Special to The Morning Star
EDITOR’S NOTE: Aniko Forgo is a Kalamalka Secondary School graduate and music enthusiast who interviews local musicians as an ongoing feature for The Morning Star. This final interview features 20 of Forgo’s past interviewees with the exception of Bob Oldfield and Shaughnessy O’Brien who have been added to this final Q&A.
Allen is a singer/songwriter from Vernon. He is well-known for his hits such as Loving you tonight, I want you, and Where did you go, and is due to release his new single Maybe July 28. His live shows are special, and for the past few years, he has done an annual special Christmas show in Vernon.
Q: Who’s been the coolest person that you’ve had the pleasure of writing with?
A: “Oh wow, that’s a tough one. Meghan Trainor was a serious boss when it came to writing — so talented, but I have to say probably Rachel Platten. She worked so hard on her craft, and even in spite of becoming uber famous, she’s still reachable and accessible, and is genuinely a great human. In my books, that’s pretty cool.”
Soucy is a Vernon-based, 18-year-old trumpeter, singer, and drummer. Soucy has been the recipient of numerous outstanding soloist awards and has earned a scholarship from the Vernon Jazz Society.
Q: What music might we find on your iPod?
A: “ Miles Davis, Lee Morgan, Vulfpeck, Hank Mobley, John Coltrane, and Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers.”
Raeber is an established Vernon-based musician and the lead vocalist for Kath and the TomKats. The group plays at a variety of different shows and events in the Okanagan.
Q: Has there ever been a time in your life when you wanted to quit making music?
A: “The thing is about music…it’s in your soul and even if there was a slight inkling to consider quitting what I love to do, a song would still ramble around in my head at all hours of the night to ensure that thought was buried. Being a musician is an honour, and while I may have had a thought or two about wanting to quit over the past 18 years of playing professionally, the music, that is also a part of what defines who I am, would never allow that. So the answer is yes and no.”
Skyy is a hip-hop artist based in Vernon. He currently has two albums out titled Intergalactic and Rainy Days + Peace Signs. Skyy has also recently launched his very own clothing line, easel supply co. His music is very powerful and well written.
Q: Is there a message that you’d like people to be taking from your music?
A: “I strive to deliver an overall message of love throughout everything that I do. Music, like any audio, is vibrations. I set out to create positive vibrations that will hopefully bring a bit of happiness into somebody’s day.”
Wigley is a 14-year-old singer/songwriter from Penticton. He released his first single titled Meteorite July 2016.
Q: When can we expect some new material from you?
A: “No specific dates so far, but I’ve been writing in Nashville almost every month. Also, I’m headed to Toronto to record a new single and to shoot a new music video. But this is going to be a little bit different from the stuff that I’ve done in the past.”
O’Brien is a 16-year-old musician/actor/dancer from Armstrong. She has been singing publicly since the age of four when she had the opportunity to perform the national anthem at a Vernon Vipers game. She also was the second place winner in the Sun FM youth talent competition in 2016.
Q: What was it that sparked your interest in music?
A: “Growing up being surrounded by a family that played music sparked my interest in it. It brought us all together in a really positive way. The joy that I saw music bring to myself and others was why I always wanted it to be a part of my life.”
Copeland is a known blues artist from Vernon. He is a very well respected guitarist who has toured North America and oversees with the late blues legend David “Honeyboy” Edwards.
Q: What do you appreciate the most about your life?
A: “The people that surround me that I love. Especially my children, my wife, and family. Also, the fact that I’m allowed to play guitar while I am here. Happiness, safety, and health.”
Watkins is a talented local photographer/videographer. He has worked with many talented musicians in the Okanagan including Allen, Windmills, Sonreal, and Olivia Penalva. He is known for his unique and creative perspectives that he is able to showcase behind the lens.
Q: When did photography evolve from a hobby to a career?
