ASCAP, SOCAN, CCMA and Covenant-award-winning songs for more than 50 artists.

Her cuts include Jessica Simpson’s Billboard record- breaking single “Come On Over,” Sara Evans’ solo-written hit “Saints & Angels” and duet “Can’t Stop Loving You” (featuring Isaac Slade of The Fray), Lauren Alaina’s “Queen of Hearts,” Johnny Reid’s CCMA Song of the Year “Dance With Me”, Doc Walker’s chart-topping “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me”, One More Girl’s BCCMA Song of the Year “When it Ain’t Raining”, and many more. In 2016, Banks performed with the Nashville Ballet as part of their Attitude program, for which several of her songs were choreographed including the program’s title song, “City of Dreams.”

“This is an artist you absolutely need to pay attention to. Recommended without reservation.” – Robert Oermann, MusicRow
“A powerful singer…a very impressive songwriter…definitely a name to look out for.” – Maverick Magazine (UK)

 

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

I’ve been a staff songwriter based in Nashville for over twenty years now. I moved south in 1997 after finishing a degree in Zoology at University of Toronto, and after performing at a ton of writers nights around town, was connected with my ASCAP rep, Ralph Murphy. Ralph set me up with some publisher meetings, and from those I was offered my first deal writing for Rick Hall at Fame Music’s Nashville office (affiliated with Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals). Since then I’ve signed with several other companies and have always maintained a writing deal over the years, even when I was touring heavily to support my Canadian record deals.

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

I studied classical voice and piano until I graduated high school, but pursued science in university. As a teenager I picked up a guitar and taught myself how to play and write contemporary music, but I never had any formal training in songwriting. I just read books on the subject, listened to a zillion songs, and tried to figure out how the writers crafted them to affect the listener the way they do.

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

I feel a bit like a survivor who is holding on somehow despite the odds. When I signed my first deal in 1998, royalty streams were alive and well. I have seen the decline of record sales and the rise of streaming basically obliterate all other income streams except radio play for commercial songwriters. There are now only 400 people doing what I do professionally in Nashville when there were 4000 twenty years ago. I’ve also had to deal with the lack of radio play for female artists in the country genre. Even though I naturally gravitate toward writing from a female perspective, I have had to learn to focus primarily on writing with and for male artists in order to stay marketable.

 

#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.

Odreii

Odreii

Born and raised in Montreal, French Canadian/Jamaican singer-songwriter, Odreii grew up in a very musical environment. With a father being the lead singer of a roots and reggae band, an aunt and uncle who played in a French Heavy metal band, and a mother who played the best of Stevie Wonder, Tracy Chapman, and Bob Marley day in day out throughout her childhood, Odreii got all the inspiration she needed to create her own world. Odreii grew up speaking French, English and Spanish, but quickly developed a passion for learning languages like Russian, Chinese, Italian and German. In 2015 she won 5th place at the Eason Live singing contest for singing in Chinese (Mandarin), a song from one of China’s greatest artist Eason Chan. 

While living in the UK with her father, Odreii taught herself to play guitar so she could perform her original compositions in pubs around London. The first song she recorded was “Keep Smiling”, which yielded her a music scholarship at Tech Music School (BIMM) in 2011 after winning 1st Place at the prestigious The Stage UK vocal competition. 

In 2013, she won 1st Place at the AppleBeam songwriting competition and received a nomination for Best UKSC Pop Written Song with “Wondering”. 

In 2014, Odreii won 1st Place at the EDA UKSC songwriting competition and, the following year, wrote “Tell Me You Love Me” under Elle Ray which reached #1 on Soundcloud’s Hot and New chart, played on 95.7 Hits FM, was selected for Victoria Secret’s Spotify playlists, and played on MTV in the USA. 

In 2016, while working on new music, Odreii supported Naadei around Canada as a backup vocalist and guitarist. Some of those performances included Osheaga Presents, MURAL Festival, House of Paint festival in Ottawa, and Festival des Mongolfieres, where they both opened for Wyclef Jean. 

