Ian Kelly - 2013 - Photo Credit Martin Girard

CMW 2014: Underdogs Spotlight – Ian Kelly

Published On May 7, 2014 | By Megan Oquias | Conversations, Featured Artists, Features

Hey hey CMWers, we’re doing things a little differently this year. In a sea of countless acts making their way through our city this CMW it’s easy to be overwhelmed. In addition to seeing our regular loves, I think it’s important to take the time to discover and support some acts that may or may not fall on your regular CMW radar. I know what you’re thinking, ‘But Megan, how will I know who I should check out if I’m seeking someone new?‘. Don’t worry, we here at The Take Media have got you covered.

The first installment of our CMW 2014 Underdog Spotlight has us getting to know Ian Kelly. This Montreal native has been playing his way through the scene for the last few years and is no stranger to our fair city. We had to opportunity to ask Ian some questions and he told us about being a proud dad, an embarrassing tale of getting booed by an audience of 16,000 people, and his views on the use of Social Media. See the full interview below:


If you had to describe your sound/music to someone who may not have heard (of) you, how would you describe yourself?
I guess it’s pop/folk/rock. I think it’s better to go on the Internet and listen than to spend too much time trying to explain something that you can only grasp by listening to it…


I looked back in your tour history and see that you’re no stranger to playing in our city – is there anything memorable or worth mentioning about how Toronto audiences are? 
I have some family in Toronto so it’s always special to come here to play. I have to say though, I know it’s a good opportunity to suck up to the Toronto audience but people are nice everywhere in the world, I think we need to open our eyes, the world has its ears wide opened!


I noticed that there were a couple tweets/facebook posts relating to environmental concerns – coffee pods, sustainable fish consumption, etc – as a musician in the public eye do you feel that you have a bit of an edge in creating awareness on this sort of thing?
I guess so and I hope so but it’s mostly as a human being that I worry about this sort of stuff. I’m also a proud daddy and I don’t understand that politicians with progeny can continue putting the economy as their top priority regardless of the consequences on the environment and on humanity.


Of your entire song list, do you have any one song in particular you love playing live?
I love playing tracks from the new album, it’s the most fun for me. It’s a little bit more uptempo and the band I have now is amazing! I guess when we get to “The World Stopped Turning” or “Do You Love The Rain?”, I’m always having a blast!


Can you offer any advice to anyone who is trying to be an independent musician/artist? 
Yes: Hang in there! There’s a lot more disappointments than encouraging news on the business side of things and being indie means also taking charge of the business aspect of it all! Don’t let that get in the way of the music, every “music day” is a good day!


Do you have any favourite venues (to visit or to play) in Toronto? 
I played a few cool spots and I’ve seen some great shows in others but what I really love about Toronto, is the food! There’s so much different cultures and interesting cuisine, it’s one of the best place to eat some amazing exotic food for not too much money… I love good food!!!


Is there anyone playing CMW that you’re excited to see?
To be honest, a music festival like CMW is a nice opportunity to go see some friends that are playing and showing them our support too, it can be overwhelming with the quantity of bands performing each night. I might go see Alexandre Desilet, he’s amazing! I’ve been listening to Half Moon Run a lot in the past couple of years and never got a chance to catch their set. Who knows, we’ll see.


What’s next on the horizon for you? 
I’m in the middle of the “All These Lines” tour right now, I have about 35 shows in Canada, I’m also producing some music for other artists, I have a great new recording studio and I want to spend as much time in there as I possibly can. Next year, I’ll be touring in Europe and I’m planning my first American Tour.


Social Media has become an integral part of promoting in the music industry – can you offer any thoughts on that matter? Do you agree or disagree? 
It definitely has, I’m not so good at it though… I’m more of a “living the moment” kind of guy, I have to remind myself of tweeting once in a while, I can’t seem to develop the reflexes…


Can you tell me about your most memorable live show experience (from a performer’s perspective)?
I’ve actually been booed by 16,000 people in Brussels opening for another act, that’s very memorable. It was before I started singing though, it all worked out in the end, they were just very disappointed when they saw a person they weren’t expecting walk toward the microphone. I also opened for Alanis Morissette back when I was working as a stagehand, that was out of this world. Last year, I headlined an exterior show in Montreal in front of over 50,000 people, that was very cool!


What would your ideal audience be like (crowd size, vibe, city maybe? etc etc).
The ideal crowd is always in front of me, wether they are 6 or 6,000, they came to the show and to me, that’s really special. Even more so in this era when there are just so many acts… just look at the line up for CMW, it’s ridiculous!



Be sure to catch Ian Kelly at the Piston tonight at 9PM!

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About The Author

is in love with the live music scene in Toronto, and tries to hit as many shows as she can; whether it's a small venue or a bigger show. She is influenced mostly by Rock and Ska in her own music writing/performing, but has a soft spot for the indie bands that are popping up all over Canada, including local three piece Convoys who she proudly manages. She has been a happy writer for The Take since April 2010.

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