May 6, 2019
I began writing this little piece to give props to one of the very few but great friends I've made since moving to Canada. But before I knew it I had written a whole novel about how hard it was trying to even get my first booking.
I read through it and felt the weight and frustration of how I felt back then. Not gonna lie, it started to piss me off and I wanted to just keep on ranting. Fortunately I caught a glance of the title I had already written... "Friends".
So instead of complaining, and Lord knows I want to, I'm gonna do my best to tell you in short how making friends has made the difference for my music career on this side of the world.
When I first got to Ottawa I knew that I'd basically be starting from scratch. I knew it would be hard. As a matter of fact I hauled ass as best I could for 6-7 months to book shows in this town, literally to no avail.
Discouraged and disgruntled I took a break. I didn't quit, but I just needed to get away from it for a while to lick my wounds.
One night I decided to try a local Open Mic Night in Downtown Ottawa. The Bar was called Live On Elgin. This is where I met Jessica Pearson. She was working the bar that night, gave me a rundown of the bars history and the local beers on tap. We got on like a house on fire and inevitably got onto the subject of music. I was obviously there to perform at the open mic but had missed sign up. Jess then told me that she was about to take her break and wanted hear a song of mine. I sang a number I had just finished the day before called "Dying to let you go" a song which I wrote about my Father's addiction to alcohol. She loved it so much so that she went and had a word with the open mic host saying that he needed to hear me sing.
So at 12.30 in the morning, the crowd gone, and the only people listening being the bar staff. I sang my heart out to that very same ballad. Little did I know, this would be the start of something really good. I was invited back to perform at the next open mic night as a "Feature Act" to a full room and a couple months later I booked my first show in that venue... completely sold out.
But the best part of all is that Jess has become a dear friend to my family and I and we continue to write great songs and perform together whenever we can. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention she's also a badass singer/songwriter with her own band Jessica Pearson & The East Wind.
Go check her out!
Picture by Mark Robinson, Baristography.
Tales From The Road
April 15, 2019.
It's funny how things work out.
Three years ago, fresh out of Australia, I began the journey to figuring out how to join the music scene here in Ottawa.
I decided to post an ad on Kijiji (It's Canada's version of Craigslist or Gumtree) looking for musicians that would fit with my soul & blues vibe. Next thing I knew, I was filtering through an insane amount of messages from metal bands that "really believed" I'd be a perfect fit for their hardcore band.
Just as I was feeling a little discouraged about the responses, I noticed a different reply. It was from "Joe" who was not a musician but was randomly browsing Kijiji when he came across my ad. He said he loved the songs I posted and proceeded to invite me to his "little" House Concert he runs in his basement.
Now where I'm from, we don't have basements and all we know of basements is what we've seen on episodes of CSI and horror movies.
But I thought "you know this guy on the internet, That I've never met before seems nice enough."
2 weeks later, I found myself in a basement, in the middle of suburban Ottawa, with close to 80 other people listening to another guy called Joe. This time, it was Juno Award winning artist Joey Landreth.
This was my introduction to "The Rainmaker".
Since that fateful Kijiji ad, I have seen some of the best National and International acts perform in that basement and I've learned how important music is to people. Just last week, I played my 3rd sold out show in that venue before dancing the night away with strangers that felt like friends.
Over the last 3 years, I have made friends with Joe, his wonderful Wife Cheryl and the great people that make the Rainmaker what it is. You know my instincts were right. A simple Kijiji ad that started to go south, ended going perfectly right.
(Edited by Elaine St. Louis).
Image by Jordan McNaught.