Originally posted on NewMusic Ten for NXNE on June 11, 2013:
Toronto is a city where there’s always a lot going on when it comes to live music. Why should folks come out to see you at NXNE? What makes you stand out? And what’s your favourite T.O. venue?
Sass ’n soul! My music is a mix of old-school Motown and contemporary pop, so I perform with a killer horn section. There are tons of snaps, claps, and golden trumpet peals, along with a whole bunch of soulful swagger. It’s a blast and a half.
I’ve played a handful of venues around town and thought they were all nice. My favo(u)rite would probably have to be The Underground Garage. There isn’t much of a stage, and our 8-piece band was a very tight squeeze, but the people there were so great! The audience was having so much fun: they danced like crazy and were very sweet after. One of the most fun shows I’ve ever played.
NXNE is all about music discovery – Apart from yourself(ves), who’s the ONE ACT you would most recommend people check out at NXNE?
Shannon and the Clams. And not just because we’re from the same hood (San Francisco). They’ve got a beachy, retro vibe that I love.
Come September, what’s the coolest thing you hope to say you did “on your summer vacation?”
Uhhhh, played NXNE, of course! Other than that…I’m spending the whole month of July in London, England, just writing, recording, and gigging. I am beyond stoked.
We all know there will eventually be a zombie apocalypse – If you only had enough battery life left on your music player to enjoy ONE album in full before your brains get eaten, what would it be?
The Pride & Prejudice (2005) soundtrack by pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. If I’m about to go down like that, I need some serious zen. That record is utterly breathtaking. My heart swells to burst when I listen to it. Does that make it good death-preparation?
If you could play any festival in the world the rest of this year, which would it be and why?
Outside Lands. Gotta rep the Bay! The people who go are serious music fans and always get down at the shows. Also, there’s a Farmer’s Market and tons of delicious food.
Who in music has impressed you the most so far in 2013, and who do you feel still has something up their sleeve?
I saw Elle King at SXSW and thought she was awesome. She’s got this raspy voice and a bluesy vibe. Her EP is too short to be satisfying, but I can’t wait to see what she does on a full-length album. T-Bone Burnett continues to amaze and inspire me. I love the music he’s doing for Nashville. Definitely a far cry from the usual mediocre music we hear on TV (or on the radio these days…) and such a range of styles.
Let’s say you had access to a WABAC machine like Sherman and Mr. Peabody did in the old Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons; who’s the one person, band or event you wish you could go back in time to experience?
If you had an unlimited marketing budget, what would be your ideal “piece of swag?”
Red double-decker bus with my logo and picture on it. Me and the band on top of it, driving down Oxford Street in London, playing a mobile street show.
Please give me at least one pro and con as it relates to music and social media.
Pro—Music fans in Japan, Germany, and so on, can discover your music online and then interact with you through social media. Con—the internet is a vast endless space that is completely oversaturated with bands, so it’s actually not so easy to get your head above water and get noticed.
Finally, let’s end on a positive note by you telling me the BEST thing about being an indie artist, and why fans should be hopeful for the future.
The best thing about being an indie artist is undoubtedly that you call your own artistic shots. Nobody is forcing you into a sound that you don’t click with. The indie world comes up with some really cool, really crazy music. Sometimes it trickles down into mainstream or just “makes it big”, which provides a welcome relief from the ten songs that dominate Top “40” radio. Either way, we get to be tickled and inspired by new sounds, thanks to indie artists.