SMC Spotlight Series No.1 | Clayton Bellamy Canadian Country Music Legend

by Candice Anne Marshall

In late early August 2008, I was introduced to the sounds of Juno Award winning Canadian Country band The Road Hammers and little did I know that my first encounter with Music Journalism would be inspired by this band, but you know what they say about first impressions…and these boys left such an impactful one, I ended up pursuing music journalism into what is now known as Starlight Music Chronicles. Their passion for their music and their enthusiasm on stage through stellar performance left be spellbound.

In the last 9 years, I have followed the bands’ career and in 2013, I reconnected with Clayton Bellamy, guitarist for The Road Hammers, just outside of Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta prior to a Taylor Swift concert. It was then we struck up a friendship apart from the band and is where I first learned he had also pursued a solo music career. He handed me his album ‘Five Crow Silver’ with the promise to review it (which I did eagerly), and since, I have been a massive supporter of his solo and band projects. His attitude, work ethic, and personable approach to his peers in this sometimes very tough industry is like a welcome breath of fresh air.

Since 2013, I have watched Clayton work with Canadian Musicians like Dan Davidson, and FKB producing and penning songs that have now made major strides on Canadian Radio and being recognized by the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) and Edmonton Music Awards. To say the least, everything Clayton pours his heart into has that Midas touch and that is evident in the accumulation of awards he has earned over the last several years. He and The Road Hammers have been nominated for yet another Canadian Country Music Award for 2017 (for Group or Duo of the Year) and have already four CCMA awards under their belt. In addition, he has won a Juno Award for Best Country Recording and SOCAN Songwriter of the Year award to name a few. Clayton has performed at the Grand Ole Opry and even for President Carter. His work credentials from his Five Crow Silver album include working alongside industry peers such as Garth Hudson (The Band), Bobby Keys (The Rolling Stones), Ian McLagan (The Faces), Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton from Stevie Ray Vaughn’s legendary backing band Double Trouble, Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar), Tom Wilson (Blackie and the Rodeo King’s), Audley Freed (The Black Crowes), Chad Cromwell (Neil Young, Joe Walsh), Kelly Prescott, Mike Plume and his old buddies from The Road Hammers, Chris Byrne and Corbett Frasz.

We are looking forward to his new project with The Congregation (as mentioned in the below interview) and his Career journey is officially now part of the SMC Spotlight Numbered Series roster of high caliber Artists we have been profiling in both the music and film industries and welcome Clayton to the SMC Spotlight!

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Clayton Bellamy CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Ron Palmer Photography 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.

Exclusive Interview | Clayton Bellamy 

SMC – Clayton! We are so thrilled to have you on our SMC Spotlight! This has been a long time coming my friend! I met you back in 2007 when you performed at Grizfest in Northern BC. I was that deer-in-the-headlights reporter for the local newspaper Jason brought on the bus…. I remember you boys were so laid back. It was my first interview. You know, I got in a lot of trouble for that! LOL Let’s begin with your work with The Road Hammers – I saw there’s a video in the works….and I saw you in a jailbird costume…what’s up with that? LOL

CB – Well first off, I never kiss and tell so I can’t give away all the details but that picture was on the set of a video for a song called Haulin’ Ass on the new Road Hammer record “The Squeeze”.

SMC – What has the fan response been to The Road Hammers new music?

CB – The response has been overwhelming with a Top 6 single on Billboard it is really overwhelming to see Hammer music still doing so well after 12 years on the road!

SMC – How do you feel you have personally evolved as a Musician since 2007 when we first met?

CB – Well I hope I have gotten better lol, I have learned so much being with this band and touring the world. I think we have really, as Musicians, refined what the band is and taken our live show to a whole other level.

SMC – I did a review of your album Five Crow Silver (I still listen to that all the time!) after we connected in 2013 outside Rexall Place at the Taylor Swift RED Tour. Are there any more solo projects coming down the pipe? That album is fabulous!

CB – Thank you, I was very proud of that record. YES, in fact I am working on a new solo project now, a band called The Congregation!  It is a mix of RnB, Gospel and Rock n Roll!

SMC – I also saw that there was some pretty stellar talent that collaborated with you on the Five Crow Silver album. Can you tell me which experience was most memorable for you?

CB – That album was not easy to make with all the guests involved but I would say being in Willie Nelsons Studio with Double Trouble and Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar and Ian Maclagan of the Faces all in one room was something I will never forget!

SMC – So let’s get into some of the song-writing you have been collaborating on for local artists in the Edmonton community…Let’s begin with Dan Davidson – Can you tell us how that collaboration came about?

CB – Dan and I have known each other for years thru his work with Tupelo Honey, we got together when he called me about co writing for his new solo project!  Together we wrote Barn Burner and Found which was a GOLD selling single!  It still BLOWS MY MIND!

SMC – FKB, can you tell us how you that collab came about?

CB – I first saw FKB playing a Chilli cook off in Bonnyville AB.  Then like the same week I saw them playing at the Car show in Bonnyville, I thought these kids are too good to be real! We got together and started writing for their first record they were 17 and 18 years old!  Now here we are on album number two five years later and they are touring North America with songs on the radio and kicking ass!  I am so pumped for them!

SMC – Can you tell us if there are any other artists local to Edmonton that you will or have worked with?

CB – I am always interested in collaborating and creating music.  Weather at the local or national level it only matters about the quality and passion of the artist I am working with.  If I am going to write or produce with an Artist it first has to feel right.  There are so many great Edmonton bands out there right now but I would love to work with ‘Scenic Route To Alaska’!

SMC – Have there been any other Canadian artists that you have collaborated with outside of Edmonton?

CB – I have been so blessed to work and write with many great artists like Jason Blaine, Big Sugar, Matt Anderson, Chad Brownlee, The Trews, Derric Ruttan, Blackie and The Rodeo Kings and many others who have let me into their worlds.

SMC – What about US artists?

CB – As a Band the Hammers have played with many great acts like Loretta Lynn, Lynard Skynard, Jason Aldean, Dwight Yoakam, Twisted Sister, the list goes on and I often have to pinch myself knowing that all this started as a dream from a small-town farm kid in Alberta.

SMC – What has been your greatest accomplishment to date in terms of your personal career?

CB – I think Playing the Grand Ole Opry.  We played it twice and it was a feeling like no other…I got down and kissed the stage.

