Aboriginal Music Week at Lunch: David Morin
“The next big thing.”
In the age of digital journalism and overnight celebrities, it’s a term that gets thrown around fast and loose — particularly in the music industry. More often than not, it’s idle chatter, boastful self-promotion or outright hyperbole. At best, it’s mildly exaggerated or slightly premature.
But in the case of Vancouver’s David Morin, it may just be the truth.
Having been showcased on talent-discovery platform ADD52, touted as “the next big thing in music” by The Source and nominated for two 2016 Western Canadian Music Awards (Aboriginal Artist of the Year and Urban Artist of the Year) – all inside the span of a year, and before the official release of his debut album – is a pretty good start.
But no matter how big David Morin gets, his heart will always belong on the streets. Influenced by the late-90s neo soul movement, Morin has honed his skills and made a name for himself by busking. Even with a busy touring schedule and the recent release of his debut album, Every Colour, the Métis soulster finds the time to perform on Vancouver corners or, when he’s on the road, set up his gear and immerse himself in the street culture of a strange city.
On Thursday, Aug. 11, Winnipeg will have the privilege of seeing Morin first-hand at a lunch-time performance atop the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The free, all-ages show will be the third concert in Aboriginal Music Week’s four-part AMW at Lunch series.
We recently touched base with David at his studio in Vancouver. Here’s what he had to say about busking, his WCMA nominations and more.
Have you ever been to Winnipeg?
Unfortunately, I’ve never made it out there. In fact, I’ve seen more of the U.S. and Europe than I have of Canada. But with that said, I’m expecting great things in Winnipeg. From what I’ve heard, there’s a thriving arts scene and I’m all about culture. I plan to do a lot of street performing while I’m there.
How did you get involved with Aboriginal Music Week?
I’m not entirely sure. I think they found my stuff online and from me performing on the street. I think that my hard work is starting to pay off and I’m starting to get some more attention from Canada and abroad. I’m super thankful for the love and support I’ve been getting thus far.
How would you describe your sound?
Feel-good. But to expand on that, I would would describe the sound as soulful and classic; reminiscent of the Mo-town days with a new and more relevant twist.
Who are some of your musical influences?
During the late 90’s and 2000’s, the neo soul movement held me captive. I couldn’t listen to anything else, really. D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, the Roots, Musiq Soulchild, Dwele, etc. Those guys were innovators, and I still am influenced by their sound today.
You’re nominated for two West Coast Music Awards this year. What does the recognition mean to you, and what sets you apart from the other nominees?
The truth is that I’m surprised. I was always under the impression that I would have to make it in the U.S. or Europe before the Canadian market would bat an eye at me. I’m actually very honoured and can’t wait to be at the event. I think the only thing that sets me apart is that from what I know I’m the only urban artist on the bill (to perform).
Despite your popularity and busy touring schedule, busking remains a huge part of your life. What draws you to street performing?
Busking keeps me human. It keeps me grounded. No matter how cool you think you are, or how much talent you have, I will always remind you that people will always walk by with an indifference that will leave you questioning whether or not you can ever achieve your dreams. Yet at the same time, it can uplift you higher than a large venue ever could. It’s also a very overlooked form of direct marketing that I think a lot of musicians take for granted. It also lets me taste the culture of a city whenever I go someplace new.
Do you prefer writing or performing?
I don’t think it’s a either/or kind of situation. They both have characteristics that I like and dislike. My live performance is very similar to the way I work in the studio because I use my loop pedal, which is basically live production.
What can people expect from a David Morin performance?
Expect a show that is larger than you would think one person could accomplish. I don’t have a band here in North America, so you’re going to see one man on a stage with a few instruments. But the sound has the impact of a full band. You might even dance!
Aboriginal Music Week is now in its eighth year. Why do you think a festival devoted to celebrating indigenous talent is so important?
The Western world doesn’t showcase people of colour in media the way they do for those of fairer skin. There’s an unfair advantage for those with less melanin. Therefore, it’s important that festivals like this one level the playing field. It’s bad enough that our culture has nearly been erased. We need to see more of our people in mainstream media, in all outlets.
What’s coming up career-wise in the next year or so?
I’m focused on recording mostly. I want to follow up this record (Every Colour) with some new and more relevant music that represents me now. I am definitely looking forward to traveling and touring my current album.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
I want to thank you guys for reaching out to me and getting my music out to more ears. I want my music to have a positive influence in as many people’s lives as possible, and you guys have helped with that.
Stay tuned for our Q & A with Saskatoon hip-hop artist Eekwol, who will close out the AMW at Lunch series on Friday, Aug. 12.