Ajay Massey of U.N. Jefferson is not a newcomer in the local music scene.
This is Episode #157 of the Welcome! podcast.
Not many people can boast that legendary wrestler The Iron Sheik once opened for their band. Or that, in turn, they’ve opened for USS, The Weeknd and The Arkells – all on the same tour! Nevermind being inducted into their hometown’s Music Hall of Fame.
Ajay Massey would never say that he’s led a Forest Gump-style life of being inthe right place at the right time. Why? Well, he’ll tell you he’s been in the music industry ever since his parents built a dance floor in the basement of the family home in Mississauga, Ontario.
I’m honoured to Welcome my next guest, lead singer and songwriter for U.N. Jefferson, Ajay Massey.
Singer-songwriter LU KALA’s unique approach to pop music lead her to co-writing a song with DVSN and Stephen Kozmeniuk (Shawn Hook, Dua Lipa, Nicki Minaj) that appeared on Jennifer Hudson’s third studio album. Since then, LU has worked tirelessly at building her career as an artist. Her distinct sound, inventive songwriting and vivacity have landed her in rooms with industry vets such as BabyFace.
This is Episode #156 of the Welcome! podcast.
2018 has been one of LU KALA’s busiest years yet. She was featured in Afro-Punk Magazine, performed at TD Celebrates the Junos, Canada’s Walk Of Fame 20th Anniversary Gala and attended a writing workshop with BabyFace, James Fauntleroy (Bruno Mars) and MarcLo.
LU KALA was also selected as the RBC Emerging Musicians Program’s grand prize winner for 2018.
LU KALA’s debut single DCMO (Don’t Count Me Out) was released in September and has gained over 100K streams. The single was added to several official playlists including Spotify’s It’s a Bop, Indie Pop Chillout and New Music Friday Canada. It is also featured on Apple Music’s Breaking Pop playlist, Pure Pop and Pop Deluxe Radio. Shortly after its release, DCMO (Don’t Count Me Out) was selected as Newcap’s (now Stingray) Trending Track for October and November. As the Trending Track, DCMO(Don’t Count Me Out) was played on all of Newcap’s Top 40 stations in Canada. DCMO (Don’t Count Me Out) was also played on Stingray’s Hit List, CBC Radio Radio 2’s After Dark and Corus’ 91.5 The Beat in Kitchener and has so far peaked at #45 on the Mediabase Canada Top-40 chart.
DCMO is a song that demonstrates LU’s remarkable musical ability and solidifies her presence among those to watch in 2019
“I never realized that I was doing anything different as far as creating music goes until someone pointed out that I had a gift. I find myself writing about the things that I was afraid to say out loud for so long…music has given me a voice.”
With a focus on self-love and inclusivity, LU states, “it’s important to me that all women know there is room for them no matter what career or life path they choose. As a black pop Canadian artist with Congolese roots, I’d like to continue to release music my way, and kick down the doors for all girls and women to follow.”
Aleem Kanji is a strategic leader in government relations, public policy and communications disciplines. Aleem joined Karim Kanji and Gregg Tilston in studio to chat about local, provincial and national politics in 2018 and what we can expect in 2019.
This is Episode #154 of the Welcome! podcast. Politics in Canada, many will argue, is boring. 2018 may have changed all that. One needs to look no further than this past year’s Ontario election.
According to most observers Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals had run out of time. Patrick Brown’s Progressive Conservatives were poised to take power. Then everything changed.
Brown resigned after allegations of sexual misconduct. Brown came back to run only to drop out and throw his hat into the ring for chair of the Region of Peel.
But then Doug Ford won the Progressive Conservative leadership and eventually became premier of Ontario.
Ford would cut the size of Toronto’s government and even scraped the Region of Peel chair. This would force Patrick Brown to run municipally in Brampton against an incumbent. And Brown won.
Aleem Kanji is one of Toronto’s most sought after political commentators. He joined us in studio to help all of us make sense of this and everything else that happened in 2018 in politics. Aleem Kanji also gave us his insights on what to expect in 2019.
Tom Stephen spent the better part of two decades playing drums in and co-managing one of Canada’s top musical trios, The Jeff Healey Band. Tom recently wrote the book, “Best Seat In The House. My Life In The Jeff Healey Band” published by ECW Press.