SMC – What has been your greatest accomplishment in terms of your personal life?

CB – By far my kids…they have given me so much joy in my life and hope for the future, and the continue to challenge me as a Dad and as a Human being to be better.

SMC – It seems that everything you touch turns to gold! Dan Davidson’s song ‘Found’ and ‘Barn Burner’ have had some serous traction on radio and among fans. Can you tell us what you like most about writing for others?

CB – I love that there are no expectations, only open roads to go down to create!

SMC – How many of the songs on The Road Hammers new album ‘The Squeeze’ you have written?

CB – I was a part of 3 songs on the Record including the Title track!  But it was a group effort to make those songs.  I am only a part of making those great.  Chris Byrne and Jason McCoy are amazing writers in their own right so it’s easy when you get in the room with them!

SMC – You boys always seem to have a ton of fun in everything you do from making videos to live performances. Can you tell us what you enjoy most?

CB –  what I enjoy most is that nothing is ever the same, as soon as you get tired of playing live you’re in the studio recording or your writing its always changing and that works good for me!

SMC – Let’s talk about your career working for 103.9 CISN FM Radio in Edmonton…what was your role on the station?

CB – I was the host of the Drive Home show with Chelsea Bird.

SMC – What inspired you to get into Radio?

CB:  That was serendipity mostly lol.  The good folks at CISN including Chris Scheetz approached me about the opportunity and I said YES!  The rest is history.

SMC – How would you say your time on CISN FM has helped enhance your own music career or that of The Road Hammers or the others you write for?

CB:  I think it helped me become more of a household name in Alberta, it also helped hone my radio skills interviewing and being interviewed!  It also opened up a whole new world of opportunity for the future in Music for me.  And for that I will always be grateful.

SMC – What has been your greatest accomplishment to date in terms of your career?

CB – The JUNO (award).

SMC – What has been your greatest challenge?

CB – Breaking out into new markets around the world.

SMC – I saw something a while back about you supporting causes like the Diabetes Foundation. My mother had diabetes, so this is a subject I am passionate about. Can you tell me what other organizations you have supported?

CB – Yes, I was involved with The Diabetes Association at the CISN I went to Scotland and ran the Scotland Marathon with them it was amazing!

SMC – We are halfway through the summer and with festival season drawing to a close, what do you have planned in terms of live performances in the upcoming months?

CB – The Hammers are full on baby!  We have a huge fall coming up with our new single “YOUR LOVE IS THE DRUG”

SMC – I feel confident that you will walk away with something at the CCMA’s this year! What categories have you or artists you’ve worked with been nominated for?

CB – Well don’t get too confident lol, if it’s one thing you can never count on it’s awards shows lol.  But seriously it is always amazing to be nominated and recognized for your work.  To me that is the best.

SMC – What do you place most of your energy into during the creative process of making an album with The Road Hammers or even with others?

CB – THE SONGS!  with out them you have nothing…

SMC – Can you tell us what your song-writing process is? Which instrument do you use for this process?

CB – My process is secret… my instrument is my BRAIN! LOL

SMC – Which artist in the industry would you like to collaborate with and why?

CB – I would love to work with Eric Clapton or John Mayer!

SMC – With so many affected by the recent passing of Chester Bennington and even Chris Cornell, what are your thoughts on the demands of the music industry and the importance of keeping balanced?

CB – Listen, mental illness is nothing to be taken lightly and until we lift the stigma and get it out in the open and attack it head on we will continue to lose people.  Celebrities or not, our families all need support so love up on each other because you never know where someone is at…

Clayton Bellamy (far left) performs with The Road Hammers at Grizfest Music Festival in 2008.
Photo: Candice Anne Marshall
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Starlight Music Chronicles 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.

SMC – What is a typical ‘day in the life’ of Clayton Bellamy like?

CB – BUSY>>>

SMC – What has been the most memorable live performance for you to date?

CB: Still the OPRY

SMC – Who are your greatest allies in this industry?

CB – My friends, it’s hard to explain but I never approach this as business and needing allies and leveraging ext… may be to my detriment but I always came at it as a FAN!  I LOVE Music and I want to be friends with these people and be involved in their lives and their music!

SMC – What plans do you personally want to accomplish in the next 5 years?

CB – World Domination! LOL.  Honestly my new project The Congregation and my songwriting are taking front seat for a while and I hope to be busy making music with that!

SMC – Where do you think the future of music is at in terms of platforms: Spotify or Pandora?

CB – There will always be room for vinyl and CD’s on the fringe but mass music is now consumed online and that is our reality.

SMC – Do you think that with platforms like Spotify or Pandora, radio will become obsolete?

CB – No not as long as there is internet this is how music will be consumed from now on.

SMC – What does the term ‘success’ in the music industry means to you?

CB – I think I am living it, I get to make a living playing and creating music that is what I set out to do.  And Every day I wake up excited about my day…you can’t ask for more than that.

SMC – What is a deal-breaker for you in terms of what you aren’t willing to do for your career?

CB – I think anything that goes against my Moral code, or would affect my family or children negatively, but luckily, I have yet to run into that.

SMC – Who would you say are your go-to team?

CB – My manager Ron Kitchner at RGK or my Publishing team at OLE Nashville.  But creatively Scott Baggett my production Partner and The Hammers band are my go to guys!

SMC – What do you do to ‘unwind’ after a hectic day?

CB – I love to be on the Water, or on my Motorcycle.

SMC – Who is your favorite Rock artist? Country? Alternative? Folk/Americana?

CB: Right now, I would list Chris Stapleton, Rival Sons, Tedeschi Trucks Band

SMC – Okay, final question: What ‘other’ career path would you have chosen if you had not chosen music?

CB – Banana Salesman, because I am sensitive just like them…I bruise easily!

SMC – LOL! Fair comment – Thanks Clayton!

*Featured throughout this interview are songs that Clayton has written or produced with the Artists featured.

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Clayton Bellamy
CONDITIONS OF USE: Photos remain ©Ron Palmer Photography 2017 Strictly no re-use, cropping, editing or publishing without prior written consent.