A: “ The day that I realized photography wasn’t just a hobby was the very first weekend I ever picked up a friend’s big fancy SLR camera back in 2007. As crazy as that sounds, I realized right away that this was what I was going to do for the rest of my days, whether it made me money or not. I’d always been the artistic and creative type growing up, so picking up a decent camera just came so naturally as a creative release. I photographed absolutely everything and everyone I could and I knew that as long as I pushed myself and continued to learn the craft that the money would follow eventually. I’ve never had a plan B and I’ve never given up on my goals. Unfortunately, too many people give up on what they love doing because they aren’t willing to sacrifice and work as hard as they can no matter the circumstances. Photography is my life and my true passion, and I’m just so grateful that I found it.”
/AMISTAD// is an alternative band from Vernon. Comprised of Aidan Andrews, Carson Basset, Craig Matterson, Eli Garlick, and Nolan Basset, //AMISTAD// is destined to make a big name for themselves in the world of music and have a solid fanbase. They released their latest EP Talk Peace to a Wolf in 2016.
Q: How old were you guys when you set foot in a recording studio for the very first time?
A: “We were probably about 12 years old the first time that we got into a recording studio.”
West is a singer-songwriter originally from New Jersey who lives in Kelowna. She released her debut album Beyond Words in 2009, and is also fluent in both French and English. She performed in Quebec as a representative of B.C. July 14 to celebrate Canada’s 150th.
Q: Who or what makes you happy?
A: “My four-month-old son. Becoming a mother is the best thing and the hardest thing that I’ve ever done. I keep music alive by singing songs to him every day.”
Oldfield is a talented and respected professional drummer from Vernon. He has drummed for many well-known musicians including Allen. Oldfield received his very first drum kit at the age of three and began playing live at his parents’ church around age eight. Dan began his professional music career playing in local band Steel.
Q: If you could go back in time and witness any musical historical event, which event would it be and why?
A: “I have a few. The first one would be Jan. 30, 1969 for the Beatles rooftop concert, which was their last public performance ever. The second would be Aug. 15-18, 1969 for Woodstock. Three days of peace and music. The last one would be three months before I was born, July 13, 1985 for Live Aid. So many legendary performances. Queen absolutely destroyed everyone and U2’s performance was legendary. My dad recorded the original broadcast on VHS, which I watched many times when I was growing up.?
Windmills (Cory Myraas) is an insanely talented musician from Vernon. His sound is so unique and different that I can’t actually come up with the right words to describe it. However, he describes himself as a moody, indie swoon-pop troubadour who’s toured the country and played some of Canada’s biggest music festivals, all while creating his unique sound and releasing music that is constantly evolving.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge that you face as a local artist?
A: “I think the biggest challenge anyone will face as a local artist is staying genuine to the entire process. There’s this wonderful evolution of going from those first nervous live shows, to your first album release, first tour, first festival, first big accomplishment. It can be daunting staying genuine to who you were when you started, and more importantly staying genuine to the reasons that you started making noise. At the end of the day, your local community and fan base are the ones who inspire you and push you to keep creating — if you forget that or get caught up in this terrifyingly bizarre world of being a musician, you lose sight of the ones who will always support you and help you grow. Go global, stay humble, and most importantly embrace your local.”
Bob is a singer/songwriter residing in Vernon. He is part of the local band The Creeks, alongside Tim Boulter and Dave Moore.
Q: What’s the best part for you of being in a band rather than being just a solo artist?
A: “We all bring something different to the table, so in the creation process it is a feeling that we can draw from a pool of opinion to shape and hone a song either musically or lyrically. The knowledge that you don’t have to do everything alone is often comforting as we can collectively overcome writer’s block or a musical phrasing and direction. Besides that, being on the road is much more fun with a couple of good friends rather than being alone.”
Lipscomb is a well-known musician and children’s performer in Vernon. She has been performing in the world of music for more than 20 years and has released 13 albums to date, including four albums under both Kiki the Eco Elf and Lili Starr, as well as nine albums under her own name.
Q: What’s something that you wish to accomplish but doubt you will achieve?
A: “I wish that I could somehow help the world find lasting peace. I have wished for world peace every time I blew out the candles on my birthday cake since I was seven-years-old. I’m doubtful that I can make that large of an impact on seven billion people, but I will strive to be kind, compassionate, and honest in my pursuits.”
