Tag Archives: Canadian Music

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.

The Maple List – Number 164 – Sylvia Tyson

Born in 1940, Sylvia Tyson (Fricker) is an important part of Canadian music history. Best known as part of the folk due Ian and Sylvia, she continues to perform with the folk group Quartette and has since 1993.

During the Canadian Content days of radio, she and her ex-husband Ian Tyson, were staples on Canadian radio. They likely would have been even without the content rules. The were a very good folk duo from 1959 to 1974, when they split up.

In addition to the duo, they also fronted another Canadian institution, the band Great Speckled Bird. Sylvia is a true Canadian icon. She was inducted into the Order Of Canada in 1994, has 7 Juno nominations (Canada’s Grammys) as a solo artist and was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2003. Additionally, she was included in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame as part of the Ian and Sylvia duo in 1992.

I have included 2 videos, Four Strong Winds, (you may think of this as a Neil Young song, it’s not) recorded during a reunion concert in 1986. This has been noted as one of the most influential Canadian songs of all time. The second is a solo by Sylvia, “You Were On My Mind”.

A Chat With Betty Moon

Betty Moon

Today I chat with Betty Moon.  She is an accomplished artist, originally from Toronto, now living in Los Angeles, who has been recording since the 1980’s.  The interview celebrates the arrive of her 11th studio album, “Cosmicoma”.  Her first recording, in 1986, was while with her band Bambi.  This led to a recording contract with A&M Records, where she released a debut, self titled album in 1991.

We were unable to link up via phone, so I forwarded some questions via email.  Without further adieu, here are the questions and the responses.

What brought you into a music career.  

I was raised in a family that had music in their blood, and we happened to have a recording studio on the property so the odds were definitely in my favor. I say kids either go one way or another when following what their parents were involved with, and the music bug bit me pretty early. As a teen I had a pretty successful band in Toronto and that led to a solo career with major and independent labels. Over recent years I have been releasing music on my own label, Evolver Music Inc.

Where was your first live performance?  How did it go?

My first show was in a photo/film studio on Valentines Day  in Toronto called United Studios  that is no longer around. As anyone would expect, it was terrifying yet exciting, full of glitches, good times and it set my world ablaze with passion for live music. Once you are holding the mic and you get that feedback from a crowd, you never look back.

You’ve had a very productive career, is there anything you would change?

Well, hindsight is always 20/20 but I would have got further on the streaming and vinyl trains earlier on if I knew it was going to be the driving force of today’s era. I don’t really have any regrets though, I’ve done some amazing things throughout my career and have much on the schedule for 2022. 

You have had several songs on TV and movie soundtracks.  How does that feel?

It’s a bit surreal to hear your music in a TV show or on a feature film for sure. I think just having it blended within a movie gives you an appreciation for how important music is to film, and having the marketing opportunity to have my music in these spots is amazing. Plus, sometimes these placements pay pretty well and it’s nice to make a return in different ways for the music you create. 

How would you describe your music?

I would say it’s my own unique twist on rock n’ roll. At the root of it, I am a rock artist and inject different genres and inspiration into an album and that can vary year to year. I’m not following trends, and if anything I like to carve my own path and make sure I do things my way. A lot of my music can have touches of soul, funk, electronic and even pop.

Inspirations?

Other types of music and artists are only part of my inspiration musically. It’s really about my environment, stories, nights on the town and thinking inward that gets the creative juices flowing. Sure, I have favorite artists from my youth that drive ideas indirectly, but I think it’s more about my surroundings and happenings in life that inspire each song I create.

Have you ever taught music or mentored up and coming acts?

Over the years I have worked with different emerging artists in the industry. I’ve done panels at industry events, worked in the studio with other artists, co-wrote with younger and older musicians and more. It would be fun to teach a class online or do a sort of masterclass at some point, as I have a lot of experience and insight that others may appreciate.

What’s next for Betty Moon?  Tours, collaborations?

I’m currently in the studio working on my next album, and you never know who may appear on the record. These new songs are sounding killer, and I think it’ll be my best work to date.

We at Kat Power Hit Radio strive to promote independent labels and artists, and I strongly promote the same.  Tell us about Evolver Music, it’s goals and some of the artists signed with the label?  

I started Evolver Music originally as a company to fully release and publish my own content and albums. From music videos to artwork, 99% of the magic happens in-house and it’s nice to take back the power when so many artists think of getting a ‘record deal’ as the magic bullet.

To stream her latest album, please click below.

If you would like to see more about Betty Moon, please click on the links below:

http://bettymoon.com/

Instagram

Facebook

A Chat With Tim Steinruck

This week I had the pleasure of sitting down for a chat with The Mighty One’s front man, Tim Steinruck, and a great chat it was.

We started our conversation with a reference to a recent live interview on Kat Power Hits Radio, available at www.thedonpearsestudios.com . In that interview, I noted that I had been intrigued with his musical beginnings in Northern British Columbia. In adding to that I asked whether he had been self taught or did he have a music teacher.

He mentioned that he was totally self taught, except for some piano lessons. He elaborated, saying he basically cheated through his lessons as he was more comfortable learning by ear without wanting to learn the technical side of music. He’d bring his assignments home and have his father play it on the piano. He said he’d watch the keys he played and learned it that way. He always failed the technical exams but passed the performance side of the courses with flying colours.

