Searching for Sugar Man / Famous in Japan

I went with a friend to see a documentary, Searching for Sugar Man, last night.  The small description in the paper intrigued her.  A Detroit musician in the 1970s named Rodriguez, who released a couple of albums that did nothing in North America (but unbeknownst to him were selling as big as Bob Dylan and Elvis in South Africa and were practically the soundtrack to Apartheid.)

He disappeared after his second (what he thought to be unsuccessful) album didn’t do anything, and rumors in South Africa circulated that he shot himself on stage, or set himself on fire and died on stage after a series of bad happenings at a concert (sound issues, heckling etc.)  It is really quite an interesting and inspiring documentary.

After the film, we went to grab a coffee (yes, it was midnight but yes we’re musicians.)   On the walk there she said something to the effect, “Imagine if your music was famous in another country and you didn’t even know it.”

In the age of technology I would find it difficult to believe someone could be in the same scenario.   Sure, places like North Korea are cut off from the majority of the internet but they’re likely also cut off from your music.

When I got home I logged onto Twitter, to see if anyone had “mentioned” me, and I noticed a couple tweets from Amazon Japan with the name of my new single, Play On, and (of course) a bunch of characters I didn’t understand.

Being resourceful I copied and pasted the Tweet into an online translator and it said, Play On is #26 on the Amazon Japan Urban/R&B digital downloads charts.  Impressive in itself but by the time I got home it had already shot up to #7.   And was #39 in Jazz Fusion.

I released that song over a month ago, and it had been likely been crawling up their charts all that time without me even knowing.  And, I assume, a bunch of people from Japan have been walking around with my music in their ears, and my name in their mouths.

Would I have eventually found out?  Probably by sales reports but those can take months to come in, and I never have known what number I charted at.  So, I guess I was somewhat of my own Rodriguez for a few weeks.   I mean, it’s not 30 years later, and my song isn’t inspiring social change (that I know of) but the slight relation to the documentary and irony of the conversation that night is something in itself.


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On the Level is “En Vogue” with Dawn Robinson

Dawn Robinson, of En Vogue, checked out my video for On the Level and tweeted about it!   I’ve admired  her vocal talent for a long time, and still listen in awe.   Definitely a milestone moment to remember; now if I could only get her to collaborate on a song with me. 😉

Image

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My First Love in London and Paris

Soooo happy to say that my new single, Play On, got some love from the UK this week on Tom Robinson’s Fresh on the Net blog.  It is definitely an honor to be among the other Fresh Faves, especially since it was listener voted out of the top submissions Tom and his team initially picked.  You can check out the write up here.

You may recall my song, I Wanna Be the One (a.k.a Subliminal remix) was featured on Tom Robinson’s BBC program “BBC Introducing” when my debut album came out.   If you missed it you can catch the audio in the YouTube link below.

To shift from London to Paris, my song, I Wanna Be the One (Savage Groove Mix) has been picked up by a Soulful House Music station there called BEATWINUS Radio.  I highly recommend tuning into the live stream here.

The BBC and BEATWINUS are the first stations to show me love in London and Paris respectively so I have a definite affection towards them.  They’re my first love, what can I say?   I’ve always wanted the opportunity to play live in both cities so their exposure a great help in that direction.

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New Single!

I’m really excited about my new single, Play On!   I finally got a chance to collaborate with Slakah the Beatchild, after doing the flute on his album “Slakadeliqs: The Other Side of Tomorrow” (which is definitely one to check out as it was nearly shortlisted for the Polaris Prize.)  If you’re not Canadian you may not know that Polaris is a not-for-profit organization that honours, celebrates and rewards creativity and diversity in Canadian recorded music.

I will be getting to work on the official music video soon.  We’re just waiting for some equipment we have on order.   It is going to be unique to say the least.

Speaking of videos, there area a couple of new episodes in my SoulScape series.   I have always been interested in the creative process of music so I am doing this series to let you in on mine.   Check out Episode 10, and Episode 11.

If you’re in Toronto definitely try to catch me with my full band at the Scotiabank 10-miler or 5k Run on August 12th, 9am to 11am.  We’ll be performing outside in the Distillery, and promise to wake you up gently like a coffee, not like the condo construction they are doing outside my window.

My nieces are down for the week, and I caught the four year old with my hat and earphones on listening to Play On on the iPad.

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Thanks for Voting!

Thanks to all who voted to get me from the Top 20 Online Auditions to the live televised semifinals of Canada’s Got Talent.  Although, I didn’t make it through it showed me how much faith people have in what I do.  It was truly humbling to have so many people (many of whom I did not know) reaching out to help me.

You can currently check out my entry into MuchMusic’s Coke Covers contest.   I chose to do Selena Gomez’s “Love You Like a Love Song.”   No need to register to vote, just rate the video.   Click here to vote, or if you just want to watch the video is below.