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SMC Spotlight Series No. 4 | Dan Davidson ‘Say We Did’ Review & Exclusive Interview

By Candice Anne Marshall

Just as I suspected, Country Music Rising Star, Edmonton based Dan Davidson has launched yet another gold single today with his newest single ‘Say We Did’. Let’s start with that video though…. once again Davidson manages to stretch the traditional ‘country music video’ boundaries by going completely left field with this latest production. The cast and crew assembled in blistering 31-degree Celsius heat among the Hoodoos of Drumheller, Alberta fully prepared to melt their faces off (literally) for the sake of running around in polyester costumes, playing instruments and living out their love for Star Trek. This might seem like a wild choice for a Canadian Country Musician considering most have videos filmed in wheat field/tractor variety, but I assure you, this isn’t a wild choice for Dan Davidson whose wicked sense of humor and personality shines through here. In fact, the last several videos have seen Davidson in a moose costume performing live with his furry friend creatures or walking the streets of Tokyo in an all-white Cowboy ensemble unabashedly playing his guitar for an unsuspecting crowd of Asian onlookers. There isn’t anything like this on the planet and fans have come to expect this originality as a Dan Davidson trademark and staple and it’s a wild ride. For this alone, I feel the man is genius.

We have had several Spotlight features with Davidson going back to June 2015 where his very well-received debut single as a Country Music Artist was ‘Unkiss Her’. This was followed by ‘Found’ in March 2016, and ‘Barn Burner’ in October 2016. Although the single releases have been spread out, all the traction and attention they have received on radio and press, (including radio tours and live performances) there really hasn’t been a slack moment for this up and coming Country Music Legend.

In addition to his own thriving music career, Davidson is responsible for shaping the music careers of many well-known Artists in the Edmonton community via HandsUp Music along with his partner in crime Mr. Ari Rhodes. I have personally seen Davidson behind-the-scenes at many live performances for his Artists such as Bryan Finlay and Lexi Strate making sure that their equipment is running smoothly for their shows or even helping to orchestrate video shoots for them. He is a mecca of knowledge within the music community in Edmonton and has even written several successful grants for many Musicians in order to complete many of their own video projects. The man wears many hats and for those who don’t know and are just discovering him for the first time today, Davidson has also fronted the Canadian Rock Band Tupelo Honey for several years prior to his recent success in his solo project. You will want to check that out too!

With the new single ‘Say We Did’ out today, I am confident that this is going to be yet another well-received, unique feel-good hit we have come to know from this Artist. Klingons and Borgs in polyester suits aside, this truly iconic, fun, ‘Dan Davidson’ sound in its instrumental composition and lyrical strength. When we look at his work with Tupelo Honey, this song has shades of that ‘Halo’  grandiosity with a Country Music twist and I am very happy to hear it. This translates to a truly original sound that cannot be emulated: legendary. While Davidson is presently sowing the seeds in the music industry with hit after hit, he is simultaneously leading up to a full-length album (fall, 2017) which we are confident will blow the lid off this combustible musical force making Dan Davidson a global household name.

Be ready world, the Dan Davidson storm is coming!

SMC SPOTLIGHT Exclusive Interview | Dan Davidson | July 2017

SMC – Dan! We are thrilled to have you on our SMC SPOTLIGHT again! We have been following your career since June of 2015 when our contributor Randy Wayne Belt interviewed you for our platform. Since, we have had you featured three times in our Spotlight Numbered Series. What are your thoughts on us chronicling your career journey as Dan Davidson?

Dan – I really appreciate all the support! Its nice to have you guys on board from the start 🙂 Hopefully I can keep giving you something to talk about!

SMC – We have always been tapped into your new releases and with the release of ‘Say We Did’ today, can you tell us what you are most excited about with this release?

Dan Well this song is something that was really strategically complicated from a creative standpoint. I wanted to give radio something familiar (the upbeat front porch sound of Found and Barn Burner) yet something new and different to show I’m not just a one trick pony. I’m really confident that my producer and I nailed it on this one. I’m happy to get material out that really sounds like me. I feel that most of my songs aren’t just tunes that could be interchangeable with other artists, its something I’m proud of.

SMC – All week prior to the video launch of the single, we saw some pretty wicked sneak peeks of a Start Trek clad cast and crew…. can you tell us how the idea for this video came about?

Dan – Its just another worst “best idea ever”! Travis (the director), Russ (the assistant director) and I had some really crazy concepts planned for this. More travel related videos but thought, again, we should switch it up. Be spontaneous and unpredictable. We all love Star Trek and somehow got on the topic of buying costumes as a joke. Then it all kind of clicked in for us – we needed to do a spoof in the most DIY possible.

SMC – It was all shot in your garage and your wife couldn’t park in it for a week…. did she at least get flowers or a nice dinner out? (laughs) All kidding aside, your videos have become quite personal and homegrown… can you tell us why you have continued this trend?

Dan – Haha well, she gets a cameo in the video and hopefully her sacrifice helps to bring about a successful single and some sales money haha! Yea I think there are FAR too many riverbanks, dirt roads, wheat fields, and bars in country video. Videos are a real chance for me to communicate my personality and set my self apart. I’m definitely not one to fear straying from the norm. I think it’s a major strength of mine. I have the indie freedom to really do whatever I want – so I’m going to ride that out!

SMC – All your music videos are pretty epic to be honest. Epic and quite funny! Is this the signature ‘Dan Davidson’ style we can come to expect in future videos?

Dan – 100% I love it! Its fun for me. Its also great to hang out with all my creative friends and make some memories as professional grown up children.

SMC – Who is the creative team behind the video?

Dan – The video and concept was written by Travis Nesbitt, Russ Dawson, and myself. It was all shot by Trav and Russ as well.

SMC – The song itself is a genuinely pretty song with that classic upbeat sound we have come to know. Is this another co-write with Clayton Bellamy?

Dan – Nope, this one was co-written by Dave Thompson (remember Wave in the 90s? Yea him. We call him Dwave), and also with Travis Wood (Tim Hicks, James Barker Band)

SMC – What would you say is your unique Dan Davidson ‘signature’?

Dan – I’d say just honest music, with a little personality, and an indie DIY touch.

SMC – When you are about to embark on writing and production of a new single, what is your process?

Dan – Well for this one, I headed down to Nashville to write for a week. Landed a pretty good tune with a co-write, then looked at a list of about 30 songs with my publisher, radio team, and producer and narrowed it down. From there, I sent the demo to my producer and we began to fumble with the keys and tempos. Then we starting working on the arrangement. From there I began tracking a guide vocal. After that we started getting all the instruments in place, then I recorded my final vocals from my studio in Edmonton and sent them to my producer Jeff in Toronto.

