A Chat With Maddisun

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Cranbrook, British Columbia artist, Maddisun. She is a hard-working independent artist with a future in this business.


Having said that, we began our chat with a question about her beginnings in the musical world. Growing up, she played with her father, and her aunts were country singers. Her parents enrolled her at the Royal Conservatory where she competed grade 7 on piano when she was 18. She also learned to produce music at Mount Baker Secondary in Cranbrook.


Her music is inspired by travel and has also been influenced by those journeys. At one point she was traveling and living in Ireland and Europe and, CoVid willing, she will be doing so again this spring. Upon her return from those travels, she wrote a bunch of songs.


Maddisun describes her music as inspiring feelgood soul style. She considers it to be genre bending, with a mix of soul, pop and folk prevalent in what I’ve listened to. The phrase East Kootenay sound was mentioned, a good description.


Her likes in music are varied, ranging from Blondie to surf rock and folk. While living in Europe she also developed a love for soul and electronic music. These have also been incorporated into her sound.


Besides her musical evolution in Ireland, she has also found the ideal studio. Sincerity Sound Studios is in Winlaw, British Columbia and is off the grid, no internet. Her album, Self Reflections was recorded there, produced by Barry Jones. The location offers minimal distraction and full concentration on the task in progress.


As an independent artist, she has worked hard to market herself, as well as establishing her brand. During the CoVid lockdowns, she has live streamed on a regular basis and taken advantage of every possible live performance she can find.


I asked what she would give out as advice to other artists. The response was, refine your brand. Get involved in your logo, your colors, your message. Apply for funding through whatever programs are available. Market yourself to the locally and beyond. Maddisun is a 1-person dynamo when it comes to this. Her website sticks to her brand. There is an online shop with Maddisun merchandise, links to all her social media and streaming sites, and the website is very professional.

In that vein, she has applied for a grant from the Creative B.C. to cover the recording of a new album. The songs are ready to go but cannot be released until the grant is approved or denied.In the meantime, she is touring the area with her band and/or solo. She is also working on some collaborations. She mentioned another artist, Tenise Marie, with who she has developed a friendship with. Together they released “Something True” in 2021. This tune is “almost” country in it’s vibe but holds true to her genre bending sound. The harmonies are excellent. Matt Kelly from City and Colour played pedal steel on the tune.


I thoroughly enjoyed our chat and look forward to her new album when released. She has given me a different perspective on independent music and the work involved in getting out there to be heard.

Please support your local independent artists. Here is a link to her online shop.
Maddisun Music

A Chat with Sarah Smith

Photo By Cheryl Mazak

Today, we chat with singer, songwriter, player, Sarah Smith. Her online bio speaks to her openness at a very deeply personal level. This comes through in her songs, especially on her latest album, “Unveiling”.


We started talking about her beginnings. Sarah’s parents were involved in their church. Her mother sang solo in the choir and her father was also a country guitarist. In her childhood, she performed in the choir and sang solo. As a teen she received a guitar as a Christmas gift. This was life changing for Sarah as she now had a vessel to pour emotions into. It opened her up to song writing and a wider spectrum of music.


I asked if she had ever mentored or taught music in the past. Sarah has taught in the past, mainly during her mohawk days. She also attends a yearly music camp with kids in Ontario as a vocal coach. She loves this as the kids move from shyness at the beginning of the camp to belting out the songs as they get comfortable with themselves.


Her first band before going solo was The Joys. Originally named Popjoy, they released an EP (as Popjoy) and 4 albums and a single as The Joys. They are all available at the regular sites, I found them on Apple Music. The band itself was around for 10 years and started as a pop punk cover band, including mohawk hair. When the name changed, they started playing rock.


After The Joys, Sarah began her career as a solo artist. To date she has released 5 studio albums and many stand-alone singles and videos. She describes her musical genre as singer-songwriter rock. A very good description. Her influences and favourite bands include Melissa Etheridge, Bryan Adams, The Cars, Weezer, Sheryl Crow, Pink, Michael Jackson, The Killers and Brandi Carlile.


Sarah has also shared the stage with notably, Carole Pope, Sass Jordan, Biff Naked, Emm Gryner, Joel Plaskett and many others. She recently was one of the acts on the Melissa Etheridge Cruise in early September of 2021. She was on board with 20 fans and loved the interaction she had on a personal level with these people. It was quite an opportunity.


