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.”
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!
Sam Reid is a founding member, songwriter and keyboardist with the award-winning band, Glass Tiger. Founded in Newmarket, Ontario Sam and the rest of the members of Glass Tiger have been making music and touring the world for the past 30+ years.
Listen to this exclusive Girth Radio podcast as Sam Reid and the band get ready to play the historic Massey Hall in Toronto.
This is episode #131 of the Welcome! podcast.
Here are some of the things we talked about:
- How Sam Reid’s parents enrolled him in piano lessons in order for him to open up and develop his growing interest in music.
- Why Sam Reid had to play “hidden” in his first bands.
- Why the band’s first name was Tokyo and the circumstances that “forced” them to change it to Glass Tiger.
- How Sam Reid and Glass Tiger came to open for Culture Club in the iconic Maple Leaf Gardens.
- How Glass Tiger got hooked up with Jim Vallance during the recording of their first album.
- How their first hits and success of their debut album changed Sam Reid and the band.
- The value of a song.
- Sam Reid’s relationship with the Snowbirds.
- The importance of not sucking!
- What is Willow Music and who are the indie band, Alpacas.
- Why Glass Tiger is still playing music and recording after 30+ years.
- The importance of playing at Toronto’s Massey Hall.
Kristin leads her own R&B band in original tunes infused with her signature super funky soul grooves (Massive Stride available now on iTunes), she is a featured soloist in the live and recorded versions of Anthony Braxton’s experimental opera Trillium J, a member of both Braxton’s Ghost Trance Choir and Christine Duncan’s The Element Choir, creator of the creative vocal/dance trio celeste, and half of the hip folky duo K Funk and Lady Ree.
Big Dumb Heart
You For You
The Man Is Optional
Recorded Live inside Girth Radio studios.
Last night I attended the West End Phoenix fundraising concert at Toronto’s The Great Hall.
Not only was it an opportunity to help fundraise for the local community newspaper that Dave Badini founded, the West End Phoenix, but it was also a great opportunity to experience some great spoken word performances and live music.
First up was a spoken word performance by poet, Nasim Asgari.
Next up was an hour long set by Juno award-winning band, Whitehorse.
Closing out the evening was one of Canada’s most unconventional, yet influential bands, Rheostatics. They were joined on stage by Kevin Hearn (also from the Barenaked Ladies), Alex Lifeson (of RUSH), Don Kerr (Toronto-based band Communism) and Tom Wilson (from Junhouse and Lee Harvey Osmond)
For more information on how to be a patron or newspaper subscriber please visit https://www.westendphoenix.com/.