AUDIO: Canadian musicians and audiences too often ignore the innovative and interesting. We should be braver with our choices.
“Which is the most universal human characteristic – fear or laziness?” asks Louis Mackey in the movie *Waking Life*. I often think about how this question applies to me. How does it apply to you? And to my fellow musicians and the Canadian music industry in general? Stop and think about it for a minute. Why is it that most of us have to travel abroad to get some recognition if we are doing something truly innovative? Why is it that some people stick to what they know and never explore new ideas? Who makes the decisions that make a difference in our lives (in terms of Arts Council grants, VideoFact, radio play, and the like)?
I am regularly told that there is no such thing as a “Canadian sound” or a “Canadian identity.” I disagree. We have come a long way. Our musicians are being recognized worldwide. There is an incredible wealth of talent everywhere in this country; yet Canadian listeners are paying little attention. This is likely because some of this music is not what people are used to, because what is new is often scary. I enjoy listening to classical music as much as I do dubstep, rock, electro, and many other genres. What makes such an eclectic mixture of songs so appealing to me is simply that they are good enough to grab my attention. And to achieve greatness in anything, one must practice one’s craft every day, talk about it, live it, and most of all be brave.
I wish more people could be brave with their sonic explorations, with their reviews, with their choices. Perhaps most importantly, I wish that more people were not afraid to fail. The fear of failure happens to all of us, but it certainly has not stopped me.