Acoustically the ACC was actually a good venue for the Canadian Tenors performance. It helped boost their voices without an echo, which is important when paying tribute to Elvis Presley and Luciano Pavarotti in a mash-up described as combining “peanut butter and chocolate.” The Tenors are one of those groups who are that much better live. They were relaxed on stage and the whole concert felt very easy going, like we were invited to their homes and someone happened to start playing the piano and guitar (which they can all do) and a concert broke out. Concert goers were also treated to home videos, stories of their families and the community work they do abroad. It was more social than any concert I’ve been to.
I’m not sure if they knew I was in the audience but two of my favourite things happened. First, they sang my favourite Queen song “Who Wants to Live Forever?” and then they closed the show with an a cappella version of “Hallelujah.” What more can I say. It was an amazing experience.
And as if the concert experience wasn’t enough good news, I was also able to interview the guys. Really nice, humble guys.
TheSceneInTo: You’ve toured a lot and given the chance, what’s the one thing you wished someone had told you while starting out? Any life lessons from the road?
Early on in life I wish someone had told me that to be a master at any craft you need your 10,000 hours. I would’ve put absolute focus and commitment into one thing earlier on in life. Perfect practice makes perfect.
Tell your parents you love them early and often.
TheSceneInTo: Where does your inspiration for music come from? Do you lock yourself up until the ideas flow or is there a method you work through?
With four different singers in the group, you can imagine there are some very wide ranging influences and important personal mentors as well! Early on we experienced everything from singing in church and gospel choirs to musical theatre and jamming around the campfire. We also studied voice and instruments classically in university but also wrote music and played in rock bands!
With that brings influences from Mario Lanza, Maria Callas and Pavarotti on the classical side to Freddie Mercury, Bob Dylan and Stevie Wonder among many others!
When it comes to song writing we all have a different approach. Some of us like to work in groups of three or two. Sometimes inspiration comes when we are alone with just a guitar or piano and our thoughts. The foundation is created and then we bring the song back to the group to ‘Tenorize’ it. We also enjoy writing with other highly successful songwriters. Sometimes it’s the lyrics first sometimes it’s the music first. We try not to put limits on where we find our inspiration or how it comes to us. We do however listen to our audience and understand the message and a type of music that resonates with our core Fanbase.
TheSceneInTo: It’s amazing to see the amount of Canadian talent within the global music scene. What do you think makes Canadian talent stand out?
I think Canadian musicians stand out because Canada is the perfect environment to grow talented, committed and supported musicians.
Obviously Canada, like many countries, is proud of their rich musical heritage and supportive of their developing and globally recognized artists. There are, however, many factors that play into the disproportionate success of Canadian musicians worldwide and particularly in the American music scene, which is the centre of the modern musical world.
First of all, Canadian musicians are supported by their government. There are many programs like CMF, CRTC, Factor, subsidized post-secondary education, music scholarships, MusicAction, etc. that give funding, tax credits and other financial breaks to aspiring musicians.
Secondly, I also feel that Canadians don’t rely on the “star-making machine” that the United States has. Therefore we put more emphasis on talent. We have to work twice as hard to get the same recognition.
Thirdly, Canada is serious about its music programs in university and grade school; making music class available in almost every institution. Also, every major city has a symphony orchestra. It’s like a shining beacon announcing the city’s pride in its musical excellence. Furthermore, Canada is a melting pot of cultures, customs and influences from around the world strengthening the musical landscape.
In addition, I believe Canadians as a whole have the “little brother or “underdog” mentality in comparison to the United States. This could, in fact, make an artist work harder, knowing instinctively that nothing will be given to them. This combined with the simple fact that we look, act and sound the same as Americans accept for the odd ‘eh’ and ‘aboot’, help us break into the American music scene relatively unnoticed as Canadian. We are not seen as outsiders. Moreover, we are right next door. We don’t need to take a 737 to tour the U.S. All you need is a clean record and a functioning vehicle with good storage space.
All these factors combined with the long winters, forcing us to stay indoors and practice, add to why Canadians stand out in the music industry. It is the combination of many factors that creates the rich soil to grow strong, resilient and nurtured musician.
TheSceneInTo: Who’s on your current playlist? Anyone in particular you’re keeping your eye on?
- This River. Very touching and hauntingly truthful song that came my way the other day.
- Artist: JJ Grey & Mofro and their song: ‘This River’ featuring Danny Aiello
- With a single, dreamy SoundCloud upload, Ryn Weaver became the pop star to watch over the summer. Listen To This: Ryn Weaver, “OctaHate”
- @Liinks is a young Canadian duo out of Victoria BC. Hot new sound about to ‘break’ into the scene. https://m.soundcloud.com/liinks/the-break
- Check out Alessia Cara’s song ‘Here’. Bet you didn’t know she’s Canadian.
- If you like through back R&B with a Buble vibe Check out Sean Jones new album ‘Waiting for Midnight’.
- Karli Bortolotto is a young country pop artist ready to release her debut this year. @karliBortolotto
TheSceneInTo: What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you while touring or performing?
The tenors missed a flight heading to a David Foster and friend’s tour. Our bags didn’t make it in time and Fraser and Victor had no shoes for the performance. Fraser borrowed Peter Cetera’s shoes and Victor was not so lucky but managed to talk the soundman out of his steel toe worker boots.
Back in the early days Victor did a whole set in an intimate church performance sitting on a stool not realizing his inseam in his pants had ripped and his tighty whities where the highlight of the act.
We were visiting Kenya for Free the children and performing outdoors around a campfire in the jungle with other artists like Demi Levato and a girls’ choir from Algeria. As we started singing hallelujah a cappella the Bush Baby’s (nocturnal primates) starting chirping and wailing from the dark of the jungle. If one listened close enough you might think they were doing a little call and answer.
TheSceneInTo: What’s next on your to-do list? Any collaborations, new albums, tour dates?
We are just getting started with this Under One Sky tour. We are taking it back around North America for a second tour and then off to Europe and Asia. We are excited to bring this music around the world.
We have a brand new Christmas single coming out called ‘When We Are Together’. We just filmed a touching and uplifting music video for it; very excited to share it.
We have a few collaborations that are in the works for recording and touring but we are not ready to release quite yet.