In 2017, her acoustic song “Always Been You” received a nomination for New PLAY VRAK Discovery and was aired live on TVA during a MATV series. The saga continued in 2018, where she performed at SXSW with Naadei. 

She released her first acoustic single entitled Gold for Water alongside an upbeat version of the song produced by the Montreal production duo Neowide. The song got support from Justin Timberlake’s dancer Codie Wiggins and female dancecrew C4 known as the 2017 Champions for World Hip Hop Dance Adult Division. 

Odreii released her first EP ”Runs In Me Blood” on May 3, 2019 distributed by Higher Reign Music Group / Sony Music Canada. The project, funded by FACTOR and the government of Canada, offers a mixture of Caribbean and urban sounds while introducing us to a well versed singer songwriter. 

Latest Songwriting projects: 

– Criminal by Odreii (HRMG, Sony Music Canada, 2019) 

– 332 Miles by Raayon (Universal Music Canada, 2018) 

– What we started by MBP (TONSPIEL, 2018) 

– SOS by Raphael Di Raddo feat. Spity & Elle Ray (HRMG, Sony Music Canada, 2018) 

– EP Runs In Me Blood by Odreii (HRMG, Sony Music Canada, Tropical Koala, 2019)

 

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

I entered a competition called ‘She’s the One’ with RBC’s Bluesfest in Ottawa and they take 10 female artists around the country and bring them to Ottawa to perform there and I was chosen as the winner. Through that I got a single deal with Cadence Music Group and that’s how I started – it’s how I met most of the people that I know in the industry and I started co-writing. They would take me on these week long sessions and I would write with different people and essentially we released one song, and that song now has 400K hits on Spotify. I’m pretty happy about that 🙂 It was really helpful to work with Bluesfest and Cadence to get me my start, and now I’m pursuing music independently. Been meeting a lot of people, and now I’m starting to do stuff like this Pro Songwriters Camp!

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

I was pretty silent at the beginning. I was too shy to give my opinions during sessions and I didn’t have a whole lot of confidence. And now, through meeting people and getting kind of an affirmation of what I do I feel a lot more confident in my ideas and I’ve been able to expand my individual songwriting as a whole so I’m putting out an album in the fall. Through that, I’ve played [the album] for my godparents – my godfather was tearing up and was like, ‘oh you’ve grown so much as an artist in the last year’ but I feel like I can write a lot more personally now and not be ashamed of telling my story. I think I can get a lot better though. 

Q: How did you learn your craft? Was it informal/formal music education?

I studied RCM when I was younger, in piano and vocals. I studied mostly classical. Eventually, I met my now manager, who was my vocal teacher at the time, and she pushed me into songwriting. I wasn’t very good at the time, but I started to listen to other peoples’ writing and figuring out how I can fit my own education, my own knowledge of classical music into pop music which is weird to do – to listen to Beethoven music and go, ‘how can I make it Beyonce’. But I guess formally, I’m classically trained, and informally, all of this is quite informal. When in sessions, your with people who may not have had the same education, but you still communicate your ideas in the same way. I learned mostly on the go. 

#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.

 

Storry

STORRY

STORRY is a seasoned artist trained in classical music who performs Mozart arias with as much confidence as hip hop, R&B, and gospel. Fierce and multifaceted, she writes and produces all her music. STORRY’s voice quality is second to none, and she uses and enhances her incredible sonorous gifts with prophecies witty, raw, and life-changing.

She preaches from experience. Lots of it. Her songs offer an honest portrait of life as a woman: it’s an image everybody can recognize, even if they don’t want to. Her poetic and musical creativity is unapologetic and fearless. In releasing her first single, STORRY is leaving the shadows and showing us the result of decades of artistic work.

  • What inspires you to create music?

I think music and art in general, is a way to impact the world and culture. And so, I create music to be impactful. To make people feel, to make people think, to make people leave changed. I really do believe that art is not only a reflection of our world but can also push culture forward and change the world.

  • Have you faced any major economic, social, or political hurdle(s) as a music creator?

