A Chat with Sarah Smith


Photo by 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 Tim Steinruck


I recently had the pleasure of sitting down for a chat with The Mighty One’s front man, Tim Steinruck, and a great chat it was.

We started our conversation with a reference to a recent live interview on Kat Power Hits Radio, available at www.thedonpearsestudios.com . In that interview, I noted that I had been intrigued with his musical beginnings in Northern British Columbia. In adding to that I asked whether he had been self taught or did he have a music teacher.

He mentioned that he was totally self taught, except for some piano lessons. He elaborated, saying he basically cheated through his lessons as he was more comfortable learning by ear without wanting to learn the technical side of music. He’d bring his assignments home and have his father play it on the piano. He said he’d watch the keys he played and learned it that way. He always failed the technical exams but passed the performance side of the courses with flying colours.

Moving on, we started talking about how he moved into the world of music. His first band was formed in Fort St. John, B.C.. The band’s name was Black Gold, named after the oil & gas industry that is a major industry in the area. This happened when he was in grade 8. They played songs like The Cars tune “Just What I Needed”. The first song he learned to play on guitar was by Prism, “Take Me To The Captain”.

I then asked a question about something I’d noticed about the band’s name, TheMightyOne. Why no spaces? After a bit of a laugh, he answered with, the name was recently changed to The Mighty One because it was basically unsearchable on Google without the spaces. Good point Tim.

My next question is one I always ask. Who is your favourite musician? This is one I ask for myself (and the reader) as who better to ask that question of than another musician. It can lead you into something you’ve never been into before. He answered with his most influential being Van Halen, citing that he first heard them in school, in his classroom on one of those multiple headphone thingies that were in schools in the past. Eddie blew him away. His favourite musician, Dave Grohl, no argument there. He also mentioned Mammoth WVH, a band formed by Eddie Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang. I’ll be checking them out shortly. One thing I did not know was that it was named after his father’s first band.

We carried on and I found out that the best thing about what he does is that he is living a life of purpose. He went on to emphasize the importance of creating a legacy. Everybody has a skill and asked what the legacy is I wanted to leave behind. Very profound, I stopped for a minute as my brain digested what he was saying. I tried relating what he was saying to what we have accomplished, and it left me with some things to think on. I’m sure we need a follow-up just on this point alone.

We then got into what’s coming up for him and the band. It looks like he will be quite busy over the next while. He is participating in the Rise Up tour on Vancouver Island later this month. There will also be a spring tour in the USA and Mexico.

He is touring Norway with Viking Queen.This will be filmed by Norwegian TV and will become a documentary.Interesting story, he hooked up with them through a radio station in New Zealand. The power of the digital world and the opportunities for collaboration it presents are incredible. The Mighty One has also recorded a Christmas song in partnership with Viking Queen. The video of “Christmas In The North” is available to view below.

And to finish up, we talked about The Mighty One’s latest release, “Torch Of Rock And Roll”. A great album, one that has become an earbud mainstay for me. The title track is great and is an autobiographical tune of Tim’s life in music. The video for this is also available below.

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.

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/

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Song Of The Day – Tegan And Sara – “I Was A Fool”


English: Tegan and Sara performing at the Pola...
English: Tegan and Sara performing at the Polaris Music Prize Gala 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Song Of The Day didn’t have to go far for this one.  Tegan and Sara formed right here in Calgary back in 1995 and have had major success with their indie style music.  This song, “I Was a Fool” is from their latest album “Heartthrob”, which was released earlier this year.  I have chosen a live performance for you to enjoy.  An absolutely terrific tune.

Tegan and Sara Home

Tegan and Sara on iTunes

Tegan and Sara on Amazon

More Tegan and Sara on CBC Music

Random Songs From My Phone – Feist – “I Feel It All”


Canadian singer-songwriter Leslie Feist plays ...
Canadian singer-songwriter Leslie Feist plays The Filmore in San Francisco. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

In case you hadn’t noticed, my iPhone is full of Canadian artists and Feist is one of them. Calgary‘s own Leslie Feist had a major hit back in 2007 with her album “The Reminder“.  It contained her major hit “1234” which had a life of its own after being used in an Apple iPod Nano commercial and on Sesame Street.  I mean, how big are you when you get to sing a duet with Elmo.  Feist has also got an extensive filmography and is also a regular member of the indie group “Broken Social Scene”, who are also worth a listen.  This song, “I Feel It All”, was also on the album and received extensive airplay in Canada.  It was also featured in the movie “The Accidental Husband”.  Great album.  Great song.

 

 

Song Of The Day – Grouplove – Tongue Tied


Never Trust A Happy Song
Never Trust A Happy Song (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Lets go with a bit of an oldie (2011), Grouplove and their hit, Tongue Tied.  Great song, very interesting video.  The song comes from their only album to date “Never Trust A Happy Song”.  They are an indie group, based in NYC.  The NYC sound is becoming very familiar to my tastes of late.

 

Grouplove Home

 

Grouplove on YouTube

 

Grouplove on iTunes

 

Grouplove on Amazon

 

 

Song Of The Day – Wilco – “I Might”


Wilco at Austin City Limits Fest Sep 2004
Wilco at Austin City Limits Fest Sep 2004 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chicago based Wilco performed this song “I Might” on Letterman a few years back.  Together since 1994, they might be the best to never hit major mainstream success. This is not to say the have not been successful.  The have had some number 1’s, and might be, as Rolling Stone once said. America’s most consistently interesting band.  They have also been labelled as the Radiohead of the USA.  They keep putting em out, and we keep listening.

Song Of The Day – The Reason – “Drive Me Home”


Canadian rock band The Reason performing at th...
Canadian rock band The Reason performing at the Burlington Sound of Music Festival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some Canadian talent today.  The Reason are out of Hamilton, Ontario and have been around since 2003.  This song, “Drive Me Home” is from their recently released EP “Hollow Tree”.  The band is an indie group with punk roots.  This tune caught my attention on that infamous evening drive home (pun intended), where I catch a good chunk of my new music via Rich Terfry (aka Buck 65) on CBC Radio 2.  Very catchy song with a good chorus.

The Reason Home Page

The Reason on CBC3

The Reason on iTunes

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