Outshined, Six Side Die, The Fell and what a show!

A week ago today this happened, Outshined and Six Side Die opened for The Fell at The Music Hall Nightclub and Concert Theatre. It was a solid line up and great night of live music. Every city has to have a great live music venue so if you're in Oshawa, you have to go to The Music Hall.

 Outshined kicked it all off,  they have a good sound and get better each time I see them. You can tell when a band is putting their time in and it's clear these guys have. Founded in 2012 the band consists of Brandon Hasting - Lead/Rhythm Guitar, Vocals, Brandon Hasting - Lead/Rhythm Guitar, Vocals, Dylan Porter - Percussion. I'm looking forward to seeing how they progress and of course I'm always happy to promote local and Canadian artists. They were a great choice as opener.

 Next up for this solid line up of music was Six Side Die, another Canadian band that I had never seen live before. To be clear though, they were worth seeing. They have a really good sound and stage presence. The band is made up of Bryan Crouch- Vocals, Anthony Xander- Lead Guitar,  Pat Kavanagh- Bass/Vocals, Kelly Voelkel- Drums. The singer in particular was high energy and gave it from start to finish. This is another band I'm looking forward to seeing progress in the music industry.

 Of course the best for last, The Fell. This band consists of well known and experienced musicians including the singer Anthony De La Torre who has some serious talent on vocals! The Fell came out and did their thing, the crowd couldn't have been happier. These guys haven't been together as long as other bands but you wouldn't know it by the way they played together. Besides De La Torre the band consists of fellow Canadian Mike Krompass on guitar, Randy Cooke on drums and the legendary bassist Billy Sheehan on bass. This alternative rock band delivered what every great live show needs, an amazing headliner.  I wouldn't have changed a thing about the entire show. So glad to have seen them live and very happy to have finally shot Billy Sheehan. 

 You can be sure the next time The Fell are in town that I will be there whether I'm shooting or just there as a fan. Truth be told you should go see them live too! 

54.40 A Great Canadian Band

 When going to see a band live you don't always know what to expect. Sometimes the show isn't as flashy, loud or maybe the band just doesn't sound the same as it did on cd or radio. Other times the band just doesn't have it anymore. Last night 54.40 proved that none of those are even close to being true in their case. That's right, 54.40 rocked the stage last night in Oshawa at The Music Hall Nightclub and Concert Theatre. After all you can't have a great Canadian band like 54.40 play just any venue, in order to be seen properly for a great experience you need a venue like The Music Hall backed by it's incredible staff. 

I have seen more shows then I can remember but I tell you all now that last nights show wasn't just a show, it was an experience and will be remembered for a long time. They hit the stage after opening acts Old James and The House Call set the mood with great sets of their own. I do have to give special mention to The House Call. Every time I see them they get better and I'm looking forward to seeing where they go in the future. Each one of them is a credit to the band. After the openers warmed up the crowd, cheers ripped through the entire venue as they took the stage. No need for introductions or words to the crowd they went right to business and business was great.

Every song was met by cheers, clapping and smiles as people got ready to sing along to another loved tune. Even I couldn't help smiling and singing along as I shot this event. Everywhere I turned people were singing, smiling and dancing, it was a vibe you can't find just anywhere, it was a special moment shared by all in attendance. If you haven't seen them live then you are missing out indeed and should fix it as soon as possible. 

Richie Roberts: Pushing Local Music

As long as I can remember there has always been music playing where ever I am. My father always had music going and used to listen to 50's, 60's & 70's rock n roll. My mother was always singing. As I grew up I just kept music going all the time and have various tunes associated with different memories. Music has always been a love of mine as is photography. When the chance comes to blend the two, it's a great day for me. There is no musical talent in me but I can shoot it and share it. It's great to go out and shoot bands, especially local artists , try to get them known by more people. It's hard to find people that want to push local music as much as myself but then there's Richie Roberts.

Richie Roberts is the front man for the band Rich With Sin, he is a hard working and talented musician. You'll find him ripping it up on guitar and belting out great rock tunes or you'll find him pushing local talent. He like myself loves music and wants to help local artists get better known. What you also should know is Richie hosts the best open mic in the city, most people think of Oshawa as "car town" but if we have our way it will be known as a music city. He was kind enough to take some time and answer a few questions. Here's what he had to say:

  Well I was born in a small town called Orangeville but was raised in Peterborough Ontario. Not big enough to say I lived a city life but not far enough in the bush to be a back forty guy

 I First picked the guitar up around three years old and was singing and playing my first song "Bobbie Mi-gee." Though much of those years I dont remember much, as I got into my early teen years I was playing any song I could learn on the radio By ear.

 My musical influences vary from Stevie Ray Vaughn to the great Jimi Hendrix. As I got into the Ninety's I had many great alternative influences  such as  Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana , Offspring, Stone temple pilots and many more.

 Because I never learned by theory, or was taught by lessons, I was left to learn from the greats by ear which in turn resulted into me pretty much writing music my whole life. I am currently working on original material as we speak with my latest band Rich With Sin.  I've worked with many other bands in the past such as Esteem , The Kneegrows, Unchained , Johny Boom and the jelly fish, Emerson Ireland band. ( if I've missed some I apologize )

 I would have to say my favorite band I have worked with would be Esteem. This band broke a lot of barriers for me and we had some amazing experiences. with playing the North by North East (NXNE) festival to rocking Ep Taylors for a sold out show. These guys and gal have a lot of talent and there sprint shows when there up on the stage. Watch out for them as there coming back out on the scene with a new vibe, new style and new name.

