PA ~ When did you take up your artistry and how long have you been involved with it?
I began to be actively interested in music when I was a pre-teen. We lived in Portugal and the first music I heard was the traditional music from there called the Fado. My parents tried to encourage this interest by getting me music lessons, but that didn't really work too well. Being of an unstructured personality type, I didn't adapt well to the teaching methods at the Royal Conservatory .... However, that didn't dampen my interest in music. My friends and I entered various competitions on the radio to do "covers" of various groups. We chose the BeachBoys and Elvis. That was a lot of fun. I'm sure we sounded awful, but it was a big thrill to hear ourselves on the radio ..... When I left home, I went to London, England. There, went to lots of cafe scenes and I became involved in songwriter circles and again tried to learn to play the guitar. I learned enough chords to muddle along. I began seriously writing songs in the 80s and finally began recording in 2000, after taking jazz vocal lessons for a couple of years.
PA ~ Musically, how would you describe your sound/genre?
A potpourri of blues, jazz, folk, country and world....my vocal style has been compared variously to Blossom Dearie, Norah Jones, Bonnie Rait and Betty Carter!
PA ~ What gravitated you toward your artistic work?
Listening to great artists such as Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald, Amalia Rodrigues, Stan Getz, Carlos Jobim, the Beach Boys, the Beatles, Billy Joel, Bonnie Rait, Joni MItchell, Johnny Cash, Gordon Lightfoot, Hank Snow, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams, Steely Dan.
PA ~ Who are you influenced by?
Basically anything that I listen to - music of the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s - up to and including whatever is current. You have to keep your ears open and listen to what makes a hit song, as well as what makes certain music particularly agreeable to you.
PA ~ I understand you have a CD called "Shady Blues", what is the listener in store for?
Shady Blues is a collection of mostly Bluesy/jazzy songs. There are a couple of really jazzy pieces - Siren Song and Shady Rosy - Jazzy Version. All but three are original, all but one has my vocals. The three exceptions were internet collaborations with three different U.S. based artists.
PA ~ How is the CD being received?
Very well. The reviews are positive.
PA ~ Do you have a favorite composition on the CD ?
Shady Rosy - Jazzy Version. This song was originally written by Charlie Solack in the '80s and was a rock/dance style song. Charlie wanted to have a new version, and I recorded the song in a slow and Jazzy style with a Steely Dan feel to it. Charlie loved my version and so, Shady Rosy-Jazzy version was born.
PA ~ Will you be touring to promote "Shady Blues" ?
No. At my ripe old age touring is right out ;-)
PA ~ Any other projects or follow ups in the works presently?
Yes. A country CD which will be called "Shady Country Lanes", and another Blues CD....
PA ~ Do you perform solo or normally with a group?
Usually with my Bass player, Tony Laviola, but if the chance arises, with a wonderful local horn band, called The Meteors. The Meteors' guitar player, Tim Johns, is who recorded all the guitar licks on Shady Blues.
PA ~ Any performances coming up you'd like to plug?
My open stage. This is a project dear to my heart. It's called The Outrageous Open Stage, and I try to hold it every other Saturday afternoon. the last one in 2005 takes place this coming Saturday - December 17 and I am performing a Christmas play I wrote a few years ago called Santa and the Three Hoods.
PA ~ What would someone expect attending one of your shows?
A lot of fun, some good singing, catchy songs, and excellent playing.
PA ~ Do you perform outside of your hometown?
Not normally .... I guess I would if the payment was decent ;-)
PA ~ During your artistic journey so far, any interesting (funny, bizarre, highlight, nightmare etc...) stories come to mind you'd like to share with us?
One really bad thing that happened was when I had lined up a pre-jazz festival gig, with the whole band to be there. Then my bass player called 1 hour before and announced he couldn't make it, because he had to help his girl friend move in. I was livid. However, I told him (calmly) not to worry since I would call and get a replacement. ... He seemed surprised that I would do such a thing .... I did in fact call around and lined up two other bass players, but didn't have to hire anyone, because Alfred showed up - flustered and annoyed, but with bass in hand. Then there was the time I was helping an artist with his CD release promotion. We had agreed upon a fair price for the work, and he had paid half. When the project was done, and it was time for him to pay me the balance, he asked me if I would consider taking an electric guitar in lieu of money. At that time I had some misconceived idea I would learn to play electric, and I said yes. When he gave the guitar to me I thought it looked sort of ratty, but said nothing. I took it to our local music store for evaluation and learned it was more than just ratty - it was worth about $25.00 at best. I had been led to believe this instrument was worth about $700. So, I waited until the next time I saw him and his band, and handed him back the guitar saying "Gee, I think whoever sold you this guitar ripped you off - its top value is only $25.00, so I can't accept as payment." He stood there with his mouth open ..... then I said "by the way, that bill was due last week, so I will need you to get me a certified cheque for the balance this week" He continued to stand there dumfounded. The next day I had my attorney send him a 72 hour notice which stated that either he provide the certified cheque for the balance, or we would put a lien on his house. He did get the money to me within our time limit, but it was ages before he would get over it. Apparently this guy is well known for his sleazy business ethics and this was the first time he'd been trumped!.
PA ~ Give us your thoughts on the indie music scene good and not so good.
On the plus side - Right now I think that we have a very active indie music scene. On the plus side there are better recording options available on your home computer, it is no longer necessary to get a label to sign you in order to come out with a CD, and the internet. With the ability to record your own material, thus by-passing expensive studios, and other related expenses, you can afford to produce your own music. You can also produce the artwork for your CD cover with fairly basic graphics tools which are inexpensive to acquire. Because you can record fairly inexpensively, and because there are now many places that will do "short-run" CDs, you can actually make hard copies of your CD and have it at gigs to sell. And finally, the internet opens the door for you to promote your music on-line all over the world. There are many opportunities for you to get free sites where you can store your MP3s, and several major on-line indie CD retailers if you decide you want to sell over the 'net. On the negative side - Although there is excellent software available for you to do home recordings - it is not always a good plan to do so. You really have to know your stuff and understand the art of engineering - otherwise you can produce something which is substandard and will not stand up, for example, to "real" radio play. It's important to have someone other than yourself listen to the project - it's not always possible for an artist to be properly self-critical. Just because you CAN produce your own CD doesn't mean you should. And while its true that you can bypass getting signed to a label, and still get your music out there, and use the internet to promote ..... Promotion on the internet is just as labour intensive as promotion by normal means. So the Internet is not a magic bullet. Unfortunately, many indie artists get excited by the concept of the 'net, and they waste money getting a domain and a flashy site, which they never promote properly - big waste of cash.
PA ~ How is the artistic scene in /("Toronto/) evolving?
Pretty lively. There are many live music venues, lots of jams and quite a few open stages. there are also tons of indie musicians out there, vying for space, so venues can take their pick ...
PA ~ What has the highlight of your career been?
Being featured and playing the Distillery Fringe Jazz Festival 3 years ago! >
PA ~ What are some goals you hope to accomplish in the future?
I would like to write at least another 75 songs, and produce several more CDs.
PA ~ What are your other interests outside of songwriting?
I love to paint. I am mainly an abstract artist, and I like to use Acrylic as well as multimedia. I am also interested in photography, and computer art. Pets, small animal care, holistic medicine, and herbs and herbal medicine. Garden design and being a webmaster.
PA ~ What was the best piece of advice you ever heard that motivates you > in pursuit of your artistry?
Follow your heart.
PA ~ Where can someone find out more about Louise Peacock (aka) Kid Wezel ?