I sat down with Tom Stephen for almost 90 minutes in a downtown Toronto lobby to talk about his life as a musician and to find out more about one of Canada’s, if not the world’s, best guitarists, Jeff Healey.
This is Episode #153 of the Welcome! podcast. Tom Stephen and I discussed:
- How Tom was introduced to drums and the first time he met Jeff Healey
- The reasons Tom effectively became the lead business negotiator for The Jeff Healey Band
- Tom shared some stories of Jeff Healey with people such as Keith Richards, President Bill Clinton, Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits, George Harrison from The Beatles and BB King
- Tom described going to New York City to get Paul Shaffer’s (David Letterman’s long time band leader) help in breaking The Jeff Healey Band stateside
- The Jeff Healey Band’s hit songs as well as Tom’s favourite songs
- Working with the band and Patrick Swayze on the movie, Roadhouse.
- Why Jeff Healey always stuck up for Jeff and Joe (bass guitarist) as the band’s rhythm section
- The straw that finally broke the camel’s back and saw The Jeff Healey Band break up for good
- Why Tom was told to not show up to Jeff Healey’s funeral
- Tom’s current health
- And do much more!
Shasha Nakhai is a filmmaker based out of Toronto with both Compy Films and Storyline Entertainment. Shasha’s award-winning films have screened at festivals and aired on TV worldwide, been released on iTunes, gone viral and been awarded Vimeo Staff Pick and Short of the Week.
This is Episode #152 of the Welcome! podcast.
- Shasha Nakhai was born in Nigeria to parent from Persian and Philippine backgrounds.
- Shasha came on a student visa to study but now is a proud Canadian and new owner of plaid pants!
- She studied journalism and radio and TV from 2005 until 2009 at Ryerson University. Shasha also attended Sheridan and Humber to finish her formal education.
- Shasha Nakhai was the director of Take Light which is a movie about the energy crisis in her Nigerian hometown.
- Shasha produced the 2017 Oscar “nominated” short doc, Frame 394 which was about the shooting of an unarmed man in South Carolina.
- Shasha Nakhai is also producing the movie adaptation of the award-winning book, Scarborough (which was written by Catherine Hernandez).
Michael Antonakos is currently starring as lead character Alexios in UBISOFT’s highly- anticipated and widely popular blockbuster game ASSASSIN’S CREED ODYSSEY.
This is Episode #151 of the Welcome! podcast.
Michael’s first big break came when he landed his first video game audition starring in LORD OF THE RINGS: THE THIRD AGE. Through this role, Michael Antonakos ended up falling in love with the world of motion capture and voice.
Michael has amassed a significant body of high-quality work in several video game productions including SLEEPING DOGS, MAX STEEL, DEAD RISING 4, MASS EFFECT ANDROMEDA, and ANTHEM. Currently, he is starring as lead character Alexios in UBISOFT’s highly- anticipated and widely popular blockbuster game ASSASSIN’S CREED® ODYSSEY.
Michael’s work can also be seen in multiple film and television productions including WARCRAFT: THE BEGINNING, ODYSSEUS: VOYAGE TO THE UNDERWORLD, THE CROSSING, THE GOOD DOCTOR, PRISON BREAK, MOTIVE, iZOMBIE, ARROW, CONTINUUM, and WHEN CALLS THE HEART. When he’s not acting on screen, you can hear his voice in several animated series including NINJAGO: MASTERS OF SPINJITZU, TROLLZ, and MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC.
Michael is also a professional acting coach and teacher and has taught at Shoreline Studios in Vancouver. He currently runs an actor’s group called THE ACTOR’S CHOP SHOP.
Taras Lavren in an actor who currently stars in the second season of Anne with an E airing now. The first season is available for streaming on Netflix.
Taras Lavren plays Nate in the show – a quick-minded grifter that uses his charm and sharp wit to play the con-game to its full potential. We first get introduced to Nate as one of the borders that take up residence at Green Gables at the end of season one. In addition to Anne with an E, Tara is also a gifted director and filmmaker.
Taras Lavren is a founding member of Blink Twice Films, a unique project dedicated as a collaborative platform for actors, writers, composers and filmmakers. The project aspires to bridge local and international talent around the world by creating an anthology of one-minute short films, which are periodically released over their Instagram platform @blinktwicefilms.
This is Episode #150 of the Welcome! podcast.