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The Sony Centre For The Performing Arts Opens Its Doors

Cover Oct 8, 2010

You’re In For A Big Night Out!
The Sony Centre For The Performing Arts Opens Its Doors

Story and Photographs: Natasha Slinko

Just when you thought something couldn’t get any better, it does. The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts unveiled its swank all new look in celebration of the 50th Anniversary Season on Friday, October 1st, 2010. The press was invited for a sneak peep earlier in the week.

The Centre has gone through many shows and many changes. Torontonians first fell in love with it as The O’Keefe Centre and brought their families to experience the arts from its opening on October 1st 1960. At one point it was briefly re-branded as The Hummingbird Centre, but in truth most Torontonians still called it the “O’Keefe”.

Dan Brambilla, CEO of The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, says that it has been “an incredible undertaking” but that they are “eager to welcome Torontonians into the venue to see the exciting new technologies integrated with the magnificent architectural beauty of this historic building”.

The Surround Sound WallThe Surround Sound WallA huge undertaking of renovations, design, new technologies and innovations, this wonderful theatre is now being re-launched in its 50th season of celebrating the Arts as The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.

Are You Ready For The Band?

KBP

When a band asks you to come up and sing a song with them, please know what key you sing the song in. Recently a young lady sat in with us and wanted to sing “ROCKY TOP.” I asked what key she wanted to do it in. She said I don’t know just pick one. I said how about A? Her reply was oh no that’s too slow.

Song writers please don’t say here is one I wrote the other night that I hope you like, kick it off boys. They have never even heard it before let alone know how to play the intro.

Never try to sing a song the band doesn’t know. You are headed for a big embarrassment and the band isn’t going to be placed in a pleasant experience either.

The Music Business, YA GOTTA LUV IT

ERIC SOLOMON: The Man Who Would Be Prince

Cover Oct 1, 2010

Story: Lenny Stoute

Vancouver-Except for the one genre, Canadian music of all stripes, from Celine Dion to Alexisonfire has proved successful on the world stage. Homegrown soul is the one style that’s yet to cough up a genuine international star.

Montreal-born, globally raised Eric Solomon wants to change all that and he’s not kidding. He’s just dropped his calling card, an EP Antarctica, made his acting debut for MTV and is putting the finishing touches on a full-length album. It’s Eric Solomon all the time, on all fronts and on the line from his Vancouver home, he sounds like the right man for the gig.

The first single from the album, ‘ALL.’ hit radio like a hurricane, with and adding it immediately on serious rotation. So how does hearing his tune on the radio make the twentysomething Solomon feel?

“It was like walking on a cloud, I wanted to walk in the streets blessing people. Yeah”.

Sounds like something the artist frequently known as Prince would say and Solomon’s not shy about naming the Minneapolis mojo man as his primary source of inspiration.

Faith Comes Through for Diane Wirtz

Diane Wirtz

Story: Bill Delingat

Diane Wirtz started singing at the age of 5 on week-ends when her father’s band would let her join in on their practices. At the age of 8 years her father was transferred to West Germany with the Air Force, where they would live for the next 4 years.

At the age of 12 the family moved back to New Brunswick but the Air Force transferred them again to Cold-Lake, Alberta. There was a group from the television show ” the Funny Farm Show ” who were singing on the base there.

Wirtz said. I had an opportunity to sing with their band called” Prairie Fire “. They invited her to go to Edmonton, Alberta where they were going to do a television program for the Variety Club Telethon. It was her first experience on television at the age of 17. She met Jamie Farr from the television show MASH, and Shari Lewis and Lamp Chop, the Alan Sisters from the Tommy Hunter show and Skyles and Henderson.

Wirtz said,”It was a fabulous experience for me and it gave me a chance to go in the recording studio with Prairie Fire and see what it was all about. I had gotten married and after a few months of marriage we were expecting a baby.

“ When I was in my eighth month of pregnancy the baby died. My brother who was 18 died in a motorcycle accident, then my Mother died and then my Grand-Mother died. She was the first person in my life to introduce me to our wonderful Savior.

Johnny Reid-The Return of Wheatfield Soul

Cover Sept 24, 2010

Story: Lenny Stoute

There’s nobody quite like Johnny Reid on the Canadian music scene right now. Ain’t no one else rocking the nation with a soulful country groove, equal parts Jim Reeves and Otis Redding, and driving all manner of country fans wild. For Reid, this volatile, some would say, unlikely mix has been a passport to the top, In a landscape where established artists are struggling with album sales, this country gent moves units like bullets in Baghdad.

His breakout album went gold, the two albums that followed went double platinum and his current collection, A Place Called Love is just about to turn the double platinum trick. At the recent CCMA show in Edmonton, he added to the weight of his award-burdened mantelpiece with wins for both the Fans’ Choice Award and Single of the Year.

Not too shabby for a guy who up until 2005, was toiling away as one of the song writing elves at DreamWorks. Reid, who emigrated to Canada in 1988 as a 15 year old from Lanark, Scotland, decided upon graduation to give the singer/songwriter thing a full shot, dropped down to Nashville and hooked up with DreamWorks, a perfect place to hone his song writing skills. When the chance came to cut an album for Open Road in ’05, Reid was primed to make the most of his opportunity, and promptly parked his ball, Born To Roll, outside the park and into gold status.