 My favourite place to play was and still is Sneaky Dees in Toronto Ontario. Maybe its because the place was so packed bouncers were removing people from the venue or because it was part of one of the largest canadian festivals in this side of canada and we headline the final night, either way by far best experience I've had yet. Cant wait to experience it with the band Rich With Sin

 I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to say the band I'm in now lol which is totally true but id love to, in the future work with a few bands and collaborate a super group , which in turn would be a super show . The Ultimate super group members - krystle M "Esteem" on main vocals,( Johny R' The Hippie Cripplers- Justin D 'Esteem"-  Angus H " Bone Devil" and ME on guitars and back up vocals, Troy H on the bass and my good man Josh W on the skins. We would be called the JuggerYess band. lol

 It Don"t matter where as long as it packed and full of great people, but in truth Woodstock would have been the place to play. Maybe Sound Academy. 

  I love to fish, Fished all my life. I love to stay fit and I am currently getting back into lifting the iron. I love supporting other great talented bands and checking out there shows or even just going down to my favorite watering whole and having a few with friends but lately there's been a special person in my life that I just cant get enough of.

 Well as many know I do have an active band in the music scene called Rich With Sin and we are currently working on our originals and many more great cover songs for you rock loving fans. I'm also a full time boneified Roofer lol. that's right I'm a roofer during the day and rocker at night and I just got accepted into local 27 roofing union. 

 As many know our band host a open mic every Thursday at the Gravity lounge( 45 prince street Oshawa Ontario) but our next booked gig is May 13 @ the General pub and grill. Were Partnering up with The Goombas and gonna put on a yell of a party. we have many more shows booked in the many great venues in Oshawa Ontario.

 People can get the latest details at our band page @RichWithSin.  Here you will find Early Demo releases and all our scheduled gigs booked in the future 

 "Every Good band started With Another great band", lets make a music scene together. Though many bands fall short of trying to do it on there own its the many great legends that new in order to rise to the top we must first create a scene large enough that the top  will take an interest. My Whole reason for Entertaining is to reach out to people and connect with them on a physiological, emotional and physical level. Its through my music I hope to give people inspiration and motivation to live in a way that your eyes are open but not to be taken advantage of. All my music is written based on my experiences of happiness , pain, anger and love. So come bring your dancing shoes and the great smiles and we will bring the party 

Large Prints and Clients

 It seems nowadays that everyone is looking at one screen or another. Most people accept that "this is how it is now". That's fine for most people but not for me, you can't stand out in the crowd when you're doing the same as everyone else.

 There are so many photographers out there with websites and photos with social media following it's hard to figure out what to do. A photographer that I follow, Jared Polin, released a number of videos where he spoke about making large prints. They looked great on the screen as he held some of them up but again this was being watched on my laptop screen. He likes to give out photo books and his clients seem to like them, it's also something that helps him to stand out from other photographers.

 I have always had photo albums and prefer prints over digital images but with the number of images I've shot there's way too many to ever print. Still it entered my mind that it would be cool to hold a big print in my hand. What size to make them? 4x6 was standard and not very exciting, 5x7 is ok and then there is the typical 8x10 that people use for family portraits and school photos. Who wants to be typical, not this guy!  I had a couple of my favourite prints made into 13x19 and they went BOOM, in my face. Beautiful, large prints staring at me clear as day. 

 It was awesome to hold these large prints in my hands. While looking them over it dawned on me that if I liked them this much that maybe clients may like them too. I started making large prints of musicians that I had photographed and presenting them my favourite one. Everyone loved them and told me i'm welcome to shoot them anytime. As a photographer having an artist appreciate your work is great. To have those same artists love your work and allow you all access to shoot anytime is amazing! It was rewarding to see these artists jaws drop and smiles come across their face as I revealed their big prints to them.

 I will tell you folks, nothing beats holding a big print in your hand as you look at it. This beats an image on a screen any day. Find your way to stand in out while doing what you love as well. Follow my link and see some of the reactions for yourself. Peter Jackson, a hip hop artist, is my latest photo reveal.   

The Madman aka Justn Cr3dibl3

Recently I was able to catch up with The Madman himself and talk about music. Justn Cr3dibl3 is a Canadian Hip Hop artist who like myself is all about promoting music and in particular, Canadian artists.

We met up at his radio station in Oshawa that he recently started and we will cover that more as we go. Here's what he had to say.

Me: I wanted to know who he listened to growing up and his reply surprised me. Madman: It was the likes of the Tragically Hip (who can blame him? they are amazing), Hootie and the Blowfish, Travis Tritt, Kenny Rogers and more. (Not exactly what I was expecting to hear from a hip hop artist but he has a solid taste in music and a variety.)

Me:When did he get into hip hop?". Madman: A family tragedy left me angry and unable to deal with his emotions. A friend introduced me to writing music, song structure. He told me to write about everything that was bothering me inside as a means to get it out and deal with it. (The Madman started and has never looked back, it's been writing and moving forward ever since.)

Me:When did you start performing live? Madman: 2013

Me: Who are your favorites in Hip Hop? Madman: Hopsin, Classified, Jay Z, Eminem and a few others.

Me: Tell us your favorite or some of the favorites that you have performed with. Madman: Classified, Insane Clown Posse, Peter Jackson and Obie Trice. (An impressive list for an artist anywhere yet alone Oshawa, Ontario.)

Me: Any upcoming shows you want to let people know about so they can come check you out? Madman: Mac Lethal on April 7th, I'm an artist for the show as well as promoter.

Me: I see you started a radio station, tell us what it's called and why you started it. Madman: It's called Power Stream Ent. Radio. It's dedicated to all the underground artists who need a place to be heard. Everyone can come together here and get known! (Sounds like a great idea as there's lots of artists looking for means to get radio play and known.)

Me: Any long term goals for your career performing? Madman: Stay relevant and talk about things that matter! Me: Long term for your station? Madman: The goal is to become the number one radio station in the world. 

Me: Any artists that you'd like to work with? Madman: Darius Rucker, I'd like to write a song with him and do a show together. (Like to see that dream come true for you.)