I asked if she had any tours planned for the near future. She will be spending the near future practicing her craft, writing, and finding happiness.


We then talked about any collaborations that are on the horizon. She has reached out to Adam Dobres about trying to work together on some songs. Sarah also reached out to Deni Gauthier about writing some music. She also works with fans to convert poems into songs and is currently working on 6 of those.


We then talked about regrets, or anything she would like to do over. Her number 1 is relationships, Sarah does not want to regret not creating or maintaining relationships.We then chatted about what kind of advice she would give to other artists starting out. Sarah was very profound in her response. If you have a block, look into your demons. She did that 5 years ago and the results have been astounding.


She is also working on a song for a friend as a legacy. She recently heard that her friend was passing and decided to write her a song.
Another friend of hers lost her mother. Her father wanted to join her mother and Sarah wrote a song for her friend about how she had dealt with it. Her friend and family were coming to stay with Sarah and listen to the song.


This is the emotional side of Sarah that shows up in every piece of music she creates. Her album “Unveiling” was written during a marriage break up and was recorded off the floor. The songs were written in pain. The result is a great album. The album is available to buy at her site, which I encourage you to do, or available at all the regular places.
Kat Power Hits Radio is featuring this album all week as Sarah Smith is the feature artist of the week.

Mazatlán At Last

Mazatlán Sunset

Hi all.  The blog and magazine will have a temporary address in Mazatlán, Mexico for the next couple of months, or more.  Now that we are here, it is impossible to predict when we will be back in Canada, although it is tentatively February 22.

As incorrigible travelers, Lori and I have been champing at the bit to get back on a plane and go anywhere.  We booked 10 days in November and blasted off here, just prior to finding out that Lori was able to work there without an issue.  We then booked January 4th to February 20th on WestJet, found accommodations, and hunkered down in Calgary for Christmas.  Almost immediately, WestJet scared the crap out of us.  We received an email with a flight change.  We opened it with both eyes squeezed shut.  After squinting with one eye, we saw that it was all good.  Our February 20th flight was cancelled, and we could re-book for February 22nd with no charge etc.  That worked for us, 2 extra days!!!.

Then Omicron!  On our November trip, it was just appearing and when we arrived back in Canada on December 1. I, of course, was randomly chosen for a mandatory PCR test.  The first few days were in isolation as I awaited the results of my second test in 3 days.  Predictably, they came back negative.  Now we waited in total suspense as our leaders tested the political waters on yet another lock-down.  Sensing impending travel issues, we re-booked our flight from January 4 to January 1, then watched the various apps for flight cancellations. 

Once again, we received an email, this time as we were at an airport hotel on New Year’s Eve.  Again, squinting paid off as it was only a notification that our flight was delayed by 2 hours.  Another sigh of relief. 

The next morning, we arrived at the airport, only to be confronted by check-in lineups about a mile long.  Puzzled, we asked an agent what was going on and let him know we had checked in online.   He said we did not need to line up with the rest and to get our baggage tags from any open kiosk, then proceed to the self baggage check in.  It turns out that there were issues with vaccination records being uploaded in the online check-in process.  We had noticed that when we were doing it the previous day but played with it until it worked.   Breezed through this as the machines were basically empty, the baggage lineup was also empty and there was no one in the security line.  Basically, we were now getting a 2 hour breakfast window. 

Next hurdle was getting on a plane.  We got to our gate just in time for a flight notice on the PA system.  After gulping, all they did was repeat what we already knew, our 9:45 departure was delayed until 11:45.  Considering it was 10:25, the notice seemed unnecessary.

The flight started boarding on time, then went for de-icing prior to take off and then we were in the air.  Loads of weight off our shoulders.

On landing, we had the most successful entry into Mazatlán that we have ever had.  Off the plane in 5 minutes, entry document completed and submitted to passport control in another 5, a luggage wait of less than 5 minutes, no line up at the taxi counter and a taxi right there with it’s trunk open.  We cleared the airport in record time for Mazatlán.  A good sign for the next couple of months.

As for our first few days, it is a pleasure to be here.  The weather is obviously fine.  The true upside is the vibe.  Restaurants and bars are open, people wear their masks as in Canada, temperatures are taken at most venues, but people are upbeat and having no issues with the protocols. 

We have settled into our routines, and will function as we did in Canada, just warmer.  I will be posting as much as possible, including multiple reviews on what to do, see and listen to in Mazatlán.