Ah, the challenging life of the singer/song writer. Financial obstacles
aside, it's a careful balance. First, you need the introspection of a writer
who lives primarily in his head quietly cloistered away writing and composing
songs. Then, you need the extroverted personality of a performer desiring the
stage, the spotlight and the validation of an audience. Add to that the hurdle
of making a living as a musician marketing his own debut CD at the age of 28
and you begin to understand Oakville resident, Andrew Cole's intensity,
oscillating viewpoints, and unwavering belief that a Canadian-born,
British-raised crooner with a strong Liverpool attitude can beat the odds and
dominate itunes download charts.
Released in June of
is Cole's debut CD of
his own songs, produced on his own label called Crier Records and distributed
in major music stores in Canada, and of course via download from Cole's website
(andrewcole.ca). Artists Tom Cochrane and Kathleen Edwards also perform on the
It's an introspective
collection about love, yearning and the little beautiful things that complicate
the youthful mind. Like good wine, Why We Wonder
gets better when you let it breathe don't judge it the first time,
but let each seemingly melancholy song seep in, one at a time, while sipping
... well, a rich merlot.About his first
release, Cole says the title is intended to be sarcastic not heavy. I'm
cheeky, he insists over coffee at an Oakville coffee shop, I didn't want
anyone to take the title too seriously. It's the kind of humour Mike Myers
would get. I considered calling my first album The Best of Andrew Cole
, and then the second would be Greatest Hits
Now, that would have
been funny and a joke most would get. But listening to the dark-eyed, nattily
dressed Cole with a Jim Morrison-like intensity describe his creative process,
musical background and opinions about the Canadian music industry, it's hard to
believe serious isn't an essential part of his vocabulary.
Before I record, I
know in my head what a song in suppose to turn out like, he says. While in
the studio, I already hear the record done. But it's difficult to get the
pieces out of my head and they don't always turn out like I thought they would,
which is good.
He says he finds
recording a challenging process, both because he's a self-proclaimed
perfectionist and technology has allowed artists to work in isolation when
recording. Everyone has their own equipment at home they prefer using, so they
send me their parts of songs over the internet or we discuss it on the phone
instead of working in a studio together. It kind of ruins the recording
experience for me, Cole says. For instance, I hope to work with Ron Sexsmith
on my next CD and I want to be in the same room with him because I'd learn so
Although Cole arrived at
our interview just back from talking to Alex Lifeson of Rush fame about playing
on a new song, he says his next CD is very much in its embryonic stage. He
does, however, know his sound will evolve (like a personality) and his next
effort will be full-on rock and roll. Like George Harrison meets... He
doesn't finish that thought but recalls a friend saying a song on Why We Wonder
sounded like a ramped-up John Denver tune. That
really put me off, Coles says candidly, but then retracts. Don't get me
wrong, I love John Denver.
So are we to assume the
next album is George Harrison meets a Rocky Mountain High?
Not likely. What he
can confirm is more danceable music. My mother says I can't keep playing
mournful songs because people can't dance to them. However, I have no intention
of being upbeat for the sake of it.
It will also be the
first time he's written a song with someone else, and true to Cole's style, he
aimed high. Marc Jordan, who has written hit songs for Cher and Rod Stewart,
will apparently be given co-writing credits on an upcoming Cole offering.
Despite claiming it's
not about who you know in the music industry, Cole seems to have benefitted
from connections. A photographer who works often with fellow Oakville resident
Tom Cochrane, connected Cole to both Tom and his wife Kathleene who is now
Cole's manager. It was the Cochranes who in turn connected Cole to song writing
And somehow, it all
gels in Oakville not exactly known as the new music incubator of the country.
Yet, Cole says he loves this city and arrived here about four-and-a-half-years
ago on holiday to check out houses and neighbourhoods. He came to Oakville to
visit a friend, and one house in that neighbourhood was for sale. He bought it
right away, even before he sold his own home in England.
Cole, born in Toronto
to a father from Liverpool and a mother from Wales, says his parents moved from
Canada back to England (a mistake he says they'd make another six times during
his childhood) shortly after he was born. After my father died, I was sick of
being a yo-yo. So I decided to settle in Canada.
Despite a notable
English accent and a vocabulary littered with English idioms (i.e. Tom is
always banging on about Oakville.), Cole says he feels more Canadian than
I love the community
here, he says, and the lake, and the things that happen here. I play a few
pubs in Oakville and everyone has my CD. My hairdresser plays my CD in the
salon, my mechanic, my butcher, has bought my CD and they know me in the HMV in
When people want to
hear you and your music it's important because it really is about the fans. I
used to think that was garbage, but it's really true. I've got more to say,
which is good because if I don't people are going to get bored.