Madman: I want to leave you with a quote. "Get mad and enter my world!"

I'd like to thank Justn Cr3dibl3 "The Madman" for taking time to sit and talk. I have seen him live myself and it's well worth checking out for yourself!

In parting I'd like to leave you with a photo I took of him myself at The Music Hall Oshawa (Awesome venue and staff BTW)

2016/ 2017 and the Future

 If you are reading this you survived 2016 and good on you, it was a tough year. I was hurt in November 2015, further more in December. It really derailed things for my photography and business endeavors. I had to wait until July 2016 in order to get a very risky spinal surgery and have been recovering ever since. 

 Here we are in 2017 and it's time to go after it all. What is in order for 2017? It's time to shoot as many bands and musicians (local and otherwise) as possible. Everyone wants to focus on America for music but Canada has some of the best talent in the world. It's great to have music from other places but Canada is where it's at and it's time more people knew it. I want to shoot, write about and help local musicians get known. Oshawa has some great talent and expanding on that so does Durham Region. 

 To make things even better Oshawa and Durham Region has some incredible live music venues. If you are going to have great local talent, you need to have places to show it off. My music coverage will be including venues. 2017 has a ton of possibilities and we all need to go after what we really want in life.

 I fully admit my writing is lacking but my love for music, concerts and great music venues is genuine. I'm a huge music fan and always will be. I shoot my photos as if I was a fan opening a a magazine, what would I want to see? My coverage won't be limited to one genre either, if there's great music to be covered and they give me access to shoot/ write about it then it's in. Rock n' Roll, Country, Rap, Blues etc it's all good. Music is global, it brings people together and the world needs that! 

That's just my opinion....

Richard Dukeshire

The Tragically Hip Final Show, Let's Shut Down the Internet!

If you are Canadian and love music then the odds are you know the name of this great Canadian band. The Tragically Hip are just that, as hip as they come. These guys have been bringing it on stage every time for years to Canada and the rest of the world.

If you have been one of the lucky ones to have seen them live then you know this to be true. They are a well knit group, not just friends but at this stage of the game, they are family! These guys make you want to stand up and dance no matter how bad you are at it. If you know the words then there's no question you are on your feet singing your heart out with everyone else. These guys are what music is all about and they are one of Canada's greatest exports. I would even go as far to say they are music legends in Canada, they are to me. Let me know if you agree....

The Tragically Hip  started in 1984 in Kingston, Ontario and have rocked it ever since, no one can ever take away from these guys especially with an amazing fourteen Juno awards. There are musicians, bands and singers that go their whole life trying to get nominated for one or win one yet alone fourteen! The Hip as they are commonly known are creative and make poetry into music. Each one of them has their own look and style, yet combined match perfectly into this dynamic band.

I was fortunate enough to work many shows and events with these guys for over a decade while doing concert/ event security and bodyguard work. They were as great offstage as they were on it. All of them friendly, never once did anyone power trip or say "do you know who I am?" which is common to hear as some musicians/ famous people feed their own egos. These guys didn't have to because we knew who they were. They were the great Canadian band that everyone loved and still do.

I remember filming the video for My Music at Work on a Mother's Day of all times in a little place on Queen Street East in Toronto. Karen Campbell (an amazing lady) was the first one I ran into arriving on set who told me we were in for a very busy day. It was cold but that didn't stop anything. There was an open casting call and people came from all over to be in the video. The final scene was Gord Downie turning his back to the crowd and falling back into them and being caught. Not sure if i can disclose why so I won't. I was asked to dress up as a fan and catch Gord when he fell. Being in a video, movie, documentary wasn't new and I was happy to help, it was a fun day. Before we did a couple of test runs the video director or producer said "Please do not drop the Gord, do not break the Gord." we all laughed. The music was cued and we got it done. That is just one of my many memories with these guys.

Unfortunately Gord has been diagnosed with brain cancer and this will be the bands last tour. The Man Machine Poem tour is set to end Saturday August 20, 2016 where it all began in Kingston, Ontario. There really are no words to describe how tragic this is. Everyone please send out their thoughts and prayers to Gord, his friends, family the band for his well being.

I would like to challenge Canada and all the fans around the world to shut down/ break the internet! That's right, let's break the internet by over loading it. Ellen DeGeneres did it with a single tweet and though she's great she has nothing on The Hip. I challenge every Canadian to watch the show anywhere you can and tweet, Facebook, Instagram everything you love about them, what you see, who you are with, what you feel as you watch this last great show. Let's show The Tragically Hip how much we love them, let's show The Hip how grateful we are for the years of amazing memories and give them the love and respect they deserve. When that band finishes their last song I want every fan in Canada on their feet and to cheer so loud they hear you from every corner of this country!

Sincerely, 

Richard Dukeshire

Aug 12, 2016 Toronto, Ontario, Air Canada Center, wish I could be there to shoot their last show but I will be watching from anywhere I can. #thetragicallyhip #thehip #gorddownie #canada #ontario

Week One

I have been home for a week now from the hospital and so happy to be here.

The hospital food was horrible, I spent the entire time in critical care under constant watch and regular check ups.  The surgery was a fusion of my L4/L5. Disc material had been squished into my spinal canal and was pushing against nerves that went to my lower body. My left foot has not been the same since the accident that caused it. There is numbness, tingling and an over all lack of feeling in different parts. It's an odd feeling and makes walking difficult since I have to try and compensate for it.

Special thanks to the people who did the surgery at Toronto Western Hospital and those who assisted or were present during.  Another special thanks to my wife who visited me everyday. She fed me ice chips when my mouth was dry from the drugs, she wiped my forehead with a cold cloth when I was too warm, moved my pillow and helped be comfortable in anyway she could.  It was the most painful experience of my life and she went above and beyond to help me and be there for me. Love her so much!

