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.

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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. 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 – Steve Smith

Steve Smith - SM

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

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

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

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

 

  • Do you write for other recording/performing artists?

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

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

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

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

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

 

#thePROSofSAC #CreatorsCount #MusicCreatorsUnite 

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

LillianAllen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Blog post by Erik Twight

Erik Twight is, at present, a Freelance Writer, maintaining a web presence specializing in current affairs, history, photography and music and producing a weekly podcast/radio show arranged thematically and with commentary for fun. Click here to read more.

 

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

 

Spotify Ep.5 .png

Playlist:

Song: Revolutionary Tea Party

Performed by: Lillian Allen

Written by: Lillian Allen

Source: Discogs

 

Song: Rub A Dub Style Inna Regent Park

Performed by: Lillian Allen

Written by: Lillian Allen

Source: Discogs

 

Song: Conditions Critical

Performed by: Lillian Allen

Written by: Lillian Allen

Source: Discogs

 

Song: I Dream a Redwood

Performed by: Lillian Allen

Written by: Lillian Allen

Source: AllMusic

 

Song: Woken & Unbroken

Performed by: Lillian Allen

Written by: Lillian Allen

Source: Spotify

 

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

Pro Member Interview – Andrew Allen

andrew allen - sm

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

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

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

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

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

Below is our interview with Andrew Allen:

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

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

  • What is your fondest musical memory?

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

  • What would be your advice to other creators?

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

#MusicCreatorsUnite #CreatorsCount #thePROSofSAC

Pro Member Interview – Winston Hauschild

winston hauschild - sm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#CreatorsCount #thePROSofSAC #MusicCreatorsUnite