Klick is a 21-year-old country music singer from West Kelowna. He started to play the guitar when he was just 6-years-old, and it has clearly paid off. Lick will soon embark on a summer tour throughout B.C. and Alberta in celebration of his latest single What’s going on, released June 12.
Q: Do you recall the first song that you ever wrote?
A: “After moving up to the Okanagan in 2006, I had recorded two cover song records and had just started to get into lyric and melody writing. After a few years of local competitions around Kelowna, I started to focus on my live show as a solo artist and I recorded my first original EP Play. Play was one of the first songs that I wrote, recorded, and played at shows around the Okanagan. It’s about following your dreams no matter what obstacle gets in your way. For me, music is my way of connecting with people and expressing myself, and I’ve always said, ‘I just wanna play.’ Since that record, I’ve recorded another EP titled Today in 2015 and I’ve worked with co-writers based across Canada and down in Nashville on writing new songs to go towards new and upcoming projects.”
Penalva is a 17-year-old singer/songwriter from Vernon. Penalva began her musical journey when she was just 11-years-old and had decided to enter in a local talent competition. She recently released a new single, I Choose this Love, which was followed shortly by a beautiful and inspirational music video, directed by Watkins. Penalva is due to release a new EP later this year.
Q: What’s been the coolest thing that you’ve gotten to experience in your career so far?
A: “The coolest thing that I’ve gotten to experience in my music career so far is meeting David Foster and Colbie Callait at an artist program that I got a scholarship for back in March. Callait has always been an inspiration for me and my music and it was a pleasure to hear from her. I also got to meet a very talented group of artists that I am proud to now call my friends.”
Anderson operates and teaches out of his drum school, AA Drum School. Anderson grew up in a music-filled household and received his very first drum-set for Christmas when he was around eight-years-old.
Q: What was your most memorable gig?
A: “I have played in New York City. I have played in Hong Kong. I have played in many many cities, but the one that I remember the most is without a doubt Anchorage. This is where I met my match and my soul-mate in the very same person, my wife Heather. This is also where we started our family and our new beginning, which led us here to the Okanagan. So ‘World famous Chilkoot Charlies’ in Anchorage, Alaska is my most memorable gig.”
Soulstice Creation (Tristan Charbonneau), is a local musician with a distinctive voice and a one-of-a-kind sound. His eloquent lyrics alongside his guitar playing blend together naturally to create this special and extraordinary musical talent that will leave your ears wanting more.
Q: What would you say that your favourite way to unwind from a busy day is?
A: “After a long day rehearsing, recording, or the morning after a big show, I love to create things with my hands. I recently started playing around with leather working. It’s so satisfying to take an idea and at the end to have a physical thing to show for it.”
Jodi Pederson (ROYAL) is an indie/pop artist from Vernon who currently lives in Vancouver. Her very first album titled Seasons was directed by renowned producer and musical director Jack Lenz of Lenz entertainment. Pederson grew up in a family where she was always surrounded by music and often sang with her two sisters. Pederson is expected to release her second album, and debut album as ROYAL, in January 2018.
Q: What made you decide to take on the stage name ROYAL?
A: “Over the years, I’ve developed a new style and sound. I thought it appropriate to change my stage name to something that represents this. The music and image that I am now creating is bold, timeless, and elegant. I’ve overcome some tough obstacles in life, and I like to think that I have become a stronger person because of that. To me, the name ROYAL means power and elegance. With my new music I hope to empower others and send them on a journey of self-discovery in a cinematic and dreamy world.”
Immaculate (Julian Wolansky) is a hip-hop artist from Vernon. He is also a two-time VIMA winner. He has toured with popular hip-hop acts such as Tech N9ne and MGK. His music combines personal life experiences and expressive lyrics that blend together with a great beat.
Q: What has changed in your career since our last interview in June 2015?
A: “My music has evolved and become more personal than ever. I’ve stepped away from touring to be close to my daughter in her first years, meanwhile focusing on my writing and studio time. I’ve released a new mix-tape titled Night and Day and a couple new music videos which can be found on my website at www.immaculatemusic.net. I also just recently won an Okanagan Arts award for Emerging Artist of 2017 and have a number of exciting new projects in the works.”