SMC – I read recently that your previous single ‘Found’ is only 1000 streams away from being a Canadian Gold single! We are thrilled to see this happening for you! Can you tell us which song has been receiving the most attention so far (aside from ‘Say We Did’ today)?

Dan – Not 1000 streams, but 1000-unit single sales (150 streams = 1 sale). So a combination of streaming and sales equaling 1000. Yea its pretty crazy – basically unheard of for an indie artist to land a gold record. Its definitely a career milestone for me! Well Found definitely was the song that broke through. Other than that, Barn Burner is really the only song out! (Which also was top 20 and a major success for me!)

SMC – When we look at having a successful ‘summer release’ when, in your opinion, is the perfect time to launch a new single, EP, or full-length album?

Dan – There is never a good time in Canada anymore – but that doesn’t stop me. Found went out during ratings and Barn Burner went out before Christmas…both terrible times to go. Right now we are competing against more great CanCon than I’ve ever seen. Space is limited but I think we will see some great support out there J

SMC – What has been your best social media strategy so far?

Dan – Make great content, and keep giving people something to talk about.

SMC – Which social media platform is your favorite to interact with your fans on?

Dan – Instagram.

SMC – Do you always launch a video at the same time the single is released to all major music platforms?

Dan – Not really, Found and Barn Burner came out a few months after the song was out. This time we are trying to use the video to leverage attention for the single so we decided to go at the same time.

SMC – Can you share with us what the outcome was for the ‘Dan Davidson’ guitar contest and what it was all about….

Dan – It was a contest to help spread the word about MusiCounts (an organization that helps to bring music and music education to kids across Canada that couldn’t always afford it). I talked to people and radio stations all across the country and raised some great awareness for the cause! A kid from Stony Plain AB won the guitar last week.

SMC – You have recently won Country Recording of the Year for your single ‘Found’ at the Edmonton Music Awards last week! Congrats! With the Canadian Country Music Awards around the corner, do know yet if you have been nominated?

Dan – I’m still in the running in the 2nd ballot, we find out if I’m a nominee in any category on July 12th I believe!

SMC –  I read somewhere that 2017 will be the year of ‘Dan Davidson’ – what are your thoughts on claims like that? (see: Canadian Beats year in review (here)

Dan – Well I sure hope so! I try my best to keep my head down and keep doing what I’m doing without worrying about what everyone else is up to. I think that’s the best strategy for success!

SMC – Speaking of Awards ceremonies and the awards themselves, what are your thoughts on the decisions of the Country Music Association in terms of who wins, etc.? Do you think there is a trend among different awards ceremonies as in: of one gets chosen for one category in one award ceremony, they are likely to get chosen for the others in the same category for other ceremonies in the same year?

Dan – Hmm id never really put any thought into it. I think the CCMA has a great reputation as an organization that really focus’ on credibility and accountability. Hard to find a better award organization that that. The good thing is nominees are essentially selected by their peers – so If I was picked for multiple categories I would just consider it a major honor.

SMC- Do you think that Country Music today is evolving to a new sound or do you think there will be a resurgence of a classic country sound?

Dan – I think the country scene makes room for every kind of country artist. There are trends that will come and go, but for the most part the awareness of country music and the breadth of the fan base is bigger and better than ever. I just hope that continues.

SMC – I know that I have asked you before why you chose a career in Country Music – now that you have progressed further into your career, can you tell me what your feelings are on making this career decision today?

Dan – Never once looked back. It was the best musical decision I’ve made in my 13-year career so far.

SMC – Again, I would like to talk a moment about your band Tupelo Honey – I saw that the Edmonton Oilers have supported your single ‘Can’t Stop’ – LOVE the tune! Is there anything coming down the pipe new music-wise for the band? SMC- How have your Tupelo Honey band members been supportive of your solo career?

Dan – Nothing new coming down the pipe. We have a bunch of B sides recorded that maybe well release to fans one day – but no plans just yet! The guys have been amazing. That’s the thing about making music with your best buds, there is nothing but support. 2 of the guys (Greg on drums, and Tyler on guitar) that are playing with me now. My show has evolved in such a positive way because of their contributions.

We were all so surprised and pumped up to see that we were the pump up music for the playoffs! All of our phones were exploding with texts.

SMC – I have seen so many Artists keeping consistent with their music and social media yet some never seem to make it to radio or get the support they deserve at the best of times. What do you feel is the disconnect on issues like this?

Dan – Radio is a tricky animal. There are tonnes of cool artists that don’t get radio play – sometimes its about the style, sometimes its about the song (often cool music isn’t ‘hit’ music), sometimes its about politics and team. Radio can’t play everyone, its very competitive. I don’t really have the answer to tell you the truth, I’ve found something that works for me after doing this for well over a decade but there is no real “right way”.

SMC – Where have you felt you have made the best career decision so far in your solo career?

Dan – Just doing what I do, having fun, making music with people I love and trust.

SMC – Indeed you have also been involved in the careers of so many up and coming and currently popular Artists in the Edmonton area – have you been still able to maintain grant writing and production work via Hands Up Music/Studio?

Dan – I basically hate grant writing, so I only do it for me and a few other artists I’m involved in BUT I still work tirelessly with Hands Up! Music. Ari and I have produced a tonne of great records this year (Ill have to tell ya about a few!). Hands Up! Is going strong and growing rapidly!

SMC – Which of your current Artists would you recommend for an SMC Spotlight next?

Dan – Lexi Strate is always amazing. She’s the real deal, such a cool sound. As for other production gigs – my fav EP we’ve produced lately is The Sissy Fits – its like a gritty Spice Girls meets punk rock.

SMC – We have seen you do sooooo much hard work behind the scenes for other Artists…. where do you find the energy for it?! (laughs)

Dan – I don’t know! I guess I just like to be busy and help people connect the dots that I was able to connect. Passing that karma down the line!

SMC – In terms of your Music Peers, who has been the most supportive of your career strides (aside from your management team)?

Dan – Jeff Dalziel my producer has been with me for 13 years and has produced essentially every professional recording attached to my name. We do whatever we can to continually help and support each other’s businesses. Also Bill Miller who I talk about often. Bill goes the extra mile, well beyond radio promotion. He’s a great sounding board and work horse. My publishers Red Brick Songs are so fully invested in this with me as well. The outpouring of support from my industry friends is paramount to my success.