Everyday is still a struggle, movement is restricted and painful but I'm up on my feet. I need a walker for most days and moving around but can manage very small distances with a cane and the help of walls. At least I'm not dead or in a wheel chair for life, both I was told were a very real possibility. I wake up every night because moving causes pain and reminds me I can't move as I'd like to. I have to try and sleep in one position. It doesn't matter if I sit, stand or lay down, they are all painful. for me each day and night is about finding the least painful position.

Many people have messaged me and expressed their concern for my recovery and I appreciate it more than I can express. Good to know so many care about my well being, thank you to all who reached out to me.  

Next week I am going to get into how the accident happened and how the government is failing workers and the holes in our safety nets that are set up to protect us. 

Wish you all the best until then, cheers!

Disappearing Photographer

Some people who follow my site asked what happened to me and why I haven't been updating my site. The reason is that I was in a work accident and prior to surgery was in pain and not able to do much. I squeezed some very minor work in as my physical abilities were and still are very limited.

In late 2015 I was hurt at work doing rough carpentry trying to make some extra money for photography gear. Now as a result of the injury and surgery I will never do manual labor again. Anyone who reads this needs to heed my warning, do not risk your health for threat of losing your job. Trust me it isn't worth it. 

Now that the spinal surgery is over the recovery process begins. It will take six months to a year for my spine to heal and months and months of physiotherapy. Either way I've lost some mobility for life but am waiting to see once healed whether I can still do my photography. Photography is my creative outlet and my passion. Photography makes me happy and it is always great seeing an idea through from concept to finished product whether its for a client or myself.

There is a lot of work that needs to be done and added to update my site. Technology isn't my thing so be patient as I heal, edit and update. Wish everyone an awesome Summer!

 

They said I may never leave the table alive. They said I may be paralyzed fr life. Here I am less than a week after a major spinal operation. No time for dying or being trapped in a wheel chair, too many things to do and goals to reach. Besides, quitters never reach their dreams!  

They said I may never leave the table alive. They said I may be paralyzed fr life. Here I am less than a week after a major spinal operation. No time for dying or being trapped in a wheel chair, too many things to do and goals to reach. Besides, quitters never reach their dreams!

 

Headshots for Hope

In my last blog I talked about helping out in relation to a model friend. This time I'm going to talk about helping on a  larger scale. People need to help others and get involved when they can.

 I have tossed around ideas on how to help my community and do volunteer work when I can. I'm a member of a veterans club and volunteer for them whenever I am needed. If it wasn't for the vets we wouldn't have this great country, we owe it to them to do what we can, that's my feelings on it anyway. So helping with the vets is great but it dawned on me that more could be done but what? I'm a photographer so how to make that into a way to help others became the issue.

The other thing was where to help? It just seemed to make sense that local businesses should help their own community and that's my goal. The next question was who to donate to? Then I remembered hearing about Hearth Place from a friend of mine. She made it very clear that without their help she wouldn't be here today. That sold me right there. Local business helping the local community, what a great idea. My plan became this, shoot headshots/ portraits and give all the money to Hearth Place. My studio is mobile, not a permanent one so I went and spoke to Robert Gunn, the manager of Henry's in Oshawa. Right away he liked the idea of helping support a local charity and they have offered a room/ studio to host this event in. Since then they have offered up lighting, a monitor etc. My deepest gratitude for Robert Gunn and Henry's Camera Oshawa for being on board so quickly! They are a great store for photography with staff to match.

 For those who may not have heard of Hearth Place, they are a cancer support center. They provide community support for people with cancer and their families. They provide individual and group support, information and resources. They provide wellness programs and discussion series plus so much more. Hearth Place is not publicly funded and rely on donations and help from people like you and I. 

 I can't do what these amazing people do but just maybe with the help of Henry's in Oshawa we can raise money so they can continue their awesome work. So please come in and get a portrait or headshot done. We ask for a minimum ten dollar donation which helps the local community and you get a great shot for Facebook, Linked In or anywhere else you made need to use a photo.

Hope to see you all this Saturday at 245 King st West in Oshawa between 12pm and 4pm.

Helping Out

As a photographer you are regularly approached to work for free or "help" someone with free images.

Sometimes it can be frustrating as photography seems to be undervalued even though pictures play an important part in our lives. Other times as in this case it can be a way to step out of your comfort zone and be creative.

I was approached by a local model who wanted to win a contest for the Oshawa Centre and become their "style icon". The winner of the contest would become a guest blogger and win a variety of gift cards from the stores in the mall. The contestants had to post different fashion looks from clothing sold in the O.C. Fashion is not my regular style but it seemed like it may be fun and give me a reason to try something different while helping a friend. 

We went a couple of times in short trips to different stores and grabbed some snap shots in and out of the mall. Along the way we did run into some great staff. Special shout out to the staff of Le Chateau and H&M, they were extremely helpful and polite! In the end we may not have won but we had fun and I had the chance to meet new people and get creative so for me it was well worth it. 

I suggest everyone take time to help others when they can, it may just have some unexpected rewards. 

Update

It was my goal to rock 2016 but sometimes there are setbacks that you just can't account for when making plans. Such is my unfortunate case.

In case you don't know photography is an amazing art which allows you to express yourself and be creative. It also can be expensive with things to use for this job. My goal was to get a regular day job to buy new gear so everything was updated and allow me better quality of work. 

I took a job last summer doing rough carpentry building walls, floors and trusses for roofs. Unfortunately I was injured and have a very damaged spine. In order for me to return to an active lifestyle I need spinal surgery. Due to this injury there are physical restrictions to follow so my shooting has been very minimal since November/ December of 2015. Any shooting that does get done is with a bare minimum amount of equipment.

I will post updates as they happen but let me leave you with one thought. If you don't have your health then you have nothing. Be very careful what with you do and how you do it. Some injuries as in my case can not be undone or reversed. I promise you this is not a situation anyone wants to be in. 

