Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Be A Part of EMBER SWIFT'S New Project

If you're not familiar with Ember Swift, don't worry. Just run her name through Google and you'll be occupied for days, weeks or even months sifting through the pages upon pages of her digital footprint. I have a tremendous amount of respect for her, certainly because of what she's accomplished, but more so because of the person that she is, and has to be, in order to achieve the tremendous results that she's achieved.


I've had the privilege of working with her on several occasions throughout her career and I've watched in awe as she's grown from being an unknown playing in front of 20 people at Holy Joe's in Toronto to touring all over the globe performing in front of audiences of thousands, and selling more than 50,000 CDs over the course of her career.

Ember Swift has ten CD releases to date and is currently working on her eleventh, once again with producer Tim Rideout of FibiiSonic Studio in Montreal. She has done all of this as an independent artist and is an absolute inspiration to all indie artists out there who are trying to achieve similar results. Ember is living proof that it can be done if you want it badly enough.

Ember's New Album Campaign

On December 17, 2010 I posted a blog (Where Are Things Going For Music Sales And Musicians? where I presented a few examples of how artists are embracing the new technologies that are responsible for dramatically changing the music industry's business models and capitalizing on them rather than just hoping it will all go away. For her newest project, Ember has put together a fantastic campaign to get people involved in helping her make it all come to fruition.

There are eight packages to choose from and in return for your contribution to the project (depending on which package you choose), she's offering you the ability to have your say with regard to which songs make the final cut, the running order of the songs and wait for it... she's offering to perform a solo concert in your home or via Skype depending on the logistics of where you are and where in the world she is at that time.

This is the kind of creativity that's necessary in the new music business and it's campaigns like this that continue to strengthen the trust economy. Ember Swift is the real deal and I am thrilled to be a part of this project. Here is the link to all the details for those who want to learn more about it and participate in making it all happen.

Monday, January 10, 2011


I'm guessing that there's a lot of artists out there who are full of ambition and enthusiasm around this time of year, ready to take over the world in 2011. With the promise of a new year stretched out before us, we have a renewed sense of energy and we're excited about surpassing last year's accomplishments.

I'd like to offer up a few tips to help you get the most out of your efforts and keep you on track, so you don't get so caught up in the day-to-day grind that you forget about the small, but extremely important details. All musicians know that they have to write and record their music, perform live, create and utilize promotion and marketing materials, network, etc., but all of this can be meaningless if you haven't built a solid foundation from which to grow.

First Things First

Before you begin doing anything, I would strongly urge you to do a little soul searching, so that when you do begin to act, you'll know that you're moving in a direction that is properly aligned with your core beliefs and values. If you're a band/artist who's been around for years, don't ignore this point. You may find after answering some key questions that you've been wasting time traveling down a road that will lead you to an unfulfilling destination.

The very first thing you must do is determine exactly what motivates you to make music in the first place. Do you want to make music just for yourself or do you want to share it with other people and build a fan base? Do you want to be wildly rich and famous or would you rather make a modest living and still be able to walk to the corner store for milk without getting mobbed by the paparazzi? Do you only want to play local venues, or are you willing to jump in a van with your band mates and hit the road for weeks or months at a time touring?

The answers to these questions will make a huge difference in how you approach everything and what your next steps will be. Take some time to write down your career goals, so you're clear about what's important to you. What will it take for you to be successful by your definition?


Once you know what you want, educate yourself so you can make informed decisions. If you let yourself get caught up in the media hype of what the music business appears to be, you're only setting yourself up for disappointment and failure. If, through your soul searching, you've found that you want music to be your career and not just a hobby, don't fall into the trap of assuming that you're going to be discovered and carried to super stardom by the 'magic man' of the music industry. Strive to really understand the economic realities of the biz and then put together a plan of action that makes sense.

What Category Are You In?

Define which musical category you fit into. Don't be the band that says, "Our music is so diverse that we can't pin it down to just one category." If this sounds like you, you need to take the time to choose a definite musical direction. If industry pros can't put a label on you, they simply won't work with you. You need to know this in order to understand who your fans are and then to determine where and how to market your music to them effectively.

I understand that it can be difficult to categorize a band like U2 if you look at how diverse their music has been over the decades of their existence, but remember that comparing yourself to a band like U2 is a moot point because they're not playing by the same rules as an up-and-coming band. When a fan walks into the local HMV to purchase U2's latest album, they're not buying a pop/rock CD, they're buying a U2 CD. Big difference.

Walk The Talk

Whatever it is that you decide for yourself, make a strong commitment to get things done and follow through with ACTION toward your goals. Keep the promises you make to yourself as there is a direct correlation between this and your self esteem. The more times you fail to keep your commitments to yourself and to others, it further erodes your self worth.

I hope this helps to get you thinking about some steps you may have missed along the way. Believe me, I missed a lot of this stuff when I was doing my thing back in the 80s. We just wanted to play and we didn't really have anyone to steer us in the right direction and we didn't have a great tool like the internet where we could google a topic and get access to millions of pages of content in 1.37 seconds. Ah, what an age we live in now. Enjoy!

Monday, January 3, 2011


I was hoping to get this blog done before the new year, but it wasn't to be. Too many good times to be enjoyed throughout the season and I couldn't resist being involved in the festivities. Not to worry though, because we're here now and that's what counts. :)

2010 has been a great year for me as I've had the privilege of working with some great people on some very cool music! I just wanted to share with you some tunes and videos from some of them and hopefully in the process I'll be turning you on to something you dig. This isn't in any particular order and there's a few different genres, so just have a listen to (and have a look at) whatever you like.

1. WARMACHINE'S sophomore effort "Left For Dead" was released earlier in the year during their tour with metal veterans W.A.S.P. Here's a link to a song called "Moving On."

2. APE came in the studio and cut some brand new material after promoting their debut full-length CD "Survival of The Fittest." This three-song offering entitled "...And Then There Were Two" shows a great deal of growth. Here's a tune from those sessions called "Man To Machine."

3. MORRE had their CD Release Party for their debut entitled "...Out There" back in January 2010 complete with belly dancers, additional backing vocalists and, of course, great music! Here's a link to "The Moment."

4. HAYLEY STARK have expanded their horizons after the release of their successful six song EP "Get Over It." Toronto's best acoustic duo came into the studio and together we produced three new songs with more of a full-band approach to complement their well-crafted guitar lines and vocal harmonies. Here is a brand new video for a track called "Skirt Is On Fire."

5. I've been having a lot of fun playing bass with MIND MECHANICS. These guys are serious musicians and they've kept my chops in check for sure. They've completed their third full-length album "Naked Singularity" and here's a track called "Consume Your Hunger."

6. And last, but not least, MAINGATE came in and we produced a hook laden five-song EP entitled "I Tried" which I believe is one of the most kick-ass debuts I've ever seen a band come out with. Check out "Sparkles And Fades."

I'm looking forward to being a part of many more projects in 2011 and checking out some great new music!! Thanks for listening!!