SMC – Which radio stations have been quick to promote and support your new music?

Dan – Country 93.3 in Fort Mac, JRFM in Vancouver, KX96 in Oshawa, Real Country 95.5 in Red Deer, Country 94 in St. John, and CFCW have been great for early support!

SMC – What are your thoughts on other music platforms (for promotional purposes) like Spotify and Pandora as opposed to traditional radio playlists and shows?

Dan – It’s amazing. Its listener driven, no advertising. Its about organic trends and tastes. To me its not one or the other though. Artists should strive for both if their music fits.

SMC – I have enjoyed seeing your vlogs! They are pretty entertaining (laughs) – where can your fans find them posted and can they subscribe to them?

Dan – Instagram.com/itsdandavidson and Facebook.com/dandavidsonmusic

SMC – You played at The Danforth Music Hall in Toronto to a sold-out crowd alongside Chase Rice! Can you tell us if you have any future concert dates or festival dates we can watch out for?

Dan – Sure do!

Peace River, Alberta PEACEFEST W/ Jojo Mason & Aaron Pritchett 07/07/17 12 Foot Davis Events Park 8:00pm
Fort McMurray, AB WILD WEST COUNTRY FEST – W/ WBU & Road Hammers 07/08/17 Snye Point Park 8:00pm
Calgary, Alberta CALGARY STAMPEDE – Headline 07/09/17 Ranchmans 8:00pm
Sevenpersons , AB QUONSET DAYS W/ James Barker Band & Rivertown Saints 07/22/17 Quonset Days Grounds 8:00pm
Edmonton, AB K-DAYS – W/ Corb Lund 07/23/17 K-Days South Stage 8:00pm
Mattawa, Ontario VOYAGEUR DAYS W/ The Road Hammers 07/28/17 Mattawa Museum Grounds 8:00pm
Sarnia, Onatario BLUEWATER BORDER FEST W/ Aaron Goodvin 07/29/17 Centennial Park 8:00pm
Dawson Creek, BC DAWSON CREEK STAMPEDE – Headline 08/11/17 Dawson Creek Stampede 8:00pm
Dawson Creek, BC DAWSON CREEK STAMPEDE – Headline 08/12/17 Dawson Creek Stampede 8:00pm

 

SMC – Will you be performing at Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose, Alberta again this year?

Dan – No, I wish! I played 2 years in a row. They need a break! Haha

SMC – What is your favorite live performance so far as Dan Davidson?

Dan – London Music Hall W/ Chase Rice earlier this year. It was like an ACDC video. There were people hanging off everything and everyone was screaming the words!

SMC – Are we going to see a full-length album soon?

Dan – I’d say shortly after CCMAs in September we can expect a release!

SMC – Alright – last question: (I don’t think I have ever asked you this on before either)

Can you tell us one thing about yourself as a Musician that you feel sets you apart from your music peers?

Dan – That’s a tough one. My peers are pretty diverse! I’m not sure if I have a good answer. I’m hoping that fans don’t have the answer either. I don’t want what I do to be a gimmick – I’m hoping there is a music brand and a certain something that no one can quick put their finger on that sets me apart. I think that’s how you know its real.

Thanks Dan! It’s always wonderful when we can connect! Keep up with the awesome!

Check out the video for ‘Say We Did’ below!


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Photo Courtesy: Dan Davidson

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FKB | SPOTLIGHT interview Series No.1 ‘Bright Lights’

By Candice Anne Marshall

Have you ever had that one song that just plays on repeat and you just can’t seem to get it out of your head? When I am talking about Alberta’s own FKB, and their new single ‘Bright Lights’, I am not referring to the kind of song you want to get out of your head. I am talking about a song you spontaneously hear on a gloomy Monday afternoon whilst crunching numbers (mindlessly) that, upon first listen, it gets your toe tapping and you grinning like an idiot to your coworkers for the remainder of the day. Yes indeed, you have just heard the greatest song to come across your ears and that, dear readers, is unforgettable.

‘Bright Lights’ is a single written by FKB and produced by Grammy Award Winning Producer and Musician Clayton Bellamy (The Road Hammers, Clayton Bellamy Band). The band has worked with Bellamy on their previous album ‘123 FKB’, known for their song ‘Crystal Ball’ which was well received across the Canadian radio circuit. It’s no wonder that they would come out of the barn gates kicking it up a notch once again with ‘Bright Lights’, a catchy tune produced in true Bellamy style: unforgettable. The vocals on this single come across with meaningful intention and the instrumentation is fun, vibrant, and on point. It has been a while since I have heard a song like this (for me, Dan Davidson’s ‘Found’ is another favorite, also co-written by Bellamy) and I am certain that this is the ground work for a very successful album coming in the near future.

There’s no doubt about it, this is a band whose long tenure on the music scene and perseverance has caught the attention of our SMC SPOTLIGHT team. We will begin running a Spotlight Numbered Series on this band as we follow them on their career journey and will be anticipating more in the near future! So what are you all doing still reading this? Get this song on your iPod now! Hurry!

Just remember, you heard ‘Bright Lights’ here first.

You’re welcome.

FKB *EXCLUSIVE* Interview | SPOTLIGHT Series No. 1 ‘Bright Lights’ May 5th, 2017

SMC – Hello Gentlemen! We are so thrilled to have connected with you via our industry peer Mr. Bill Miller (Sharp 9 Music). We have worked on several SMC SPOTLIGHT Numbered Series with Mr. Dan Davidson over the last couple years since launching himself into a solo Country music career and it seems everyone associated with Bill and Dan are super talented! Can you tell us how your connection came about in the music industry? (aside from your passion for creating it of course!)

FKB – Hello Candice! Thank you we are extremely excited that you gave us the opportunity to be in the SMC Spotlight! Our connections in the music industry largely come from Clayton Bellamy. We met him many years ago when we were playing at a car show in Bonnyville, Alberta and we began to work with him regularly. We met Dan through a songwriter’s event in Edmonton this summer and we had Clayton as a mutual friend. We met Bill this spring through both Clayton and Dan who both recommended working with him.

SMC – That’s fantastic! I was able to connect with Clayton and The Road Hammers in 2007 when they performed at Grizfest Music Festival in Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia. To what extent is Clayton’s involvement in your projects?

