Tag Archives: Independent Music

A Chat With Maddisun

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Cranbrook, British Columbia artist, Maddisun. She is a hard-working independent artist with a future in this business.


Having said that, we began our chat with a question about her beginnings in the musical world. Growing up, she played with her father, and her aunts were country singers. Her parents enrolled her at the Royal Conservatory where she competed grade 7 on piano when she was 18. She also learned to produce music at Mount Baker Secondary in Cranbrook.


Her music is inspired by travel and has also been influenced by those journeys. At one point she was traveling and living in Ireland and Europe and, CoVid willing, she will be doing so again this spring. Upon her return from those travels, she wrote a bunch of songs.


Maddisun describes her music as inspiring feelgood soul style. She considers it to be genre bending, with a mix of soul, pop and folk prevalent in what I’ve listened to. The phrase East Kootenay sound was mentioned, a good description.


Her likes in music are varied, ranging from Blondie to surf rock and folk. While living in Europe she also developed a love for soul and electronic music. These have also been incorporated into her sound.
Besides her musical evolution in Ireland, she has also found the ideal studio. Sincerity Sound Studios is in Winlaw, British Columbia and is off the grid, no internet. Her album, Self Reflections was recorded there, produced by Barry Jones. The location offers minimal distraction and full concentration on the task in progress.


As an independent artist, she has worked hard to market herself, as well as establishing her brand. During the CoVid lockdowns, she has live streamed on a regular basis and taken advantage of every possible live performance she can find.


I asked what she would give out as advice to other artists. The response was, refine your brand. Get involved in your logo, your colors, your message. Apply for funding through whatever programs are available. Market yourself to the locally and beyond. Maddisun is a 1-person dynamo when it comes to this. Her website sticks to her brand. There is an online shop with Maddisun merchandise, links to all her social media and streaming sites, and the website is very professional.

In that vein, she has applied for a grant from the Creative B.C. to cover the recording of a new album. The songs are ready to go but cannot be released until the grant is approved or denied.In the meantime, she is touring the area with her band and/or solo. She is also working on some collaborations. She mentioned another artist, Tenise Marie, with who she has developed a friendship with. Together they released “Something True” in 2021. This tune is “almost” country in it’s vibe but holds true to her genre bending sound. The harmonies are excellent. Matt Kelly from City and Colour played pedal steel on the tune.


I thoroughly enjoyed our chat and look forward to her new album when released. She has given me a different perspective on independent music and the work involved in getting out there to be heard.


Please support your local independent artists. Here is a link to her online shop.
Maddisun Music

A Chat with Sarah Smith

Photo bu Cheryl Mazak

Today, we chat with singer, songwriter, player, Sarah Smith. Her online bio speaks to her openness at a very deeply personal level. This comes through in her songs, especially on her latest album, “Unveiling”.


We started talking about her beginnings. Sarah’s parents were involved in their church. Her mother sang solo in the choir and her father was also a country guitarist. In her childhood, she performed in the choir and sang solo. As a teen she received a guitar as a Christmas gift. This was life changing for Sarah as she now had a vessel to pour emotions into. It opened her up to song writing and a wider spectrum of music.


I asked if she had ever mentored or taught music in the past. Sarah has taught in the past, mainly during her mohawk days. She also attends a yearly music camp with kids in Ontario as a vocal coach. She loves this as the kids move from shyness at the beginning of the camp to belting out the songs as they get comfortable with themselves.


Her first band before going solo was The Joys. Originally named Popjoy, they released an EP (as Popjoy) and 4 albums and a single as The Joys. They are all available at the regular sites, I found them on Apple Music. The band itself was around for 10 years and started as a pop punk cover band, including mohawk hair. When the name changed, they started playing rock.


After The Joys, Sarah began her career as a solo artist. To date she has released 5 studio albums and many stand-alone singles and videos. She describes her musical genre as singer-songwriter rock. A very good description. Her influences and favourite bands include Melissa Etheridge, Bryan Adams, The Cars, Weezer, Sheryl Crow, Pink, Michael Jackson, The Killers and Brandi Carlile.