Many of you know that Will Ferrell’s character Ron Burgundy announced a sequel to Anchorman recently on Conan O’Brien.   For those unfamiliar, Anchorman is a comedy about a weatherman who also plays jazz flute while performing ridiculous tricks such as blowing fire out of the end of it.

In light of the announcement of Anchorman 2, I put out a challenge to him for a Flute Battle Royale to be performed live on Conan O’Brien.  Anything you can do to bring awareness to this challenge would be greatly appreciated (Tweet the link @ConanOBrien, or write on Conan’s Facebook page, etc.)  I have attached the video to the end of this post.

Over the past week I’ve been hard at work in the studio.  A new single should be arriving within the next couple of months.  The tentative title is Electrified.  I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

If you didn’t get a chance to hear my latest single, Back Again, check it out here.   It’s a song I recorded (while in a relationship) about someone restoring your faith in love.  In somewhat of a prolific twist of fate it is exactly what I am looking to happen right now.   Also, ironic, the last song I posted to YouTube before the breakup was L’il Wayne’s “Single.”

Flute Battle Royale: Jef Kearns Soul Flute vs Ron Burgundy Jazz Flute


L’il Wayne: Single


Selena Gomez: Love You Like a Love Song

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I’m Top 20 on Canada’s Got Talent Online Auditions!

It was 12:30am. I was in bed. I was ready to go to sleep.  But then a message came through on my phone from a newly acquired Facebook friend saying, “Congratulations on making it to the top 20.”

It was one of those moments where excitement siphons all composure out of you. I started shaking (just the slightest bit) trying to shake disbelief out of myself — I didn’t think I’d find out who was chosen until later that morning. I got up, turned on my computer, and there it was: My submission on the top 20 for the Canada’s Got Talent online auditions. 2 hours later I was back in bed. 3 hours later I had to get up for work.

The Top 20 were picked by the judges and producers out of thousands of submissions. When I say The Top 20 … that’s their wording. I would prefer to call it Their Top 20. There was a lot of amazing talent vying for those spots (a press release said there were 3700 submissions.)  Choosing is so subjective, but I’m glad they saw something in me.

From now until February 1st us 20 will be competing to move onto the semifinals. It’s based on votes, and only one person is chosen. So, I definitely need your help.

____________________

It is as easy as going to http://www.youtube.com/canadasgottalent?x=us_vote_62_14

My submission should automatically come up; just clicking the “Vote for This” button below the video. It hasn’t been working on phones.

One vote per day from today til February 1st. No registration process required. You can be from ANY country.

____________________

Most of you know I have been working long and hard towards getting the proper exposure, and this would definitely be a great venue for it.

My submission was featured on Breakfast Television today:

I want to give a shout out to some fellow competitors, who although did not make it to the final 20, deserve recognition for their entries, great talent, and general kindness. Whereas a lot of people wish you luck until they find out you made it and they didn’t, these people have been nothing short of amazing in their support throughout. It is great to meet talented and authentic people.  I am sure you will be hearing more from these people.

Please check their audition videos out:


Drea Darc


James Sylvain


Ben Tamana


Marc Glipo


Vanessa Mastin


Brett Michael Monka


Lyle Fernandes


AHI

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Canada’s Got Talent – Last Chance Auditions

UPDATE: I was picked as one of the 20!  Please take a moment and vote for me here.

I decided to submit for the Canada’s Got Talent Last Chance YouTube auditions.   If you’ve been following my blog you might remember I had some issues with the contract for the live auditions.   With the online auditions nothing needed to be signed (a.k.a. signed away) so I decided I might as well just for the sake of exposure.  Plus, there was this song on their short list of approved songs that I’ve secretly always liked (Ke$ha – Tik Tok) and needed an excuse to cover.

Doing the song (and the response I have received) has made me think about getting more into doing dance beats.

From the online auditions the show picks 20 and then it comes down to a week of online voting from the public for who they want to see on the show.

Competitions based on online voting have never been a big draw for me.  I rarely enter them because it seems to be a question of how many friends you have, and how many different email addresses you can create.  Every time I ask someone to vote for me it feels like I am spamming them; especially if it requires daily votes.  It’s not the relationship I want to develop with my friends/fans (I consider them one in the same.)  If I got to the Top 20, I’d promote that I was but not in a needy/annoying way.

90 percent of the auditions are vocalists.  The other 10 percent are other types of acts seem to be dancers.  One of whom was really good but could be disqualified due to time limit, and not using a song from the approved list.

All this to say: if the show is looking for diversity and talent for the last chance auditions I think I have a fairly good chance of getting to the Top 20 Online Auditions.

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