"Music was always a really big part of my upbringing, it was a part of my life and I was very fortunate. I grew up in a household where I was really afforded the opportunities to find out what I liked and what my strengths were. My parents really encouraged me. They cultivated my interests in the arts, in sports, and they made sure I had every chance to find out what it was that I was good at, what I liked... Music was always the thing that I came back to."
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"One of my earliest memories is being recorded by my parents when I was two or three. I'm sure the tapes are still around somewhere. They used to do that a lot, 'cause I used to sing in the bath a lot, I�d sing myself to sleep� They really made a point of letting me hear myself on tape when I was a kid. I remember that being a really big deal. I think my first memory of being on stage was when I was five or six and in a school production kind of thing, but it was always a very positive aspect of my life as a kid. I always got a lot of positive reinforcement. I think when you're a kid, you do things to merit the approval of the adults around you... When you get a lot of really positive reinforcement from the adults around you that makes you want to keep doing whatever it is that you are doing. Singing for me was always like that, I always got a lot of really positive feedback from the grownups around me and that made me want to do whatever I could to get back up on stage."
"Singing for me was always going to be a part of my life. Nobody can chart the future and you never really know exactly what you're life's going to be and how it's going to turn out. You can make plans, but even the best laid plans tend to fall apart. For me, I never knew what the path was going to be for me, but I always knew that music would be a big part of it. And I always knew that it was something that I really, really wanted. It was something I wanted to be a part of. I loved being around it and I loved being on stage. It was very natural for me and I would do everything in my power to seek it out... I made myself as available as possible to any production that was coming through my high school... I was always a part of extra-curricular activities at school, part of the school choir that kind of stuff... I think it's very important when you're a kid because it kind of gives you your bearings... it gives you a solid foundation. I was lucky because I was able to take a certain amount of formal training when I was a kid. I had a pretty extensive background as a classical sort of musician, and got to learn how to read music and how to write music. That's not necessarily the most important aspect of what I do know, but it was definitely part of building a solid foundation. Music is a language like any other language and the earlier you learn to speak it, the more fluent you are going to be as you grow up."
"When I was 17, I was just on the verge of graduating from high school and Jeff Healey, (a talented young Canadian guitar player), his album had just come out and was sort of breaking internationally... He was becoming very successful and I was a big fan of his. I went with a girlfriend to see one of his shows. I�d never seen him perform live before and I was just really swept away by the whole evening. I had a wonderful time and I wanted to meet him, so we went backstage.
We were chatting with him and I said, �You know I really want to do what you do. I want to be on stage. This is what I think I want to do with my life, and I don't really know anything about the music business, and I'm not in a band... I don't have my own band, I'm in high school, but I think this is what I want to do.' He very graciously invited me to this jam at a club in downtown Toronto. He said, 'Tomorrow night there is sort of an acoustic open mike night and if you want, get your dad to bring you down... ('cause I wasn't old enough) I'm going to be there, it's my birthday. If you want to come down, I�ll get up and I�ll play guitar for you, and that way you can see if this is what you really want to do.' I said OK and got my dad to take me down the next night.
I got up on stage and I did a song. Jeff played guitar, and we did a couple more songs... At the end of the set, he approached me and said, 'You know you're really very good. If you're serious, and if this is really what you want to do... Here's what you should do: There is a vast collection of musicians who live in Toronto. (It's a small community, but there is a large number of people at the same time) You should start pulling from that community, a group of musicians that you want to play with. Pick 15 of your favorite songs, put together a little repertoire, and start playing. There's a whole big collection of clubs in Toronto and just start playing those small clubs and that will help you get your bearings.'
And I did. I put together a band, and I was very fortunate, I met another guitar player who was a club musician. He really helped me get my bearings. He helped me put together a show, and showed me the ropes, and that was how I got started... I started playing in these clubs... About three months later, after having played locally, I started to gather sort of a following (I was quite young and people were sort of interested in me because I was so young...) Jeff offered me an opening slot on his national tour that was going across Canada and down into the United States. I went out with him and the next thing I knew with no record or record deal, I was singing in front of thousands of people every night, and it was huge deal. Fortunately for me at that point, I didn't really realize what a big deal it was, so I wasn't intimidated. It was still fun for me. That's how I got started. About six months later I got a record deal and I started making a record."
"This record was really a pleasure in many different senses. It's not a huge musical left turn from the first record, it's sort of a logical extension of where we started. I was very happy with the direction we were going in. I think it's a slightly less anonymous record than the first record. I made the contribution that I felt was appropriate on the first record but I didn't really think of myself particularly as a songwriter. I was more an interpreter. I chose songs that were reflective of me but I have fairly decent taste and I chose a good collection of songs. This record, I had just come off the road after two years of touring the first record, so I was really on my game as an entertainer and as a vocalist. You can only get better the more you do it, so for me, this record was really precipitated by a huge explosion of creativity. The record itself took about three to four months to write the bulk of it, by then I had a vast array of different experiences to choose from and talk about. Bits of myself that I could inject into the record. I had a much better sense of what I wanted it to sound like. I was a lot more involved in the production of the album than I anticipated. In the writing and the playing of the record, and the shaping of the album than I expected to be. It was something that came very naturally, it was something that I fell backwards into and I was so happy to really get a chance to record in a relaxed creative atmosphere."
"The first single, Love Lift Me, I wrote with my main collaborator on the record, an American out of Philadelphia, named Eric Bazilian. (Who you might know from his work with the Hooters in the 80s, and most recently, Joan Osborne.) I was introduced to Eric through a mutual friend of ours who worked at another record company. Eric sort of fell at the top of a long list of people that I wanted to work with. It was suggested to me that I go to Philadelphia and meet him, if only just to meet him. This friend of ours said, 'I've known Eric a long time, I think you guys would really hit it off, why don't you head down to Philly and just check it out?' So I did. He and I connected pretty much right away. There was a synergy between us. It took about a day of us sitting in a room getting to know one another and talking... I wrote the bulk of the record with Eric. And Eric and I have really developed a kind of partnership where it's almost impossible for us to sit in a room and not write songs together
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