Sarah has also shared the stage with notably, Carole Pope, Sass Jordan, Biff Naked, Emm Gryner, Joel Plaskett and many others. She recently was one of the acts on the Melissa Etheridge Cruise in early September of 2021. She was on board with 20 fans and loved the interaction she had on a personal level with these people. It was quite an opportunity.


I asked if she had any tours planned for the near future. She will be spending the near future practicing her craft, writing, and finding happiness.


We then talked about any collaborations that are on the horizon. She has reached out to Adam Dobres about trying to work together on some songs. Sarah also reached out to Deni Gauthier about writing some music. She also works with fans to convert poems into songs and is currently working on 6 of those.


We then talked about regrets, or anything she would like to do over. Her number 1 is relationships, Sarah does not want to regret not creating or maintaining relationships.We then chatted about what kind of advice she would give to other artists starting out. Sarah was very profound in her response. If you have a block, look into your demons. She did that 5 years ago and the results have been astounding.


She is also working on a song for a friend as a legacy. She recently heard that her friend was passing and decided to write her a song.


Another friend of hers lost her mother. Her father wanted to join her mother and Sarah wrote a song for her friend about how she had dealt with it. Her friend and family were coming to stay with Sarah and listen to the song.


This is the emotional side of Sarah that shows up in every piece of music she creates. Her album “Unveiling” was written during a marriage break up and was recorded off the floor. The songs were written in pain. The result is a great album. The album is available to buy at her site, which I encourage you to do, or available at all the regular places.


Kat Power Hits Radio is featuring this album all week as Sarah Smith is the feature artist of the week.

A Chat With Betty Moon

Betty Moon

Today I chat with Betty Moon.  She is an accomplished artist, originally from Toronto, now living in Los Angeles, who has been recording since the 1980’s.  The interview celebrates the arrive of her 11th studio album, “Cosmicoma”.  Her first recording, in 1986, was while with her band Bambi.  This led to a recording contract with A&M Records, where she released a debut, self titled album in 1991.

We were unable to link up via phone, so I forwarded some questions via email.  Without further adieu, here are the questions and the responses.

What brought you into a music career.  

I was raised in a family that had music in their blood, and we happened to have a recording studio on the property so the odds were definitely in my favor. I say kids either go one way or another when following what their parents were involved with, and the music bug bit me pretty early. As a teen I had a pretty successful band in Toronto and that led to a solo career with major and independent labels. Over recent years I have been releasing music on my own label, Evolver Music Inc.

Where was your first live performance?  How did it go?

My first show was in a photo/film studio on Valentines Day  in Toronto called United Studios  that is no longer around. As anyone would expect, it was terrifying yet exciting, full of glitches, good times and it set my world ablaze with passion for live music. Once you are holding the mic and you get that feedback from a crowd, you never look back.

You’ve had a very productive career, is there anything you would change?

Well, hindsight is always 20/20 but I would have got further on the streaming and vinyl trains earlier on if I knew it was going to be the driving force of today’s era. I don’t really have any regrets though, I’ve done some amazing things throughout my career and have much on the schedule for 2022. 

You have had several songs on TV and movie soundtracks.  How does that feel?

It’s a bit surreal to hear your music in a TV show or on a feature film for sure. I think just having it blended within a movie gives you an appreciation for how important music is to film, and having the marketing opportunity to have my music in these spots is amazing. Plus, sometimes these placements pay pretty well and it’s nice to make a return in different ways for the music you create. 

How would you describe your music?

I would say it’s my own unique twist on rock n’ roll. At the root of it, I am a rock artist and inject different genres and inspiration into an album and that can vary year to year. I’m not following trends, and if anything I like to carve my own path and make sure I do things my way. A lot of my music can have touches of soul, funk, electronic and even pop.

Inspirations?