Economically, I would say, music is an industry where there isn’t a lot of funding behind it. It’s quite expensive. Although these days it has gotten a little bit better, you know, by being able to record at home and such. But to get a real platform for your music to be heard is quite hard when you don’t have a marketing budget, or a team, or a label behind you. So, economically it can be hard for people that don’t have a lot of money.

And on a political/social level, I would say that being a woman, is a difficult part I think of being in any industry, but particularly in the entertainment industry. I’ve often been the only woman in a lot of studio settings, in a room full of men. More often than not, women are not seen as equally valuable… I’m usually mansplained a lot. I kind of have to bite my tongue, because there’s this kind of hierarchy that exists. So, its a very interesting landscape to try and navigate, and my feeling is that we really need to empower women; To be producers, play instruments, and be given equal opportunity to do those things in these environments.

  • Do you see any change in today’s music industry?

I have been seeing a shift – it’s slowly changing, but I think its been more surface-level than I would like. There’s been a lot of hashtags, like the #MeToo movement (which has been very important). But I think that this has allowed people to – especially men in the industry, who are misogynistic, or whatever – to hide under that guise of being ‘feminist’. ‘I follow this movement’ or ‘I stand behind strong women’, but they don’t actually act on those ideals. It’s a pretence – it’s trendy. And then it has a gaslighting effect on women. A lot of talk, and very little integrity or follow-through behind those words. So, I very much appreciate being here writing at the SAC ProSongWorks because it’s been a very balanced and respectful environment to create. 

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

I initially started teaching myself how to sing and write from childhood. I taught myself how to play a bit of piano and guitar as well. I later ended up going to school for a couple years in classical voice and studied opera. It was a very interesting way to utilize my voice in a different way and I really enjoyed that. I didn’t finish university but it was a very fun experience for me. So having both sides of the spectrum – knowing how to jam and also knowing the theory and technique behind it, and knowing how to combine the two worlds.

  • Would you recommend this to other artists – to have a bit more background/education about the music?

I would. I think it’s important to have both. Some things in music cannot be taught theoretically. They’re internal vibrations and emotions. But knowing how to utilize your instrument(s) so you have multiple tools and options in your back pocket just adds to what you can accomplish when you’re in the right vibrations with the right collaborators. Then you can really finesse and polish the work to be exactly what you hear in your head. If, for example, if you’re vocal range is smaller, then often that will change what melodies you might come up with because there are certain limitations or boundaries you must work inside of. Studying or perfecting your craft or instrument can remove a lot of these limitations. 

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

I’ve been thinking a lot about this actually.. ’cause I think there’s a lot of things that could be better. For one, me being an artist trying to release music on my own, I find it very difficult to navigate all the bits and pieces of the industry. Everything is scattered and there’s no blueprint. It’s like, if I were to open up a restaurant, there are certain things that need to be in place; you need to get certain permits, safety, understand the space’s capacity, there’s a framework.. but there’s no framework for the music industry per se. It’s kind of the wild west, and because of that, there’s no real regulations. With no real regulations, there can be a lot of corruption happening. So I think there needs to be some sort of way to regulate, to allow people to feel safe in these working spaces – to know that there is an entity holding people accountable if something goes wrong.

#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.

Skye Sweetnam

Skye - Social Media
Skye has released two full-length solo records to date, “Noise From The Basement” on Capitol Records (2004) and “Sound Soldier” on EMI (2007). Skye’s current musical endeavor is Sumo Cyco, a project mixing her unique pop/punk sensibilities with a metal band. Sumo Cyco released has released two albums, “Lost in Cyco City” (2014) and “Opus Mar”(2017). Skye also appears on over 30 album compilations worldwide, with total sales in the millions.

Some highlights of Skye’s musical career include, opening for Britney Spears on her Onyx Hotel Tour on 50 dates throughout Europe and North America, as well as preforming as the “singing” voice of Barbie in Mattel’s “The Barbie Diaries.” Skye has performed live before over two million people in over 25 countries worldwide as well as being a featured performer on the Jay Leno and Craig Kilborne Shows. Her band Sumo Cyco has recently opened for acts such as, Coal Chamber, Nonpoint, Fozzy, Butcher Babies and Mushroomhead. They have played festivals such as Warped Tour, NXNE, Sound of Music, CMW and in 2013 won Toronto’s Indie Week.

