Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
I was born and raised in Peterborough, Ontario but I’m currently based in the Toronto area. There’s a wide range of music that comes through this area. It’s not necessarily the hub for country music but country is definitely building a name in the Toronto music scene. Being surrounded by so many genres of music has definitely influenced my current sound!
How did you first start playing music?
I’ve been singing and writing songs since I was very young and I always knew I wanted to be a performing artist. The way I started on the stage was through singing contests and open mics. I didn’t have access to singing on stage in any other way, so this became a good way for me to learn and develop. From that, it turned into showcases and then bookings. My stage experience has come a long way – there’s nothing else like it! I love being an entertainer!
What’s been happening recently?
Well, I released my new summer song “Free” and it’s been getting an amazing response so far! Apple Music has really gotten behind it and it’s been so cool to see how much people are really into it. I wanted this song to be something that would pump people up and remind them of those moments when they’ve felt most free.
Also, I haven’t released a song to Canadian radio in a while and I’m proud to say that this song has gone to radio… so that’s really exciting for me! I also just finished in the studio to record more songs and will have an official music video for “Free” later this month. Oh, and did I mention that I have a Youtube video series? It’s been an interesting experience so far. I’ve been filming and editing like crazy but I love being able to stay connected with my fans in a more personal way.
Your new single ‘Free’ is out now, what influenced the sound and songwriting?
I wanted to create a summer anthem and knew that the tempo and energy would be really important to capture that. I love that country music is all about telling the story and giving the listener a real experience through song. Country has definitely influenced my way of storytelling and how I emote it through my voice. As I’ve grown in this industry and grown in my experiences, I also really like bringing in other inspirations like catchy pop melodies and structures to bring a unique sound to my songwriting. This song was inspired by some of the electronic pop styles of music happening right now and I thought it would be fun to experiment and bring it into my brand of country music.
How did you go about writing Free?
It started with a title and the hook. I knew that I wanted to write an upbeat, feel good song and started playing around with melody and hook ideas. The words “We were young and wild and free” was definitely the first inspiration that started the direction of the song. I recorded a voice note in my phone with me tapping my leg for a feel of the tempo and then sent it to my co-writer Shawn Moore. We got together to work on this idea and it came pretty easily for us. I wanted to share some of my own personal memories growing up in my hometown and give the listener some painted pictures through the lyrics. I love that it captures a fun summertime feel, while being nostalgic.
Where and when did you record and who with?
This was recorded in Vancouver, BC with Dan Swinimer from Manicdown Productions. Dan had been prepping this song a couple of months before we got together in his studio to record my vocals in January. He’s a great person and a tremendous talent. He really drove the production home!
You’re working with multiple producers at the moment (Dan Swinimer, Paul Shatto & David Wills) how did this come about and how are you keeping the production cohesive whilst working with 3 different producers?
I had the fortune of being introduced to Paul Shatto & David Wills through my publicist Jasper Anson. I met them for the first time during a tour when I was performing at Sunfest on Vancouver Island. Paul & David are a great duo that I connected with right away and knew we’d work well together. We’re like-minded people and I really like how invested they are in getting to know the unique attributes of an artist. They’re able to take that information and personify the productions in a very honest way.
I met Dan Swinimer on the same trip to BC after a last minute opportunity to write together. I’ve obviously heard Dan’s work before and was super impressed by his talent. I really enjoyed getting to write with him as well! Dan comes from the background of being on stage in a band as well as developing artists, and I knew that he’d be able to bring all of those years of experience to my music. Not only that but It makes a big difference for me when I get to know someone through songwriting, so that I can see if we have the right creative chemistry and if the vision is there to make a song the best it can be. It’s been an honor and a lot of fun to work with Dan so far… I mean, listen to my song “Free” – he blew that one out of the water!
Both production teams are slightly different in their approaches, but very much the same in that they want the best for the artist. I love that! I’ve never had multi-producers on a project before, but I really like the freedom of being able to show slightly different sides to me. These producers are going to do that in an amazing way and because I’m at the center of it all – my songs, my vision and my style are what’s going to make it all connect.
Please tell us about the challenges that you’ve come across whilst recording virtually:
Fortunately I haven’t had to do too much of that. I’ve been listening to the tracks in my headphones and recording vocals in my voice notes. Surprisingly, that’s worked well enough for everyone to start building worktapes and get the song directions figured out.
Other than that, the difficulty has come from not being able to connect in person. In person is always better for creating. You vibe off of each other’s thoughts and energy! The good thing is that I had my song “Free” ready for release a few months early, so it’s given enough time for everything to open back up, so that we can finish our project together.
Please tell us about your experience with releasing music during this unique COVID19 period:
It’s been a lot different than what I’ve been used to and forced me to change my mould of how I do things. My team and I had to put our heads together to come up with ways that we could make this happen in a changing world. It happened in the middle of my own momentum and once that happened, I had no idea what to do next and how to make it happen. By working on these new ways of doing things it’s definitely shined a light on new ways I can connect even more with my fans. It’s been amazing to see how connected I’ve become with them and how excited they are about my musical journey.
You have a YouTube vlog series, how did this come about and what is the vlog about?
It happened through these discussions about releasing music during covid-19. Since I couldn’t be out on the road connecting with fans and the industry, we thought what better way to do that than create a video series? I’ve never done something like this before so each week is a new experience. My song “Free” is the centerpiece to the series, with all of the topics being related to the themes of the song, either through self-help inspired videos or behind the scenes vlogs. The behind the scenes look at my life is as an artist and the different developments of “Free” during my life right now.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
That definitely changes week to week, but I’ve been really into Danielle Bradberry’s music. I’m a big fan of a growing artist named Kelleigh Bannen, I also love Tenille Townes’ stuff and been listening lost to Morgan Wallen, Travis Denning, and Thomas Rhett, too.
What do you like to do away from music?
I love the outdoors. Any of my free time is usually spent doing something outdoors. I love being by the lake, by a bonfire. I’ve been trying to soak in those moments when I can. I also love family time. My family means so much to me. So nothing too exciting – haha – family time and outdoors time. And since this Covid-19 thing, I’ve been getting into cooking too!
What’s planned for the remainder of 2020?
Depending on what life is like for the remainder of this year, I hope to be out performing again, for sure. But either way, I’ll be recording the rest of my project, putting out full-on music videos, creating more YouTube episodes, releasing more music and writing more music! Music is my life.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
Favourite food.. can I saw two? A great pizza or pasta. I love my carbs haha. Favourite place to hang out… anywhere outdoors with some sunshine and good company!