Sincerely,

Richard

2015 Changes To My Site

Last year I need to take as a learning experience and listen to the feedback given to me. What I didn't realize was that a number of women want photo shoots done but won't hire me because they are not models. 

You don't need to be a model to get photos done of yourself if it is what you want or will make you feel better etc. Everyone has the right to and should feel good about themselves. I am going to be adding a section of non-models that fall under the umbrella of Glamour, Boudoir, Lingerie and Fine Art Nudes. All women are encouraged to talk to me about having a shoot done and have the shoot made specifically for each one of them. My photo sessions are made to make each person look their best and show off their best features.

The other thing I am adding to my site is before and after photos. Most women in my experience don't want others to see them with no make up but there is nothing wrong with it. We are all human! 

Boots and Hearts

 Well ladies and gentlemen it is that time of year again. That's right Boots and Hearts is here once more. It is the number one country music festival in Canada, that is quite a claim to be able to boast. They deliver with an all star weekend of amazing country music artists. They have multiple stages as well so viewers have a variety of artists to see. Very well thought out idea if you ask me.

 Campers are already pouring into the camp grounds and claiming their spots. The music doesn't start until tomorrow night at 6pm but that's not stopping anyone from having fun tonight. There is already a sea of tents i'm told. Hopefully the weather will be good to everyone as it did get some heavy rain last year as well as some thunder & lightning.

I can't wait to see all the people having fun and partying while enjoying an impressive opening night of music on the Front Porch Stage. Tomorrow nights line up kicks off with The Reklaws then Natalie Stovall and The Drive followed by Brett Kissel and ending with Dallas Smith. Everyone is sure to have a great time with a line up like that!

#countrymusic #bootsandhearts #festival #party #goodtimes 

 

Today I Bring you Bif Naked!

  Today I bring you Bif Naked! This lady is a very talented musician and has covered other styles of music but it's her rocking out that I will forever know her by. She has numerous albums under her belt, graced many stages and puts on one hell of a show! If you know her you love her and if you don't then you should so read on. I reached out to Bif via Twitter and she took some time to answer a few questions. Here's what she had to say.

 My name is "Bif Naked" and I am a performer who has been making records and performing internationally for twenty five years. I am a Canadian Citizen but was born in India and have American adoptive parents. 

 My style of music has always been very diverse, crossing from punk to metal to pop. My first band was a "world music" band playing everything from North African music to Indian ragas to folk, and then by the time I was eighteen I was in my second band which was a punk rock band. My third band was a thrash band. Finally, I started making solo records and used much of my previous diversity to inform my song writing. I have been very lucky in this way.

 My first solo record was, really, a dream come true for me. I never would have ever dreamed, especially at that time, that anyone would believe in me enough to make a record with me. My manager, Peter Karroll, and my producer at that time, John Dexter, believed in me enough to give me creative carte blanche and really blossom as a young artist. I will never forget that magical time in my life.

 I have always loved making records and feel very happy to have had those opportunities. I feel lucky to have been making records in an era when kids still bought records and listened to the whole thing, as a body of work presented by the artist, as the artist intended. I am very proud of each record and every single one was a complete emotional struggle for me, as a lyricist pouring my various heartaches into words. I love writing poetry and finally, found a vehicle for it all. It was transformational for me, every time. Very freeing.

 Every record was integral for me, and each one has a special song that still resonates for me every time we perform it. "Lucky" was submitted for my first record but did not make the cut, until I tried again on my second record, "I, Bificus". Very grateful that it was released. Also, "I Love Myself Today" from my "Purge" record was extremely empowering to sing, every time I sing it. My "Superbeautifulmonster" record has the song "Everyday" which is a response to a fear of death. Ironically, I would be diagnosed with cancer a couple years later. "The Promise" was a record we recorded while I was in chemo, so that will always have a special place in my heart.

 I love performing and love my bandmates. Touring and being on the road is all I have ever known and have been on tour essentially since 1989. I am happy to say that I have only ever missed ONE show, due to heinous strep throat, in 1994. We toured in vans for many years, sleeping in the vehicle on top of the equipment and finally, my first European tour, we got our first tour bus. It was incredible. 

 Yes, I have a million stories and, yes, many crazy road stories. LOL! I am writing a book for Harper Collins and many of those stories will be in there. Most of my personal experience with my fans are totally positive and I am so grateful to have the sweetest fans in the World!

 I am a huge admirer of EVERY human being I have ever met, from chemo nurses to celebrities to kindergarden teachers to mechanics, and it is hard to come up with just one or two stories. I was only speechless from meeting two people in my life: Jay Leno, when we appeared on The Tonight Show, and James Hetfield from Metallica, the first time I met them in 1996. Literally, and completely, tongue-tied, like a little kid.

 I am very fortunate to have fans in every country we have ever toured in, and even some that we haven't. American fans are the least shy, and I would have to say that our fans in Italy and Spain are the loudest. 

 When I was in cancer treatments I started to volunteer with some of the other patients and at that time I was asked to speak at a few fundraisers for different breast cancer charities. I loved this and it was a natural fit for me, especially as a breast cancer patient, myself. I was able to effectively speak from the heart as I had first-hand experience. I believe the best thing about going through my own cancer treatment, is the fact that I can now speak about these topics with knowledge and experience. 

 I do hope to encourage people to seek knowledge about, and be better informed about so many issues. I am passionate about healthcare, specifically, palliative care and the needs of those patients and their families. I am also extremely passionate about animal welfare, about Indigenous Sovereignty, about the Rights of Women, about LGBTQ2S rights, and much more. I love learning and I love people, and as a result- I find a lot of joy in creating dialogue, provoking questioning, and sharing information.