Moving on, we started talking about how he moved into the world of music. His first band was formed in Fort St. John, B.C.. The band’s name was Black Gold, named after the oil & gas industry that is a major industry in the area. This happened when he was in grade 8. They played songs like The Cars tune “Just What I Needed”. The first song he learned to play on guitar was by Prism, “Take Me To The Captain”.

I then asked a question about something I’d noticed about the band’s name, TheMightyOne. Why no spaces? After a bit of a laugh, he answered with, the name was recently changed to The Mighty One because it was basically unsearchable on Google without the spaces. Good point Tim.

My next question is one I always ask. Who is your favourite musician? This is one I ask for myself (and the reader) as who better to ask that question of than another musician. It can lead you into something you’ve never been into before. He answered with his most influential being Van Halen, citing that he first heard them in school, in his classroom on one of those multiple headphone thingies that were in schools in the past. Eddie blew him away. His favourite musician, Dave Grohl, no argument there. He also mentioned Mammoth WVH, a band formed by Eddie Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang. I’ll be checking them out shortly. One thing I did not know was that it was named after his father’s first band.

We carried on and I found out that the best thing about what he does is that he is living a life of purpose. He went on to emphasize the importance of creating a legacy. Everybody has a skill and asked what the legacy is I wanted to leave behind. Very profound, I stopped for a minute as my brain digested what he was saying. I tried relating what he was saying to what we have accomplished, and it left me with some things to think on. I’m sure we need a follow-up just on this point alone.

We then got into what’s coming up for him and the band. It looks like he will be quite busy over the next while. He is participating in the Rise Up tour on Vancouver Island later this month. There will also be a spring tour in the USA and Mexico.

He is touring Norway with Viking Queen.This will be filmed by Norwegian TV and will become a documentary.Interesting story, he hooked up with them through a radio station in New Zealand. The power of the digital world and the opportunities for collaboration it presents are incredible. The Mighty One has also recorded a Christmas song in partnership with Viking Queen. The video of “Christmas In The North” is available to view below.

And to finish up, we talked about The Mighty One’s latest release, “Torch Of Rock And Roll”. A great album, one that has become an earbud mainstay for me. The title track is great and is an autobiographical tune of Tim’s life in music. The video for this is also available below.

The Charts This Week – October 9, 2021

Number 1 on the CKUA album chart is Andy Shauf and the album is “Wilds”. This is his latest release and is a follow up to his successful record of 2020, “The Neon Skyline”.

The song I have chosen is titled “Jaywalker” and is available at all the regular streaming sites.

An interesting song, pay attention to the lyrics, no animals were injured. Andy is from Saskatchewan, which makes me happy as an ex-Saskatchewanian, also because he is Canadian and at number 1.

Please support community radio, CKUA is donation driven and is one of the best radio stations on the planet. They are well known for their support of Canadian music and trend towards the independent artists. Their fall fundraiser is on now until November 7. If you are so inclined, pledge some support their way. Their website is below.

http://ckua.com/

Canadian Artists Online – Lisette Xavier

Lisette Xavier is an artist I have written of in the past. She has been a fixture on the Calgary music scene for many years now, and I figured it was time to catch up. My last article was in 2014 and is available here, if you are interested.

Her latest work is the featured tune “Rise Up”, with was released in February 2021. Catchy tune, well written and a pretty cool video. I’ve always been impressed with her vocals and she keeps one interested throughout. Nice job!

If you choose to do so, the song, and her past catalogue are available at all the usual places, Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp, Tidal and Google Play.

You can go directly to her sites on her webpage.

Lisettexavier.com

Canadian Artists Online – Amy Allred

A new feature as I will be showcasing Canadian artists that I run across on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter etc. My first article is focused on Lethbridge, Alberta country artist Amy Allred.

Amy was a vocal major at Hillsong College in Sydney, Australia. Upon returning to Canada, she continued her quest in music, but appears to have hit a roadblock with Covid. She writes and performs her own music and is a fixture on the Southern Alberta music scene.

I found the song below on YouTube, where she has her own channel. She has a clear concise vocal and wrote the song, “You Had To Go”.

Please visit the links below and check out her music

YouTube

Website

Instagram

Canada’s All Time Top Songs – #97

We have now got to 97 on the list, “Crying Over You” by Platinum Blonde. The band formed in the early 80’s and had a string of hits on Canadian airwaves. They had minimal success in the USA, so my readers from anywhere but Canada will find them to be a new band. The song featured here was their one and only number 1 in Canada. It was taken from their 1985 album “Alien Shores”. The album spawned (see what I did there) 4 singles and is likely the pinnacle of their success. It included their only charted single in the USA, “Somebody, Somewhere” which reached 82 on the Billboard Top 100 and 23 in Canada.

The band is still touring and had released an album of new material in 2012.

Without further adieu, the number 97 Canadian hit of all time, “Crying Over You”.

Canada’s All Time Top Songs – #98

At 98 is a signature song from former Sweeney Todd singer, Nick Gilder. The track is Hot Child In The City.

Sweeney Todd had a big hit in 1976 with Roxy Roller. After that success, Nick left the band, going solo and signing a record deal in the USA. That deal spawned the featured song which hit number 1 in both Canada and the USA. Unfortunately, he never realized much further success, never again hitting the top 40. He did have success as a songwriter as well, penning hits for diverse artist as Pat Benatar and Bette Midler.