How do you usually write the lyrics of your songs?
My creative process varies quite significantly. Most of my inspiration is groove-based, which comes from being on stage when I’m performing live with my band. However, sometimes a phrase or lyric or “hook” pops into my mind, and I will start searching for context through a melody or chord progression on guitar or piano. I’ll play and repeat the first couple of chords and cycle through the sketched out lyrics for a few minutes. Within that short amount of time, I get a pretty good idea of whether or not the idea feels natural and worth pursuing or putting aside for another day.
In your opinion, what is the most important thing in songwriting?
I am always mindful that creative ideas must come naturally in order to be able to successfully translate them to the public. Music listeners are very perceptive and can tell when an idea (no matter how thoughtful or personal) does not connect to the artist in a genuine and effortless manner.
Are you ever scared of revealing aspects of your personal life/experience to strangers through your music?
Of course not! I would never divulge or reveal any personal aspects of my life if I weren’t confident enough to share it with the public. As artists, we learn to comfortably maintain a certain level of fearlessness. Whether or not the songs I write are from personal experience or simply playful insinuations based on a moment in time, I always aim to offer a dignified and personal viewpoint.
What is the best lyric that you ever wrote (the most meaningful for you)?
I’m still working on it! 🙂
What inspired “Lovin’ U More,” part of your latest album “Funk Parade”?
“Lovin’ U More” is actually a song written by U.K. soul sensation, Lewis Taylor – one of my biggest musical influences! He played a pivotal role in the Neo Soul movement of the ’90’s and has earned the highest respect and praise of some of the most influential musicians of the industry! I always wanted to interpret one of his songs and “Lovin’ U More” really spoke to me when coming up with the material for the ‘Funk Parade’ LP.
And “Coconut Bridge”?
“Coconut Bridge” was inspired by the killer funk medley’s my band would perform live to packed night clubs in Toronto. The vibe was always high intensity! We’d get the crowd revved up and singing along to all kinds of ideas, call ’n response and lyrics to (what would eventually) become ‘Coconut Bridge’.
Do you remember the day you wrote “Make Way for the Funk Parade”?
Absolutely! I was reflecting late one night just after we finished a very inspiring concert. We had the large crowd in front of us dancing, jumping and (from my vantage point on stage) it looked as though the crowd was “marching” to the groove. The imagery conjured up the words, “Make Way for the Funk Parade.” I wrote the tune that night and at our next show, we tried it out. It instantly caught on. The whole crowd was singing along in unison and it felt great! Certainly a very inspiring moment.
Is there a link/a common theme among the songs of the new album?
The idea of the ‘Funk Parade’ LP was to create a fun, community vibe consisting of soul, classic R&B and funk music. An experience for music lovers who love to dance, sing and enjoy the unparalleled experience of being immersed in groove based music.
What is the best suggestion your producer gave you?
I’ve been very fortunate to have received encouragement and helpful advice from esteemed producers ranging from David Foster, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Bob Ezrin, Steve Jordan (to name a few). It was through those direct conversations that I learned so much about their journey, history and expertise. Those talks enabled me to contextualize their analysis towards my own creative endeavours. All of which served me well and provided me the very helpful tools of understanding the process when I produced both of my albums (‘My Heart’ EP & ‘Funk Parade’ LP).
What are your plans for 2019?
2019 has already been jammed packed. A full calendar of shows all over North America, music video releases in Japan, North America, U.K., my summer LP release, ’Funk Parade’, a busy summer touring schedule in Canada and more plans to release my music in France, Korea and South America in the fall and winter!
To conclude the interview a short Q/A session, please answer the first thing that comes to your mind:
- Define in one word your album “Funk Parade”: Throwback.
- The best show you ever played: Opening for the Queen of Soul – Aretha Franklin at the 2011 Toronto Jazz Festival.
- The one thing that you must have in your backstage: A dressing room, haha.
- The soundtrack of your childhood: Any Motown, Stax or Aretha Franklin album.
- Your favourite song lyrically speaking, but not written by you: “A Case Of You” – Joni Mitchell.
- Last question is “unusual,” we want to know your best relationship advice: Stay humble! Always be grateful for your partner who understands your faults/flaws and still loves you unconditionally for who you are.