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Tell us about your upbringing, what got you into music?
Growing up just outside of Calgary I was active in music from a young age. Starting in piano when I was 6, quickly I progressed to violin, and then guitar. As I was actually home-schooled for my elementary years, music was an extremely large part of my life. The various different groups my parents enrolled me in provided me with a like minded community that allowed me to both have a social hub to engage with, but also outside inspiration to continue my learning. Once entering into the private school system in grade 7, my teachers continued to provide me with numerous different musical experiences bridging into highschool, when I travelled with the high school band each year to a different country. Thus today when I look back at music and who I am now, both the travel and the years of musical experiences both my family and school provided made me who I am today.
As an artist, who were your biggest influences?
As a musical entrepreneur, often most of our influences and inspiration come from within our closest circles. The largest influences on my life were foremost my family. They nurtured and encouraged my musical education, and were a constant support to me at all times. In addition my various amazing musical teachers constantly pushed me to excel and grow. My guitar teacher Eric grew to be a life long friend, and to this day still inspires me to continue to learn and dream. Outside factors ranged from artists such as Jimi Hendrix all the way to Stevie Ray Vaughn. Both of these pioneers architected a fresh new sound, and to this day stand as a testament both of creativity and success.
What are you doing these days?
Currently I am concluding my Bachelors Degree in History and Minor in both Latin America Studies and Museum and Heritage Studies. This is balanced in conjunction with my active participation in the Calgary music scene, both gigging, songwriting, and recording.
What got you started with this?
The songs I write and shows I have done content for are driven by my passion for a creative sound for every emotion and situation. The beauty of a song is the fluid ability it has when it is first created. There is no one way to produce it, one can start with a beat, lyrics, melody etc. There is no one way to write, and this creative method can be transposed to other forms of business and problem solving. To be successful in today’s world, it is important to combine both tried and true methods with fresh new ideas that will make your product or idea unique and different.
How do you make your songs stand out?
As every song written is different in every way, it is inherently necessary that I always have fresh ideas. Also it is important to change genres based either on who you are writing for, or what you yourself are feeling in your heart.
Where do you find your fans?
As a songwriter anyone can truly be the next client. Whether I am writing for a show, or am simply playing at an open mic, anyone who is listening is a client. Thus it is important to balance originality in tone with what people enjoy listening to. This translates into any creative enterprise, in the sense that if you produce a product that is completely in left field no one will enjoy it, and you will be unable to make a living. Therefore the balance is between originality and client satisfaction. The classic debate between artists and labels is that either the label attempts to mandate commercialized songs for them to perform, while the artists refuse to accept outside information. The reality is that neither is correct. A songwriter must maintain their artistic integrity, but also work with labels to create a product that will sell and be successful. Both sides meeting halfway balance sales with creating original music.
What’s your #1 tip for entrepreneurs?
The best advice is to be flexible and creative. Create new ideas, bounce them off colleagues, and be willing to combine approaches. When it comes to a more standard product or business you are starting, understand that if you can not sell your product, you will not make a living at it. The art of balance is what will ensure you are the most successful.
Which software do you use to make your music?
As a musician I use ProLogic on a MacBook, and also an array of mics/interfaces/instruments. Outside of that I use youtube, reverbnation, soundcloud etc for marketing and outreach.
Teach us anything useful!
The most valuable thing I can teach is compromise. When you look at yourself in the world understand that you don’t have all the answers, and that most often you will be wrong. Now don’t be sad, this isn’t to say your idea is bad or the person who has just shut you down is right. They too are wrong, and somewhere in between is often the most correct idea or solution. We all have different backgrounds and skill sets, use the people around you as a resource to bridge the gaps in your own knowledge to create the best product, solution, or idea you possibly can. Remember everything can always be better.
What do you plan to do in the future?
In the coming years I have different paths that interest me. On one side I am extremely interested in doing work at a major music label in either marketing or A&R. Also I am interested to pursue government relations, or another form of marketing. No matter what path I take, I know it will be filled with music, people, and passion.
What is the end goal?
In the end I would like to start my own music label that pairs performers directly with songwriters to create music that balances both the needed sales with the artistic value of the song.
You can listen and download Joe’s music for free here:
Comment below which one is your favorite song!