In November of 2010, I played the worst show in the history of shows. I'm sure many performing artists have played shows that we're not happy with, but at that time, I wasn't a performing artist. I wasn't a songwriter. I worked on the other side of the business, running LAMA, and enjoying that life.
Let's rewind a couple of weeks. It was October, and I was asked to play some songs at a fundraiser for the Stephen Lewis Foundation's "A Dare to Remember" campaign. Given the cause, I decided - the day before - to dare myself to write and perform a song at the event. The result was a song called "Raincoat".
A friend heard me play that night, and asked me to play a show a couple of weeks later. Cue the worst show in the history of shows. I wanted to be off stage within thirty seconds of being on it. I struggled through that half hour, then came home and told myself I was happy on the other side of the business, and that I didn't need to play guitar or sing anymore, especially in public.
The next night, I went to see the Good Lovelies in concert. They were brilliant, and they inspired me. Caroline (one of the Lovelies) had a new guitar, which I asked her about after the show. She promptly took me back to the stage and let me I pluck a few notes. With those notes, I made a decision, and phoned my friend Andrew Noakowski the next day to book time with him in the studio that February to record the album I was about to start writing.
I released (HopeFull) in April of 2011. That record gave me the opportunity to tour Canada as a singer-songwriter, to share the stage with people I look up to as artists and people, to develop a program called "Smile for Change" that uses my songs to talk to kids in schools about how they have the power to change the world, to play my first major festival this past summer, and finally, just a couple of weeks ago, to play guitar and sing with D.O. for his showcase at Midem in Cannes, France, my first time playing music outside of Canada.
To be able to make a go of music, it takes hard work, dedication, and a few lucky breaks along the way. I've been fortunate to get some of those breaks really early in my career. I'm always going to work hard, and one of these days, I'll show better dedication to myself as an artist, but I'll never take anything for granted, and I'll especially be forever grateful to Caroline and the Good Lovelies for their kindness and inspiration. Had it not been for that November night in 2010, I would have been on a different path that may not have included ever writing another song, or playing for an audience.
I had the chance this past weekend to thank Caroline and the Good Lovelies in person for the first time since that night. I don't know what it was like for her to hear this story, but I was really happy to be able to tell it to her, and happy to share it with you today.