Pro Member Interview – Karen Kosowski

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

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

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

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

________________________________________________________

For more information please visit karenkosowski.com

Contact: karen@karenkosowski.com

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

 

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

Pro Member Interview – Tara MacLean

Tara MacLean - SM.png

Tara MacLean is a singer, songwriter, and award winning recording and touring artist. From break-out pop hits (“If I Fall”) to country-crossover (“Happy Baby”) her style is reflective of her deep roots in Gospel and the Folk Music of her East Coast Canadian upbringing. She has been signed with Nettwerk, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Capitol Records and EMI Canada (with her band Shaye). Her three solo albums were released to high acclaim, garnering extensive film and television placements, as well international touring and radio play. 

Tara shares her time between her home on the West Coast of Canada on Salt Spring Island, BC, and her home province of Prince Edward Island, on the East Coast. During the summer months, she brings her family to PEI to perform in her hit show, Atlantic Blue- A Celebration of East Coast Songwriters, which she wrote, produces, directs and stars in. Look for her new album release Spring of 2019. 

  • What inspires you to create music?

Life, heart ache, love, acts of kindness, sorrow.

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

Just feeling and then turning it into a tune.

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

I was discovered in 1995 by Sony Music Publishing and Nettwerk Records.

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

Absolutely! It’s been 25 years so I def have evolved!

  • Do you write for other recording/performing artists?

Sometimes I go to Nashville/LA to write for my publishing company.

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

Writing definitely crosses genres.

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

Yes. Being a songwriter in Canada is not the easiest way to make a living. Thank goodness for SOCAN!

  • Do you have any musical influences who have influenced your style, or who you give a “nod” to whenever possible?

Peter Gabriel, Dan Lanois, Leonard Cohen, Tori Amos, Sarah of course.

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

Dan Lanois.

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

 I am self-taught, though I grew up around songwriters so I watched carefully.

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

Write from your heart. It’s the only thing that will make you stand out.

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

Writing with Gordie Sampson, a song called Star about my sister Shaye.

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

My guitar.

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

It’s fun!

  • How can S.A.C. help you?

I’m not sure! I am proud to be apart of Canada’s thriving songwriter’s scene! Let’s see where this goes. Looking forward to the newsletter.

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

Help musicians write government grants.

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

I plan to write music all my life, whether it is heard by millions, or by a few loyal fans, I just have to keep sharing the art. That makes it complete.