Monday, March 5, 2012

5 People

Hi friends,

Each one of us can trace our musical journey's that brought us to where we are today.  It could have been a defining moment in our lives - or the people we met along the way that introduced us to new music. 
Either way there's likely a story to be told as to why it is that you will like a certain song, lyric or artist. Here are a few people and artists that have helped shape me over the years.

The Grade 8 Girls

When I was in grade 7 my class was split with the 8th grade students.  Most people were less than a year apart - but at that age 1 year made a HUGE difference.  For me it was an opportunity to hang with the cooler, older dudes while getting closer to the grade 8 girls.  

It was in an time when CFNY ruled the airwaves around Toronto and so these grade 8's were listening to the likes of Depeche Mode, Violent Femmes, House Martins and The Smiths.  This self-titled Violent Femmes album  had lyrics and sexual content that blew our young minds.  I can still remember every word of this album today as well as the CFNY road show that came and did a dance for the seniors.

I used to listen to Alan Cross' 'On-going History of New Music' on Sunday nights from 8 -10pm.  It was the highlight of my weekend as it was the last 2 hours of back-to-back 12 hour shifts working at Celestica on weekend's while going through school.  

Alan made music so exciting and was able to tell stories that gave me an even bigger appetite for music.   Mr. Cross opened my ears to many great albums and schooled me along the way.  I can credit Alan to introducing me to some of the greats whom I had only really heard of by name like Lou ReedJoy Division and Skinny Puppy.

Steve Cranwell

Steve was the Vice President of Universal Island Def Jam when I worked there.  He was in it for all the right reasons and a perfect fit to lead a team in the music business.  He was David Bowie's biggest fan and had first hand stories about all the greats from Johnny Cash whipping a snowball at photographers in Calgary to some epic Stevie Nicks tours across Canada.  Steve knew I loved music and allowed me to grow within his team while teaching me everything he knew.  He was on-point with new music as well and introduced me to acts like Polyphonic Spree and Sigur Ros.

Billy Riordan

In 2003 I had a roommate named Billy.  He was a hipster, in the best way, but more importantly a huge music and movie buff.  He was forever in search of new music and rarely did I hear him play anything that wasn't.  He opened my mind to many of the great progressive acts at the time from The Postal Service to The Streets and this beauty from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

Zane Lowe

I think I say this man's name in conversation at least once a day.  He's by far the world's finest DJ and when he throws to a song he's deemed 'The Hottest Record In The World' it's as if time stands still.  He has a special way of making everything he talks about sound so exciting and new. 

I can't even count the bands he's introduced me to over the years - but I can without a doubt say that he's the biggest influence on me at this time in my life.  From Bombay Bicycle ClubBiffy Clyro, Plan B, Florence and the Machine to The Horrors it just gets better.  I strongly urge you to tune in one afternoon at 3pm ET - I promise that won't disappoint. Save this page.

Music is a gateway drug to even greater music :)  Let people's music tastes influence you - it makes this journey that much greater.

Thanks for reading/listening,

Gregg Stewart

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