Skye has written and performed songs featured in various films, T.V. shows and video games, such as Laguna Beach, Nickelodeon’s Wayside School, Radio Free Roscoe, Hotel for Dogs, Super Monkey Ball and The Sims Pets.

Skye was signed to a publishing contract at the tender age of fourteen, at the time she was the youngest person to be signed to EMI publishing in Canadian history. Skye is currently a Sony/ATV published songwriter with over 15 years of experience, she has worked with some of the most celebrated hit makers of the decade, such as The Matrix (Lauren Christy, Scott Spock, Graham Edwards) (Avril Lavinge, Hilary Duff, Korn), Greg Kurstin (Adele, Lily Allen) and Max Martin (Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears). Skye also wrote extensively with punk rock legend Tim Armstrong from Rancid and was featured on the hit “Into Action” This was the number one requested song on KROQ in LA in 2007.

Complimenting her musical career, is Skye’s love of nurturing a very active online community. Skye has made a multitude of music videos to promote herself on her YouTube channel, now close to 10 million views and Sumo Cyco’s channel with an extra 3.8 million. To capitalize on this talent, Skye has directed music videos, EPK’s, behind the scenes footage, creative online content and animated videos. Her clients include CMT, country pop stars Leah Daniels, Meredith Shaw, YTV’s The Next Star Winners Charlie and
Brooklyn Roebuck, Slaight Music Artists as well as pop up- and -comers such as Stacey Kay and Jillea.

Skye continues to be creative in all aspects of her multi-faceted career, and constantly evolves as an artist, songwriter and filmmaker.

 

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

I find that I do have my ‘best practises’ but I always try to open myself up to new pathways of creating. Straying from the trusted path can be a great way to get a new perspective and potentially find new ways to produce your best work. When I first started writing music I had a hard time opening up to potential collaborators. As we creators know, writing can be a very personal process. I would always prefer to take home a copy of the music, write the lyrics and melody alone, then regroup once I felt I had the best ideas to put forward. As I grew as I writer, and was thrust into more collaborations and situations. I grew to feel more confident in sharing the first ideas that popped into my head. Sometimes, I give myself challenges. For instance, writing a verse as fast as possible or holding to a specific predetermined lyrical theme. These can be exciting ways to prove to myself that even within “the box” some of the best work can be produced because I’m focused rather than floating around with too many limitless options.

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

I started writing at a very young age. I remember making a 3-piece girl group at age 9 and performing our songs “Friends Forever”, and “I Love the Beach” to my entire class at school. My infatuation with boy bands and groups like the Spice Girls faded into a need to rebel. I started working with a young songwriter/producer named James Robertson who was a very talented guitar player who opened me up to all guitar based music when I was 13. I began to write angsty lyrics about skipping school, parents expectations and how immature boys were, all backed by pop-punk guitar riffs. It was a few years later when I reached 20 that I told myself I had to loose the “teen” sound and find a musical style that I could grow into as an adult. I fell in love with a Dancehall Metal band based in UK named Skindred. It was aggressive, yet fun and I loved the fact that I wanted to head-bang and dance at the same time. I told my friend/guitarist Matt Drake that I wanted to start a band with a similar feel. My current project Sumo Cyco was born. Cool thing is, Benji the lead singer of Skindred is featured on our song “Move Mountains” from our last album. Dreams come true and full circle at that!

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

I’ve had experience as a priority artist at Capitol Records in Hollywood and I’ve been working as an independent artist for the last 10 years. I’ve seen both sides of the coin as far as what it’s like with lots of funding to zero funding. A few things come to mind that apply to both. Always be the captain of your ship. In this industry there’s some sort of perception that someone or some company will “discover” you and all the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place. This is not true. Even if you find a great team member or members that believe in the project, it does not mean that the work is done; in fact it’s just the beginning. No one will have your best interests as heart more than you will for yourself. So be your best advocate, toot your own horn, put yourself in the situations that can breed success. You have to know where you want your ship to sail or else the current may take it it in an entirely different direction.

 

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