FKB – Clayton has been the producer of all our work so far. He co-wrote and produced our first EP 123 FKB and produced our new single “Bright Lights” as well as a few other songs that are yet to be released. He’s been a tremendous help in getting the sound and vibe we want and making sure everything we do sounds as good as it possibly can.

SMC – Who can all the songwriting be attributed to for the ‘123 FKB’ album (released March 28, 2014)?

FKB – All the songs on that EP were written by Drew Shalka, Derek Chalut, Zach Fontaine, Zack Moon, and Clayton Bellamy.

SMC – Can you tell us how you gentlemen came together? I am more curious about the back story on how your interests collaborated in the early days of FKB…

FKB – We initially came together in high school back in 2009 because of a desire to play Beatles and Beach Boys music. We essentially found everyone we could who was interested in playing that kind of music who was our age and began to book shows all over the local area. We would also often listen to old 30s and 40s music like Fats Waller on our way to shows so it was a slightly unusual high school rock band.

SMC – I read on your website that the band has been together for eight years now. I find that most of the bands that stay together are the ones that go through everything that is possible to break them up and yet, they get past that eight-year mark and that’s when the real magic begins. My friends The Standstills are a perfect example of this…. what are your thoughts on the ups and downs of the band?

FKB – There were definitely some serious ups and downs over the years. I have found things were the easiest in the early days before there’s any sort of actual business in place. Once things started getting serious and we began to start writing and releasing our own music as well as doing more shows, which was around the three-year mark, we began to have some issues that nearly broke up the band but we managed to work through and come out stronger than ever. We have even had a few instances where we’ve had members leave and sometimes it seems like that could be the end but each time we have managed to find the exact right people to take their place and move forward as a unit. I would say after getting through everything though it takes a lot more to shake us up than ever before.

SMC – You can certainly hear a different vibe with your newest single ‘Bright Lights’ in comparison to your earlier work. Can you tell us how you have evolved as musicians in terms of your actual sound and image?

FKB – A lot of the new vibe comes from different music we’re listening to at the time of writing and recording the songs. With the previous EP, we were listening to a lot of Kings of Leon and Green Day and had planned to make a kind of retro record with the backing tracks recorded mostly live off the floor. To accompany that we also had a bit of a more 70s rocker kind of look. Over the years, we have been listening to different styles of music and our songwriting began to take on more of a pop/rock style. After recording the last EP, we began listening to a lot of the music that was coming out and we loved how diverse and exciting it was. These were albums like Bruno Mars’ Unorthodox Jukebox and Down With Webster’s Time to Win Volumes I and II. The big things we took away from those albums were the diverse sounds on Unorthodox Jukebox and the fun party atmosphere on the Down With Webster albums. We began incorporating these into our live shows first and then when it came time to make the new songs we began using more synth and keyboards and playing with the sounds on Logic and Cubase to really change things up. The image progressed to reflect the changes in the music.

SMC – What do you think are some of the biggest challenges in the music industry today?

FKB – The biggest challenge at this point would have to be breaking through to audiences. With the number of bands and artists these days it is often easy to get lost in the crowd especially online. Another big challenge is finding places to play live music and get through to audiences in person especially with the number of artists all needing to use the same venues in a lot of places.

SMC – A lot of bands choose to remain ‘indie’ – can you tell us if your ultimate goal is to become signed to a label or to remain indie?

FKB – That is a difficult question. Our ultimate goal is largely independent of whether or not we are signed a label. Our main goal is to reach as many people as possible and if there was a situation where a label could help us achieve that and we felt they could provide us with a benefit, then we would likely sign to them. However, if we can continue to build and reach more and more people on our own then that would be fine with us as well.

SMC – I saw that you are touring this summer too! Can you tell us where those locations are and with whom?

FKB – The current announced dates are:

5/18 – Edmonton, AB @ The Sewing Machine Factory

5/19 – Fernie, BC @ Northern Bar and Stage

5/20 – Trail, BC @ Arlington Bar and Grill

5/21 – Winlaw, BC @ Mama Sita’s

5/27 – Vancouver, BC @ The Roxy

6/2 – Creston, BC @ Jimmy’s Pub

6/3 – Nelson, BC @ The Royal

6/8 – Beaumont, AB @ Live City

7/6 – Waterton, AB @ Thirsty Bear Social House

7/7 – Canmore, AB @ The Drake

7/8 – Canmore, AB @ The Drake

7/14 – Revelstoke, BC @ The Last Drop Pub

8/2 – Saskatoon, SK @ Buds on Broadway

8/3 – Saskatoon, SK @ Buds on Broadway

8/4 – Lloydminster, SK @ The Root

8/10 – Thunder Bay, ON @ The Foundry

8/11 – Sault Ste. Marie, ON @ Loplop’s

8/17 – New York, NY @ Silvana

8/18 – Buffalo, NY @ Nietzche’s

8/22 – Cleveland, OH @ Wilbert’s

8/24 – Chicago, IL @ Moe’s Tavern

We’re mostly touring independently but at some select shows we are playing with: For Tonight, Guests, Naeem Gabriel, The Sophisticrats, West Hammock, and Poor Little Tin Man. There’s also a few unannounced that should be quite exciting as well!

SMC – Can you tell us what is one cool fact about each of you that no one else knows? (fans love this one)

FKB –

Drew: Has a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from the University of Alberta.

Travis: Has a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering from the University of Alberta.

Derek: Has been playing drums since he was four.

Alex: Once hosted a hit Ukrainian Christmas special on a radio station in Vegreville, Alberta.

SMC – What are your thoughts on the support in the music industry in Canada as opposed to other countries in the world like the USA or the UK?

FKB – We’re not too familiar with the support in a lot of other countries but Canada seems to come together around Canadian performers and really try and help everyone grow together. There’s so many great organizations like FACTOR, AFFTA, Alberta Music, Sask Music, CBC Music, Canadian Music Week and so many others that help Canadian artists develop their careers and bring their music to the world stage. This summer will our be first international tour and a lot of it is possible with the help of other Canadian musicians and publications like SMC!

SMC – How do you feel Canadian Songwriters have a better advantage over, say, our American peers?

