I’m excited to announce that my latest production, “Skin Tight” by the Canadian a cappella legends The Nylons , was nominated for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year! This is their first full release of new material in over 9 years, so we’re all very excited. And for me, it’s the completion of a circle: it was the Nylons who first introduced me to a cappella music.
Flash back to 1982. I was ten years old, and my parents took me to my first concert: the Nylons, playing in our hometown of Orillia. By age ten, music had really taken hold of me: I was studying piano, singing a little, and playing in the local youth orchestra, which had been founded that year. Now known as the Orillia Symphony Youth Orchestra, it has been been running for 30 years now (shoutout to the conductor, Mrs Kumagai!). I was a “Special Violin”, and my playing was about as “special” as the title implies. (Eventually they put me on cello where I fared much better.)
I loved the Nylons show and was quickly seduced by vocal harmony. I had their first couple of albums on cassette, and pretty much wore them out. By high school, I was singing (and later directing) our vocal group, and we sang a few of their songs, including a couple I had arranged or transcribed for our group.
Fast forward to 2002. The Nylons were recording a new album with my good friend, monster-musician Adam Messinger . Adam was looking for someone to arrange a couple of new songs for the record, so he brought me on board. I had a chance to meet the guys and write a couple of charts for them.
Moving right along to 2010. This time I got the call to produce the record. They were looking for an “everything guy”: someone who could help with song selection, arrange everything, record, edit and mix. I have to say, it’s a great fit. The guys are wonderful to work with, easyoing, and down-to-earth. Since I’ve known their sound since I was young, I’m able to write in a way that really suits their voices, and since I’m a singer myself who spent years working in another all-male vocal quartet, I really know the ins and outs of the type of music they want to make (interestingly enough, I’m the first producer they’ve ever worked with who’s a singer!). As a result, things went very well, stress-free, and we had a great time together.
The album was released in August 2011, available on iTunes and wherever else you can find good music. Pick up a copy, and wish us luck at the Junos!