 We are in the middle of recording new music and preparing for autumn touring. I spend much of the year writing my poetry and by upcoming memoirs, so it's a great escape to get back to singing once and a while. LOL! I am never far from The Stage.

 We are always threatening to make a Death Metal Supergroup here in Vancouver, comprised of some fierce musicians. I would be the secondary singer in this project, with a male frontman singing in the "cookie monster" voice. This will be a joyful project, to counter the project we did a couple years ago which is all dance music. It's so much fun! I am also in the middle of choreographing for that project. We would like to do a Complete Work, incorporating dance, theatrical musical performance, and images. 

 I love SO many acts from Canada. Everyone from 3 Inches of Blood, to Drake, Michael Bublé, Chromeo, Arcade Fire, Kittie, Deadmau5, Propagandhi, Jann Arden, Strapping Young Lad, Esthero, The Be Good Tanyas, D.O.A., and don't forget: Justin Bieber is a Canadian kid, too!

  The Music Industry is just like any other industry, with the Key to Success being PERSEVERANCE! Don't give up and keep going, keep trying. Ultimately, doing what you love is it's own reward. I always say as long as we can "pay the rent and feed the dogs" from music, or any job, is a great accomplishment. Never give up!

  I keep believing that the biggest and brightest part of my career is AHEAD of me. The Best is Yet to Come for ALL of us, as we continue to grow, learn, and evolve. I could have died completely satisfied in 1994 when my first-ever cd came out! Everything after this has all been a bonus. I feel privileged every single day.

 If I could let the fans know things about myself (that they do not already know) it would probably be that I could eat ONLY bananas every day, all day, forever and never be bored of it.....and that my eyebrows never grew back after chemo and I draw them on every single day. Usually very horribly. LOL!

 I would just like to say thank you for your interest and wanting to interview me. I am very appreciative and I thank you. Namaste.

 When most people think of celebrities or in this case famous musicians they forget that they are real people and have struggles like everyone else. Bif is such an inspirational story, she fought to make it in music then has a very serious illness, comes out of it, still works on more music and volunteers full time. This woman is incredible. I have seen her perform live and let me tell you that she owns the stage from start to finish. If you haven't seen her live then you really need to treat yourself. Very much looking forward to hearing this new album and hope all of you are too.

 My final thoughts after reading what she sent me are these, you make me proud to be Canadian and are someone that many can draw inspiration from. I wish you all the love, happiness and success in life that you can handle.

The Enchanting Sound of Chloe Charles

 I can't say this enough, it amazes me how the internet allows people to connect that may never otherwise speak to one another. Although my musical tastes include many genres of music and from all over the world, I'm always happiest to let people know about Canadian artists. This is especially true for talented ones as is the case with Chloe Charles. This Ontario singer is someone you need to pay attention to, she hasn't even begun to reach her peak.

 Chloe Charles is a very talented singer and it comes as no surprise that she has made it this far. As I'm writing this I'm listening to one of her songs "Soon on a Snowflake". She has a clean sound and the song gets you from the first line, there is no stopping or pausing this track. I reached out to Chloe who isn't just busy but at the time of her reply is on tour in Europe and working on new music. It was greatly appreciated to have her take some time for me and everyone out there. Here's what she had to share with us.

1) Could you please introduce yourself and tell us who you are?

Well, hello there! I'm Chloe.  I write songs and sing them and enlist amazingly talented musicians to play with me. I love classical music and have a great appreciation for experimentation and courage. I am trying to live my dream while giving back something positive to this absurd society. 

2) Where are you from? I'm from Toronto Canada but spent most of my childhood in a forest near Claremont Ontario.  I like to say I was raised by coyotes...Tehehe  

3) How did you get into music and why? I was extremely shy but always wanted to sing.  While I was at university studying psychology, my Dad asked me what I really wanted to do and I said, sing. So I took a year off of University, worked on some r&b/jazz stuff with a producer but in the end I discovered that I didn't want to go in that direction.  Went back to school to finish my degree. One summer I realized that I needed to be able to be the composer of my songs so picked up the guitar and taught myself to play.  I went to Germany with the goal to write 12 new songs ready to perform the following year. I finished my degree because I don't like leaving things unfinished and do love learning. Following, I gave myself 1 year no stress to test out music as a career.  Within 6 months I knew I made the right decision. And here we are.

4) Who are your influences in music?

Thats endless. I can't even go there. They spawn from authors to films to musicians.  This video says it better than I ever have before: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=098kRwsj5Zs

5) What is your focus and some of your goals ?

My focus is being authentic, creating music that is real and beautiful and moving. I want to connect with people by sharing my most honest feelings and thoughts.  No secrets! No shame!  I'm just trying to survive this rat race by finding my own way within it.

6) Where can people hear you online? 

This is a recent show I did in France:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7xFVQJLpug

But you can find me all over youtube and of course on my website.

7) Your website address? Facebook?

www.chloecharles.com

 

www.facebook.com/chloe.charles.music

8) What if anything do you want the fans to know about you?

I never really felt like I fit into this society but when you show me that my music speaks to you, I feel as though we've created our own little world within this one. 

9) Any advice for people looking to pursue a dream of music?

Just try it. Everything is worth trying.  You can always change your mind.

10) How would you describe your sound?

Deep, playful, lush, quirky, sombre, open, honest

11) When and where is your next show so fans can get the full music experience?

 

12) Is there any charity you support or would like to help bring attention to?

Well, right now I am doing a crowd funding campaign for my next album and 5% of anything raised above my goal goes to WWF. I am an animal freak. Animals are so pure and cuddly (At least in my mind. I would be ok with dying by being eaten by a Lion as long as I got the chance to cuddle it). 

!3) Any final thoughts or comments for the fans out there?

If you are a fan, thank you so much for supporting what I do and being part of the little world I've/we've created. As mentioned, I'm raising funds for my 2nd album and need some help.  Any contribution helps, from donations to Facebook posts, tweets to simple word of mouth.  http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/chloecharles

Breelan Angel, remember the name!