FKB – Not that familiar with what is available in the US but there is so much support in Canada for Canadian music and lyrics that helps songwriters reach people. Again, there is so many organizations that help songwriters network and create music like the Songwriter’s Association of Canada, FACTOR, and SOCAN that help songwriters work and get paid for their work. There is also a tighter network of performers and songwriters as well than is initially apparent in Canada.

SMC – You have been voted as one of the top 100 ‘Campus Bands’ by CBC. Can you tell us what exactly that means and what it means to you?

FKB – That was very special to us because at that time especially our fan base was a lot smaller than it is today so for that to have happened it took a lot of support from people who liked our music and they rallied around us to get us to that point. That was for a CBC Music competition where fans could vote for their bands who have members at university campuses across Canada. There were thousands of bands that entered and our fans helped bring us to the top 100 which meant a lot to us.

SMC – What is the biggest compliment you have received as a band or individually?

FKB – There have been a few examples that stick out in our minds. A sound man at The Roxy in Vancouver told us our show “was epic” after our performance and that was cool because they have so many awesome bands come through there. Another more recent one was a band who booked us as a feature act at a jam night told us we were no longer a band and that we have become “an act” meaning our show had become more than just music. That was a big compliment because they had booked us before and had seen us a few months earlier. Clayton Bellamy also wrote about us on his Facebook saying that he has loved watching us grow as a band and called us as hard working as anybody in the business. That was big because we have worked with him for such a long time and he is an extremely hard working person himself.

SMC – Which kinds of genre peers do you each connect to in terms of building and networking?

FKB – We actually have close ties to a lot of musicians in genres outside of our own so they’re not really genre specific. We have a lot of connections with country artists like Dan and Clayton. We also talk a lot with some pop artists as well. Closer to our genre we have connections with some other bands within Edmonton and a few from Saskatoon, Lloydminster, and Vancouver as well. The styles of those bands even range a lot from Metal to Alternative and Indie. We also have some connections to a lot of people involved with the industry in other ways like producers, and other writers.

SMC – What has become the most vital thing for you as a band to portray via social media?

FKB – Consistency would be the most vital thing at this point. Making sure that we are putting across the same image on all the platforms and putting out content as regularly as necessary to let people know what we are up to. At this point we want people to get a sense of who we are and portray a positive and fun image through our social media. Because it is an important way for fans to keep in touch with us and up to date on where we are playing and when we are releasing new music we want to keep people engaged and with an accurate expectation of what we are doing.

SMC – What has been the best advice you have received over the years in terms of building your success as a band?

FKB – Just keep working hard and get out in front of people. That combined with putting egos at the door and working together towards whatever goal we’re trying to accomplish. Combined that advice has been a huge help to us over the years especially with remaining as objective as possible towards making decisions.

SMC – Okay, final question: Can you tell us which media platforms (radio aside) that have been most supportive of your music?

FKB – There has been a lot of support over the years in print media especially in the early years when we were starting out the newspapers were always helpful in doing profiles on the band and writing about us at events we were playing. Another big one from the start has always been social media. Facebook is still where most of our fans interact with us and has been our home base from the very beginning. YouTube has also been supportive especially recently we made a few cover videos of some songs we were into and some of them actually did quite well and turned out to gain thousands of views.

SMC – That’s wonderful! Well, thank you gentlemen and we look forward to hosting you on the SMC SPOTLIGHT! in years to come!

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FKB Social Media Links (click to view)

Website
Facebook
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Twitter
YouTube

BIOGRAPHY

FKB formed in 2009 out of a mutual love of fun music and the classic artists of the 50s and 60s. They’ve toured Canada and shared the stage with The Trews, The Road Hammers, and Dan Davidson. Their dedication to creating a fast and exciting rock show attracted the attention of Clayton Bellamy (The Road Hammers) who produced their debut EP, 123 FKB and their newest single “Bright Lights”.

For interviews or promotional materials contact Drew at info@fkbmusic.ca or by phone at 780-573-3329

Radio Promo: Bill Miller – bill@sharp9music.com

For all press materials visit http://fkbmusic.ca/press

Lia Cole | April 2017 SMC Artist of the Month!

SMC Interview | Lia Cole Artist of the Month April 2017

By Candice Anne Marshall

SMC – Hello Lia! We are thrilled to host you as our Official Artist of the Month winner on our site! Where were you when you first heard you had won the competition?

LC – Thank you, I am so excited to be a part of this!! I am so thankful for the support I got from my fans. I was at school when I found out and was so excited I could barley focus 😉

SMC – Can you tell us what your thoughts are on being in the running now for Artist of the Year in June 2017?

LC – Having the opportunity to work with ArtistMax, Ken Caillat from Fleetwood Mac and his daughter, Grammy Award Winning Colbie Caillat would be such a dream come true. Thank you for this cool opportunity to work towards artist of the year.

SMC – What are your thoughts on your close call with Soap Box Duo (Also from Edmonton)?

LC – They are incredible musicians and it was an honor to be in the running with them!

SMC – We have interviewed you last year when you released your single ‘You Lost Me’ and since, so much has happened for you in your music career! Can you tell us about your accomplishments since October 2016?

LC – It’s only been a few months but I’ve been really focused on building my fan base on social media and planning some exciting shows for the year. I also did a really cool showcase at the Needle with Paul Woida. We premiered our mashup video, and thanks to all my fans and friends, my videos have gotten over 200,000 online views since October!

SMC – We saw that you are also doing some amazing work with a few others in the industry such as Paul Woida and Toxsic. Can you tell us about those projects?

LC – I love collaborations. Edmonton has so many talented artist and any chance I get to work with them is an incredible opportunity. I worked with Toxsic over a year ago with one of the songs “Lucky’ off my first Ep produced by Hands Up music. Dan Davidson, Kayla Patrick, Toxic and I co wrote the song as part of a really cool song-writing workshop at The Audio Department. It was such a cool experience and I learned so much from all of them! Paul Woida so inspiring and one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.

SMC – You and Paul (Woida) seem to have such a magical music connection, can you tell us if you will be working on more future duets with him?

LC – Paul is honestly like my big bro!! I look up to him a lot and I learn so much from him. I co-write with him as often as I can.

SMC – What are your biggest goals for your music career?

LC – My biggest goal would be selling out Madison Square Garden. But right now, I am focused on building my fan base, creating the best show possible and writing music that means something to me. I want to be able to connect with my fans, and I believe that connecting with my own lyrics and focusing on my music is the best way I can do that.

