Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
I’ve lived in Canada my entire life, and I’ve been living in Vancouver since 2010. I moved here because the music scene is so much more expansive than Vernon, where I was living before. I was drawn into Vancouver more frequently for writing sessions, recording sessions, or other music related meetings.
There’s such an rich history of amazing music in this city, from Bryan Adams, to Loverboy, to fellow Vernon originating artist Daniel Powter who’s huge hit single ‘Bad Day’ was an inspiration to me. It made me think “this guy comes from the same small town as me, if he can do it, maybe I can!”
It was through the support of my Juno-nominated mentor Nancy Nash that I reached out to mix engineer Mike Fraser and producer Jeff Dawson (who produced ‘Bad Day’), and began my musician’s journey in Vancouver.
It’s also been amazing living in a major city where so many major concert tours come through. I’ve been able to see some of my idols over the last few years, such as John Legend, Queen + Adam Lambert, Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood, Gavin DeGraw, Tori Kelly, Troye Sivan, and many others.
What’s been happening recently?
Lately, I’ve been celebrating the release of my new holiday single “Christmas Time This Year”, as well as my debut album which will be released early 2020. I’ve also really been focusing on my social media and uploading 60-second covers of songs I love, as well as sharing behind the scenes moments from recent photo shoots, video productions, or studio sessions.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
These days, I’m listening to a variety of artists – Tori Kelly, the new Jonas Brothers album, Lauv, Taylor Swift, Shawn Mendes, the new Coldplay double-album, Adam Lambert, Sam Smith, and Harry Styles. I always have a soft spot for new pop music that really puts an emphasis on strong vocals and songwriting.
Who or what influences your sound and songwriting?
I’ve been influenced by older soul sounds with the falsetto hooks of modern artists like Coldplay, the emotional lyrics of artists like Sam Smith, and recurring themes of love and friendship. I think music can be really healing, and I hope that mine can be an inspiring and encouraging influence on everyone who hears it.
Please tell us about your work with Jeff Dawson especially regarding your new album:
Working with Jeff has been amazing! Together, we have really been able to take time and make sure each song gets to a level we are excited about. We have written the majority of album together, as well as a couple of other great local artists like Téa Petrovic and Andrew Allen.
Because of this, we have been invested in getting the best versions of these songs… whether that means late lyric changes, or adjustments to the production or mixes, we’re both excited to make the changes necessary to bring these songs to life.
The lead single from the album is called “Anything”, which is a song I wrote way back in 2009. I recently re-discovered the demo I recorded in my parents’ basement in Vernon, I fell back in love with the song, and the way Jeff has produced it is just perfect.
What can we expect from your upcoming album?
With the full album, the focus has been on heartfelt lyrics, with strong melodies and vocal performances, backed by lush instrumentation. Several songs have a nostalgic vibe, with elements of soul and Motown, while others are more pure pop. There are piano ballads, up-tempo pop/soulful songs, and a song with a bit of a Latin-influence! But the throughline of passionate vocals with honest, heartfelt lyrics is there all the way through.
How do you prepare for live shows?
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse… I try to make sure my voice is in as good shape as it can be. I try to relax beforehand so as to not over-think the performance and stress myself out. I find it’s great to be in the moment. Also having sufficient rehearsals with the band so everyone is on the same page is really important.
What do you like to do away from music?
Outside of music, I am a pretty huge nerd! Since as far back as I can remember, my family had the original NES, and I would spend hours upon hours playing the original Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt video games, and ever since then, I’ve been a gamer. I’ve been playing tons of new games on Nintendo Switch and PS4. One of my fave things to do is have friends over to have drinks and play Mario Kart. I also love going to movies, attending concerts, reading comics, or going out to enjoy drinks and food. Vancouver has such a diverse palate of food choices so it’s always fun to try something new!
What’s planned for the remainder of 2019 going into 2020?
For the rest of 2019, I am promoting “Christmas Time This Year” as much as possible.
I have a beautiful acoustic video I just released for the song and will keep on releasing fun 60 second covers on my Instagram page as well as some full length covers on YouTube.
In, 2020 things will really heat up with the release of “Anything” in February with an accompanying music video, and then the full album arriving shortly after! I’m going to be performing live a lot more in 2020 as well and really getting these new songs in front of people. I’m so excited!
Favourite food and place to hangout?
I love good pizza, and have a bit of a sweet tooth so I really enjoy going out for Gelato. Fave place to hang out is probably the movie theatre, I usually go at least once a week! I love seeing new films in all genres. I also spend a lot of time at different concert venues catching the major artists that come through town.
Please tell us why you chose to come back with your latest single ‘Christmas Time This Year’:
I’ve been in the studio a lot over the last year and a half, and I’m really happy with how my upcoming album has turned out. I decided to precede the album with a Christmas single mainly because I love Christmas music. The latest several years I really wanted to write and record a Christmas song, and with the album finally ready to come out, I figured that a romantic and nostalgic sounding holiday song would be a perfect lead in to that.
I think it thematically and sonically really fits with the album, and that anyone who likes it will really be excited with what is coming with ‘Anything’ and the full album!