A young lady from the States reached out to me on Twitter and I was happy to have returned the favor. She sent me a link to her site and I listened to her music. There is one song in particular that caught my attention called "Halfway to Wasted". The song has a really good feel to it, if that makes sense to anyone.  My gut tells me that this talented singer/ songwriter will not be just opening for more big acts but be one herself! Here's what she had to share with us all.

1) Could you please introduce yourself and tell us what you do?

Hey ya’ll, my name is Breelan Angel and I am a country music singer/songwriter! I spend my life constantly on the road either performing or writing with people from all over the country J 

2) Where are you from? Born and raised in Baytown, Texas. 

3) How did you get into music and why? I decided music was going to be my profession in the middle of college when I realized how much I loved singing karaoke and wanted to make singing my life! For years I wanted to take on music as a profession but was always scared to take the plunge until I finally found the confidence within to take a chance and see where it goes always saying that no matter what happens, I gave my dream a chance!! 

4) Who are your influences in music? I have always looked up to Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Reba McEntire, and Miranda Lambert among several others. 

5) What is your focus and some of your goals for your music career? I just dream to make a happy life out of doing what I love which is creating and performing music that the people love to hear and can relate to! Anything extra that comes with it is just a bonus. 

6) Where can people hear you online? You can get our last to singles on itunes as well as check in to our website at breelanangel.com which links to our twitter, facebook and instagram J 

7) Your website address? Facebook? www.breelanangel.com and www.facebook.com/breelanangelmusic 

8) What if anything do you want the fans to know about you? I’m pursuing a dream that seemed impossible and I’m doing it based on pure love and passion, not for the fame or the money. I hope that they listen to our music and feel inspired to reach for a dream they once thought was impossible too!! 

9) Any advice for people looking to pursue a dream of music? Always try to find the positive in every situation because it’s a very tough road. Hold on to the great moments and remember how you felt when something magical happened and it’ll get you through those hard times, let those moments push you to keep on going and never give up!! 

10) How would you describe your sound? I’d say I’m a mix of traditional meets Texas country meets country rock!  

When and where is your next show so fans can get the full music experience? May 3rd in Baytown, Texas opening for Aaron Watson! We go on at 9, getting ready to do a radio tour to promote the album for the next month

12) Is there any charity you support or would like to help bring attention to? We are talking with a few right now so I’ll have to get back to ya! 

13) Do you have a favorite moment or highlight you would share with us? In 2013 I had the honor of opening for Loretta Lynn and to this day it’s still extremely surreal. I never, ever in a million years thought that I’d be sharing a stage with this particular female country music legend. She was the sweetest lady and so humble and it was so inspiring to see someone with her kind of success still be so laid back and personable. I owe a big thanks to everyone involved in making that day a reality and especially Loretta for allowing me to have this memory for the rest of my life. 

14)  Any final thoughts or comments for the fans out there?

 I’ll leave with you the quote I live by, “Glass Half Full”. Thank you so much for listening and supporting our music, we appreciate every single one of you for helping me make my dreams come true!!! <3 

After reading her answers to my questions there is no doubt Breelan Angel isn't just talented but also very positive. She is on a tough road and has been but still encourages others, this is exactly more of what the world needs! Breelan I wish you great success and have no doubt that you will achieve it. Hope to meet you someday when you play to one of your own sold out shows here in Canada, in the mean time best of luck. We all will look forward to hearing what you release in the future!

Ontario Has a New Star on the Rise

I have heard it said that you never know who you will meet or when. What they didn't say is that you also do not know who they may be later on, this is the case with Rodney Swain. Like a lot of people we met through our wives who used to work together. People had told me that I needed to hear him sing but that was nothing new to me. Lots of people "know the next big thing" but almost none ever pan out. One night we were all at a karaoke bar for a work party and it started like I thought it would with various people butchering some classic tunes. While sitting there chatting Rodney had got up and started singing. It made me turn around in my seat to see who it was. To my surprise he had got up to do a country cover song and he nailed it! Before going on take a few moments to read over his answers to my questions.

Rodney Promo TW.jpg

1) My name is Rodney Swain and I am a country music singer/songwriter. My goal is to create music that makes people feel good.  When I am not involved with music I am a Social Service Worker.

2) I was born in Sudbury Ontario, but now I live in Oshawa, Ontario. 

3) I was always involved in music singing at camp fires and in variety shows. A few years back I wrote a few songs that were sold internationally. After selling many copies in Canada and in the U.S.A, I decided to take the music industry more seriously. What really set things in motion was a friend who told me I had some talent. He was right. 

4) The most influential artist I can remember was Garth Brooks. He was a great songwriter, but his songs had a story. Believe it or not I judge singers more on the material they write not how good they sing. There are a lot of average singers out there with above average songs they wrote, that is influential. 

5) Recently I finished a new song in the studio. The song has grabbed the attention from a past Canadian Juno award winner along with a producer in the Miami, Florida. What makes this story exciting is that the producer from Miami is also a producer for the biggest stars in the music industry. That's cool.   

6) Right now my social media sites are under re-development. 

7) Websites are currently under development.

8) I always treat everyone with respect and do not think I am better than anyone else. At all the shows I've played I have stayed after to meet and greet all the fans that wanted to meet me. I consider myself a singer/songwriter and feel privileged to be able to do both.


9) Treat everyone with respect and don't look done at anyone. You never know when that someone you looked down on knows someone important.

10) I would describe my music sound as my sound. I love country music and sing what I feel. Every new artist says their music is great and different, but I say mine is fun and from the heart.

11) Currently my band and I are ready to launch our new single. Future shows will be posted for fans to come out     and join us.

12) I always liked the direction of Children's make a wish foundation. In the future it would be great to help make a wish come true.