Kellylee Evans does Nina Simone On New Album Nina.

Kellylee Evans in performance

By Lenny Stoute

Photo at right:Kellylee in performance

Ottawa neojazz singer Kellylee Evans is still on cloud nine after her involvement in a dream project. The dream started last summer at a time when she was fantasizing about something different happening in her career. Having put out two albums independently, Evans was looking for a break from the DIY of it all. Top of her wish list, to work with a label so that in essence, all she would have to do is focus on singing satisfying material.

From her mouth to God’s ears it seems, as a week or so later, French boutique label Plus Loin contacted her with a proposition. Evans was on the label's radar thanks to her Monk competition success. That would be a second-place finish at the 2004 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition, a major springboard for her career. Which immediately took a turn away from the traditional stuff to material that was closer to pop and even smooth jazz, areas Evans was most interested in exploring. Since the Monk competition, Evans has had high-profile gigs opening for Tony Bennett, George Benson and Chris Botti at various Canadian jazz festivals, where her big, expressive voice and magnetic presence have garnered new fans.

STICK TO SONGS THAT FIT YOU

KBP

Some people think that singing a very wide variety of songs helps to show off their vocal ability and talent. I have heard once too often a singer try to sing a song that was absolutely out of character for that artist and totally past their capabilities.

I say stick to songs that fit your voice and style. Don’t try to sing songs that are too high for your vocal range. If you are a ballad singer and have difficulty pulling off a fast song you will have to work on that but don’t compromise your show by singing a fast song that you are not capable of performing. By the same token if you do very well on the fast stuff and fall down on the slow ones don’t attempt a ballad that could possibly ruin your show because of a bad performance.

The Music Business YA GOTTA LUV IT

A Short History of Recording Studios in Toronto

Cherry Beach

By Bill Delingat

The modern recording studio owes a great deal to that phonograph invented by Thomas Edison in 1877 and its early recordings, made outside of a studio environment. Early recording studios often lacked isolation booths, baffles, and sometimes even speakers. Designed for live recording of an entire band or performance, they attempted to record a group of musicians and singers, rather than to record them separately.

With the introduction of multi-track recording, it became possible to record instruments and singers separately and at different times on different tracks on tape. From then on, the recording process shifted to isolation and soundproofing. In the 1960s, recordings were analog, made using ¼-inch or ½-inch eight-track magnetic tape. By the early 1970s, recordings progressed to using 1-inch or 2-inch 16- or 32-track equipment. Most contemporary recording studios now use digital recording equipment and the number of tracks is limited only by the capacity of the mixing console or computer.

Toronto, the heart beat of the Canadian banking and economy was a natural place for attracting international and national artists to record and relax in a metropolitan atmosphere using state of the art equipment without the street hassles and urban pressures of New York or L.A. Billboard reported glowingly in a 1972 story on Toronto’s emergence as Canada’s recording capital.

TERRY SUMSION: Surviving For Another Encore – “You Gotta Believe”

Cover Sept 17, 2010

BY RB RENEGADE

(Editor’s Note- Every so often Cashbox Canada takes the time and space to salute an individual whose accomplishments in the music industry stand the test of time. One such is Terry Sumsion, a pioneering Canadian music figure. On this occasion Nashville radio personality and DJ RB Renegade salutes Terry Sumsion. Sandy Graham)

Terry Sumsion is a true Canadian music legend. Period. His music has stood the test of time as the size and response of his audiences proves time and again.

Terry Sumsion is also a survivor and an inspiration. He has faced and continues to win a battle with esophageal cancer, his music being his own inspiration – his desire to continue to connect with his fan base the foundation of his strength.

I have been a Terry Sumsion fan for many years. As a Canadian and a musician I followed Terry’s music and performed his songs on a regular basis. It was only in the past couple of years however that I had the privilege of connecting with Terry as he agreed to be a guest on my Internet radio show. Through that connection a friendship was born. It is a relationship that I cherish and it is with pride and humility that I am privileged to attempt to do justice to the life of Terry Sumsion in this article.

Paris Black Promises Rockier Days Ahead

Cover September 10, 2010

By Bill Delingat

Paris Black was well known in the 80’s as a teen heartthrob and poster boy. Black had instant success with his debut pop dance LP “Secret Seduction”, that went gold with singles like “Better get Ready”, “Lover” and “Buried Alive’. In 1989 Black released his self titled LP “Paris Black” on I.S.B.A. records and started national tours and graced the pages of teen mags across the country.

Along the way the affable Black met many friends on the road including the late Kenny MacLean who not only became a great friend but would also be influential in Black’s musical direction later in his career.

With stardom in sight and a blossoming modeling career, Black abruptly dropped out of the limelight and out of sight. Most fans felt he’d gone to the US for better things and so did we. Years later we find him still rocking the stages but as one of the world’s best tribute artists doing “Billy Idol” and in a more interesting profession of “Live Art Modeling” which is utilized in his live stage show.

Similar to Canadian rocker “Alanis Morissette” who metamorphosed from her debut Dance LP of 1991 simply called “Alanis” to a new alter ego of punk grunge Diva with the 1995 multi platinum release of “Jagged Little Pill”, Black is now on the hard rock edge, breaking out with his latest release, the single “Breathe “from new CD “I’m Not Jesus”. The album boasts an array of killer tunes sure to put Black back on the right track.

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