SMC – Can you define what success means to you in terms of your career?

LC – For me success is being able to do what I love everyday of my life. Music is in my blood and if I can be able to play music everyday, touch people’s hearts with my songs and make a living… that is true success for me.

SMC – We have seen that you play acoustic guitar in some of your Facebook Live videos. Have you always created your new music on the guitar or is there any other instruments that you play?

LC – When I write, I start with the guitar. Once I find a chord progression I like I will start coming up with lyrics. I mainly stick to my guitar but I also move to the piano if I’m looking for a different vibe! I dabble on the drums a little bit as well, just enough to do a sick drum solo in my Madison Square Garden concert!

SMC – What are your thoughts on being in the running for Artist of the Year with only one other female?

LC – Girl Power! To be honest it I don’t even really think about that, I think great music is great music and I’m just happy for the opportunity to be in that mix of talented artists.

SMC – What do you feel is the benefit that Artists receive when they run for competitions like our Artist of the Month?

LC – I think that artists work very hard to do what they love, and to be acknowledged for that is an incredible feeling. It’s important to me as well to expand my audience base and get my music out to as many new people as possible. Artist of the Month has been an incredible platform for doing that, so thank you once again.

SMC – What is your favorite song off your EP?

LC – What Does She Do! It is so fun to perform and the lyrics really hit home. I love when silly boys give me great reasons to write great songs 🙂

SMC – Can you tell us what kind of feedback you have received when your EP launched in terms of your peers, music industry in general and your fans?

LC – There was so much positive feedback, from St. Albert all the way out to Nashville. Of course, a lot of my fans and friends were curious about the name change from my real name to my stage name, Lia Cole, but at the end of the day, they realize that’s it’s still just me, doing my thing and making the best music I can. And now that they’re used to it, they LOVE the new stage name.

SMC – What is your favorite venue to perform at in Edmonton?

LC – I absolutely love the Needle!! They’ve been so supportive of my showcases and music video shoots, and super easy to work with.  Plus, the food is amazing! I love the atmosphere in there and everyone is there for the love of music. I also love turning different type of venues into really cool showcase opportunities, places where you might not necessarily think you would see a live show there. I’m planning something like this for my summer showcase, you’ll have to stay tuned to find out more about that!

SMC – What has been the Radio response to your music? Have you already been granted Radio Play?

LC – I’ve been focused on online releases. I want to be able to release music and videos to my fans as much as possible, and social media has been such an awesome medium for doing that. Once my new record is produced this year, I’ll be looking a bit harder at marketing grants so I can really focus on radio tracking properly. I want to make sure I’m taking the right steps, at the right time.

SMC – Who is responsible for the production of the music videos you have created? They are brilliant!

LC – I work with PlanIt Sound! They are a local marketing agency helping me with my overall branding and creative direction as an artist. They specialize in audio branding and high quality video production, and the videos they’ve produced for me have been getting so much traction and great feedback online. I love working with them, it is so much fun.

SMC – What is the biggest compliment you have been given in terms of your music or performances?

LC – When I was in Nashville I had the opportunity to meet and sing for the head publisher at Universal Music. She told me that I have what it takes to make it. That was one of the most exciting moments of my life!

SMC – Do you have any tours lined up for 2017?

LC – I’ll be headlining my own summer showcase with special guests in August. We’ve also got a huge concert announcement and even bigger tour announcement coming very soon 🙂

SMC – What has the family support been like for your career so far?

LC – They have always been there for me since day one and I am so thankful for them and everything they do for me! Sometimes when we’re sitting at home, they don’t care to hear my new songs because they hear me sing ALL THE TIME in the house. I have to remind myself when that happens that they might not want to hear me sing every second of the day, but only my family will be there for me at the beginning of the show, and the end of the show, helping me setup and tear down. I can count on them no matter what happens, and that means everything to me.

SMC – Have you had any negative experiences with the Music Industry at all?

LC – No negative experiences at all from the music industry, but there are always “negative nellies” on social media. I just feel like when you do something worth looking at, you’re gonna have people saying negative things. So, I’m proud to say that yes, I have had a few negative comments on social media already!

SMC – What have been the most positive experiences with the music industry to date?

LC – The most positive one would have been meeting the head publisher at Universal Music! She gave me amazing feed back and really made me feel like if I work hard enough I can achieve anything!

SMC – In terms of media platforms, which ones would you like to give a shout out to for supporting your music?

LC – CTV, Global, CITY TV, CJSR, Nait Radio, Dinner Television, St. Albert Gazette and of course Starlight Music Chronicles 😉

SMC – Are there any organizations or charities you have plans to work with in the near future?

LC – I wrote and performed the theme song for the Glenrose’s Courage Gala campaign video again this year, and will be performing for their 800-guest sold out crowd on April 21. I’ve also been a top 5 artists for the My United Way Voice contest, a singing competition that helps fight poverty in our region, and I plan to submit for this year again as well.

SMC – We LOVE your new EP – which is your favorite song on it and why?

LC – What Does She Do – see above answer

SMC – What do you hope to inspire the next generation of Musicians/Artists with through your Music Journey?

LC – I just want them to know that if music is their passion then never stop. Follow your heart and work hard! Anything is possible. Dream big, and be anything you want to be 😉

SMC – We are affiliated (Media Ambassadors) for ArtistMax in Los Angeles. Have you had a chance to check out what that is all about yet? Our winning Artist of the Year will be awarded with a VIP Scholarship to the organizations three-day weekend which is a mentorship program hosted by award winning Producer Ken Caillat (Fleetwood Mac), and his daughter, Grammy Award WINNING Colbie Caillat.

LC – Yes! It would be a dream come true to have an opportunity like this, and I’m so excited and grateful. Thank you!

SMC – Final Question: Do you feel you are at an advantage winning AOM so close to our Artist of the Year event in June? If so, why?

LC – I hope so, I’ll take any advantage I can get! It might be an advantage to be top of mind so close to the June event, but I think it will come down to great music and who’s fans step up to the plate to support. At the end of the day, I’m honoured to be in the mix of these talented artists.

SMC – Thank you Lia! We look forward to seeing you in the running for our Artist of the Year competition I June 2017!

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Lia Cole Social Media Links:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

SoundCloud

Instagram

iTunes

YouTube