13) A highlight moment for me was when I had 100 people standing in line to buy debut EP album. On this day I sold 150 albums and signed autographs.

14) I will have all social media and music sites ready for viewing as soon as possible it should not take long. 

Thank you for all your support.

Since that night in the karaoke bar Rodney Swain and I have become good friends and there are some things all of you should know. He isn't just a good musician but a good guy as well. It's people like him working hard to reach their dreams that will keep Canada on the music charts!

The next Nashville Sensation....

I was lucky enough to connect with Chase Allan via Twitter. It's funny how technology has allowed people to reach one another from around the world that normally would never connect. We started chatting and he shared some of his music with me. That lead to more chatting and the sharing of more music. Well before I get into it more let me post his replies to my questions so you can learn about him more through his own words

1) Could you please introduce yourself and tell us what you do?

Hello from Nashville....My name is Chase Allan and I’m a Nashville based Artist.
I sing, write, and produce my own music. I’ve played all over the U.S. including most of the hot spots in Nashville. I was nominated and won the Nashville Top Independent Male Country Artist Award. I’ve been fortunate to work with many of the top Studio Musicians and Engineers in Nashville. I’ve been “Walking the Line’ and making music in Nashville for the last 5 years. 

2) Where are you from?

I’m originally from Florida and Ohio...I lived in both States growing up.

3) How did you get into music and why?

The first time I ever performed was at the age of 4 yrs. old. It was in a small church where my mother was the song leader. At a young age I was around music all the time.  I went on to study Classical Music. Including training Vocally in Classical music.  I also was involved with Jazz which believe it or not I played Trumpet. First performance playing Jazz was at 15 in a local Jazz club.  I was involved in high school with everything I could do concerning music...Marching Band, Jazz Band, Orchestra, Chorus, Recitals, and what I thought at the time a cool high school Rock band. I taught myself to play piano at a young age which ultimately led me to playing other instruments. I eventually started to write music at the age of 12. I still can remember my first song a song for my first crush.
I’ve loved music from a young age, all kinds of music. Music impacted my everyday life growing up and still does to this day.  Music is a form of sharing a part of yourself with people and it allows you to communicate ideas, which for me is always positive.

4) Who are your influences in music?

My influences range widely. I’ve always loved Lead Vocalists who could bring it on stage.  Singers like Paul Rogers, Steve Perry, Freddie Mercury and Robert Plant. These guys are all icons. I also love performers Dwight Yoakum, Bryan Adams, and Vince Gill.
There so many that I listen to that I just say Wow!

5) What is your focus and some of your goals for your music career?

My focus is to continue to build a solid fan base and to continue to write great music at a high level, The fans deserve that from me. I also  presently looking for a Label that understand my vision in where I want to take my music which is to the next level.

6) Where can people hear you online? 

Sound Cloud: http://www.soundcloud.com/chaseallanmusic 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chaseallannashville
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chaseallanmusic

7) What if anything do you want the fans to know about you?

I would like the fans to know that I do and always will put the fans first.  They are the driving force behind why I keep going on in this crazy music business.  I love to interact with fans and I do it on a daily basis. It’s a lot of fun to meet people from all over the world and to have the opportunity to share my music with them.

8) Any advice for people looking to pursue a dream of music?

Really three things. First always believe in yourself because there will be times as an artist where you feel like the cards are stacked against ya. You always have to remember to be determined in pursuit of your dream.
Second you have to really have your own identity, your own sound that stands out from the rest of the pack.  Third I tell other artists when one door closes, kick the next one in. There will always be opportunities for you. Sometimes you have to make them. Get out there and shine with your music, don’t hide it.

9) How would you describe your sound?

My Sound is a whole lotta Rock n Roll with just enough Country to make it fun.  My music is very Radio friendly but not simple. I love to use ups and downs in my music. Taking people on a emotional journey is what it’s all about.

10) When and where is your next show so fans can get the full music experience?

At this moment we are still preparing my Show dates. Stay tuned with my Twitter and Facebook for dates. I will be doing a Charity Show in Malibu, California in the Spring. The date and information will be announced.

11) Is there any charity you support or would like to help bring attention to?

I really would like to bring attention to The Somer Thompson Foundation. She was a 7 yr. old girl who was kidnapped and murdered from Florida. Actually my song “You Say Goodnight” was inspired by her death. 

12) Do you have a favorite moment or highlight you would share with us? 

The first time I ever recorded in Nashville was a Treasure Isle Studio.
I had to show the arrangement of one of my songs to some of the top studio musicians in Nashville.  So I gathered them around the grand piano and started to play. Chris Leuzinger of Garth Brooks, Rich Redmond and Tully Kennedy of the Jason Aldean Band, Kenny Greenberg who just played EG for Kenny Chesney’s tour and one of the best B. James Lowery all stood around the piano and listened. I knew I had arrived in Music City.
 
13) Any final thoughts or comments for the fans out there?

Fans are the most important part of me as an artist. Fans are not just a number to me, every single person is important to me. I love meeting and talking to people who enjoy my music and believe in me. I want to continue to make music at a high level, music that people can get lost in the moment to.

 As I was saying before the blog questions that Chase answered for me, we chatted on Twitter and he shared music with me. That brought on emails and Skype conversations and me listening very happily to more of his music. There are a lot of people that share music with me and hope that I will tell them it's great but if I don't honestly like it or something about it I say so. Chase Allan blew me away with his music and I can not encourage people enough to seek it out online. I am officially calling it right now that Chase Allan is a superstar and the rest of the world needs to catch up and see for themselves. This guy is going to take over the music charts and the music world with it! All I can say is that it is going to be a pleasure to meet the man behind the music when he makes it up to Canada. In the meantime we will all have to look forward to following him online. Chase, thank you for answering my questions and I look forward to what is sure to be a very successful career!