My Year in Music

Although 2016 had its share of negativity and tragedy, I am extremely grateful to say that it held some of the best musical experiences of my life. I was able write, perform, and listen to music with great friends old and new, and was given plenty of opportunities to grow as both a performer and a songwriter. 

This year I was able to share my music in some amazing venues with incredible musicians, I travelled much more than I ever have for shows, I recorded and released my first EP, and I shared the stage with some of my musical heroes. 
 

The first show I played in 2016 was at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto with Thrifty Kids and Angela Saini. Playing the Horseshoe was definitely a check off of the musical bucket list, and a great way to start the year! It was around this time that I started recording the EP.



The summer brought many more shows, a few of which I was able to play with Elliot Jarmain on Keyboard/Guitar/Vocals, and Jesse Bydevate on the Bass/Vocals. Playing with these guys is always a blast - they bring so much energy and depth to the songs.



I was able to release "Yesterday's Smile", my first EP on August 5th, with a release party at the Red Door, Georgetown's newest art gallery. The event was a success, and on top of the breathtaking performances by Sanjay Baboolal, Erica Knox, Lara Morrison, and Small Towns, we were able to raise over 600 dollars for CMHA. 

                    Receiving the CDs for Yesterday's Smile - a huge highlight of the year! 

Fall was easily the best part of 2016. Being a Western O-Week Soph (Student Mentor) I was able to play on the O-Week stage twice as part of opening and closing ceremonies, performing western-themed medleys to the incoming students. Closing ceremonies happened to fall on my 20th birthday. To my surprise, members of my soph team arranged to have the entire crowd sing "Happy Birthday" to me. It was a surreal experience and one that I will never forget.

                     Most of this O-Week can be described by green pants and smiles


A couple of days later, I sent a tweet to the Arkells, one of my favourite bands, jokingly asking them to play on stage with them. Somehow they responded, inviting me to play "Private School" with them at Western's "Purple Fest". Even today, four months later, I'm wondering how the hell that even happened! Shoutout to the guys in Arkells for letting me up there. Incredible. 

                    Having a moment with Max.

In October I attended the Folk Music Ontario conference in Ottawa as part of the Youth program. This was my first conference, and I was blown away by the amount of amazing musicians from across the country, and the amount of kind, supportive, and attentive people who cared so deeply about music. As the Taylor Mitchell Bursary recipient, I was able to have most of the financial burden lifted, which I am so beyond grateful for. I had the honour of meeting Taylor's mother, Emily, who is a strong supporter of youth music and was able to share so much about Taylor (check out taylormitchell.ca for more information about Taylor's story) . I played three sets throughout the weekend and was able to share the stage with my mentor, Graydon James of Young Novelists, and Anita Cazolla of The Lifers for my official showcase. I felt truly at home at FMO and I hope to stay involved with the organization for years to come!

                    FMO was incredible.

As the year came to a close and school became busier, I was not able to play as many shows as I'd like - but I was still able to keep myself busy .Three shows stick out in my mind, all in London ON. The "Festifall" at Huron College (featuring Millenials, P.S Always, A-Fos and the Rude Youth, The Elwins), a house show at my good friend Sam Boer's house, which featured Tragedy Ann and Raine Hamilton, and a Home County Music Festival fundraiser at the London Music Club which featured some amazing talent on a snowy Sunday afternoon. . 

                    Smiles with Braden, a great friend and a great musician.

I'm glad that I can stop for a moment over the holidays and reflect on the good times of 2016. A big thanks to everyone who came to a show, bought a CD or button, shared the stage, and offered me a place to play music. Wishing everybody a happy and healthy 2017!


So many people to thank this year - but I definitely want to give a shoutout to my parents and family for their unconditional support, Graydon James, Treasa Levasseur, Darin Addison, all of the folks in the Lifers for inspiring me so much, my housemates (Sunset Boys forever), Alex Foster - Roman, all of my friends from Georgetown, London, and anywhere else!

3 comments

  • Marg Murray Nicholson

    Marg Murray Nicholson Stratford,ON

    Just an amazing read John- wish you much success in 2017!!

    Just an amazing read John- wish you much success in 2017!!

  • Mitchell Hall

    Mitchell Hall Cambridge, ON

    It really was a wonderful year, man, this is a great read! All the best for next year, I'll see you soon :)

    It really was a wonderful year, man, this is a great read! All the best for next year, I'll see you soon smile

  • Marilyn Muirhead

    Marilyn Muirhead BurlingtonJohn

    John. Very interesting read,knowing how much you have accomplished. Music is in your soul and I know you will reach even higher heights. Very proud of you my grandson.

    John. Very interesting read,knowing how much you have accomplished. Music is in your soul and I know you will reach even higher
    heights. Very proud of you my grandson.

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