Other types of music and artists are only part of my inspiration musically. It’s really about my environment, stories, nights on the town and thinking inward that gets the creative juices flowing. Sure, I have favorite artists from my youth that drive ideas indirectly, but I think it’s more about my surroundings and happenings in life that inspire each song I create.

Have you ever taught music or mentored up and coming acts?

Over the years I have worked with different emerging artists in the industry. I’ve done panels at industry events, worked in the studio with other artists, co-wrote with younger and older musicians and more. It would be fun to teach a class online or do a sort of masterclass at some point, as I have a lot of experience and insight that others may appreciate.

What’s next for Betty Moon?  Tours, collaborations?

I’m currently in the studio working on my next album, and you never know who may appear on the record. These new songs are sounding killer, and I think it’ll be my best work to date.

We at Kat Power Hit Radio strive to promote independent labels and artists, and I strongly promote the same.  Tell us about Evolver Music, it’s goals and some of the artists signed with the label?  

I started Evolver Music originally as a company to fully release and publish my own content and albums. From music videos to artwork, 99% of the magic happens in-house and it’s nice to take back the power when so many artists think of getting a ‘record deal’ as the magic bullet.

To stream her latest album, please click below.

If you would like to see more about Betty Moon, please click on the links below:

http://bettymoon.com/

Instagram

Facebook

A Chat with Dan Washburn

I sat down (kind of, we were both sitting, just in different provinces) with the very talented singer, songwriter and player Dan Washburn. Dan is releasing a new single on October 25th titled “I’d Rather”. You will love it. My compatriot Don Pearse will have Dan on his show on Kat Country Radio on October 21st at 2:00 Mountain, 4:00 Eastern time. To listen in, you find the station at www.thedonpearsestudios.com Just press the Listen Here button.

Put simply, Dan is a pro. He’s been doing this for a while. Dan started playing guitar at 7 years old, wrote his first song at 10 and became a regular on bass for his first band at 13. Since then he has credits on over 200 albums and has shared the stage with artists such as George Fox, Colleen Peterson, Emmy-Lou Harris (love her) Waylon Jennings, Toby Keith and many others. An outstanding career to date. The interview with Don will be a must listen.

Back to our conversation. We spoke at length on a multitude of subjects. One theme that threaded its way through most subjects was his love for independent artists and the struggles in getting heard. One comment stood out, I’ll paraphrase. As in everything, the independents artist pool contains poor, mediocre, good and top level talents. Program directors will playlist a mediocre tune from an established artist (read on a label) and won’t give the same consideration to a great song from a top level independent.

I have to agree, as I’ve seen this in covering many independent artists. A song is amazing from someone on Twitter or Instagram etc., I’ll download it from a streaming site, and the only time I’ll ever hear it is if comes up randomly or I purposely queue it up. I 100% agree with him on this one. This is completely unfair and stifles talent, not to mention it cheats you and me from hearing some outstanding records.

On that topic, we went into who he listens to and who would he recommend I listen to (I’m a recent Country Music listener). His list was, as expected, varied and full of talented performers. I have just begun to go through their catalogues and he is bang on. The first name that I checked in on is an outstanding talent. Her name is Suzi Kory, and you can find her on YouTube. You will hear more from me on her and all the others as well. Thanks Dan for that.

I asked if there were any tours upcoming. Unfortunately nothing close, unless you live close to Ireland. He is heading out on tour there shortly.

As a recent country listener, I asked what his favorite songs of his that I should listen to. Based on “I’d Rather” and “Simple Things”, I wanted to dig deeper into his repertoire, and who better to ask than the artist himself. I’ll pass them on, all are available to listen to on Dan’s YouTube channel. First “I’ll Have To Drink About That” is a tongue in cheek tune on relationships. Well written and added to my collection.

Next up is “We Were Almost Love”. A very different song than I’ll Have To Drink. It showcases a softer tone. Very strong in the lyrical sense and well sung. Another great tune.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend you grab his tunes off your streaming site and tune in to Dan with Don on October 21 at 2PM MDT, 4PM EDT for the On Air The Podcast on Kat Country Radio.