Category Archives: music

David Usher’s Pink Elephants & Music

Let the Elephants RunDavid Usher is many things, a musician, artist, author, public speaker, entrepreneur and activist. David is a British-born Canadian, and CanadianMade Audio talks with David about his new best-selling book, Let The Elephants Run.  Listen to our interview here

More About His Book: Do you allow for creative play or outrageous creative thought anymore? Well, David’s new best-selling book is all about letting our creative pink elephants run wild. Let the Elephants Run shows us how to reignite creativity whether in the head office, the home office or the artist’s studio.  He says in our latest podcast interview with Rita Rich that in today’s world with the Internet, five people are working on the very same idea you are at the same time.  But, it’s not so important about being the first to come up with a creative idea anymore, but in fact, being able to deliver that creative idea.

Life tends to stifle all the creativity out of us. David believes creativity is in our DNA; it’s in everyone, not just the creative class. We all start our lives as very creative beings, but for many that spark becomes lost over time. How do we jump-start our creative process as adults? What does it means to be a creative person? How do we follow through with our ideas and turn them into tangible outcomes?

David will be doing a book signing March 29th. Montrealers! Get your copy of signed by on 03/29 @ 2pm. Info:

Interested in reading his book? Well it’s published by:House of Anansi Press (English) and Québec Amérique (French). To order the book in Canada go through   Indigo,  Amazon, or  Librairie Drawn & Quarterly (order by phone or drop by). To order the book in the US go through IndieBoundBarnes and Noble, or Amazon.

For any questions related to David’s book please contact:

About His Music: David UsSongs From The Last Day On Earthher is also musician he has sold more than 1.4 million albums and performed all over the world. He has had number one singles singing in English, French and Thai.  His band, Moist launched in Vancouver during late 1992; the alternative rock band played for the first time in January of the next year and recorded a self-titled cassette in February. Vocalist David Usher, guitarist Mark Makowy, keyboard player Kevin Young and bassist Jeff Pearce still needed a consistent drummer, though; they finally found Paul Wilcox, just in time for a date at Canada’s Music West Conference in April 1993. After several regional tours, t EMI April Music (Canada) signed the band in October and to Chrysalis (U.S.) in May 1994. Chrysalis reissued the band’s self-released album, Silver, in August of that year. Creature appeared in 1996. After a four-year hiatus, the band released Mercedes Five and Dime in 2000.

About His Business.  And, when David is not making music, he is equally passionate about using technology to build new and interesting businesses. His company, Cloudid Creativity Labs and projects brings together artists, designers and programmers to work on a vast range of pioneering projects, from building web platforms to creative consulting.  David sits on the advisory board of McGill University’s Institute for the Public Life of Art and Ideas and is the founding director of Amnesty International’s Artists for Amnesty.  You can explore more of David’s projects at: www.cloudid.co

David has a degree in political science from Simon Fraser University. When he’s not on the road he’s found in front of a computer dreaming up something new to create.

Nikki W (Part 3)

Embedded image permalinkThis is our third in a four part series of personal interviews with Nikki W.  Listen to our latest podcast about her here.  Nikki explains to CanadianMade Audio producer Rita Rich how the song ” Superman” came about.  Superman is quite amazing and we love the words. It’s  relevant and timely for all young teens, and more importantly it seems to be able to transcend generations of listeners ranging from those who are juggling their day to day insanity of doing it all…like work, school, commuting, relationships and/or family and the kids.

Nikki has toured southern Ontario and select cities in the U.S. Learn more about how she’s experienced some dark days and is now enjoying being in the limelight.  Nikki is full of stories, like how she can’t even get into any clubs because she is so young.

Nikki Spaced  She has had some gigs, and tells CanadianMade Audio that she even got to play at Disney!

If you visit her Facebook page you can see she is starting to get some traction and pick up from others. For example,

  1. She was nominated for 2014’s CHRW 94.9 FM / chrwradio.com Local EP of the Year.
  2. Sleepingbagstudios also commented about her song Superman.  “I bet if you sat down with the creators of Superman and asked if they thought their superhero icon would become a literal metaphor for strength in our pop-culture they’d say ‘no way.’ Yet, here we are countless years later with countless artists & bands, speakers and writers referring to the man in the red-cape in comparison to our strongest moments…and our weakest as well. In “Superman,” from Nikki W., I was shocked to find that even here at this point in the EP she was able to heavily impress me and my eardrums; this is another absolute standout for her performance and delivery”
  3. And, she is noted in another podcast series called, Women of Substance Radio & Podcast, along with some great female musicians! Episode 59, @ 22 minutes in!
  4. Canadian Beats Blog also interviewed her last summer, where she explains some of the things she likes best

So, where can you find Nikki W and her music?

Soulful Sweet 16-Nikki W (Part 2)

nikki w2Nikki Whitehead (NIKKI W) is a London, Ontario based singer, songwriter and pop recording artist. This is Canadian Made Audio’s second podcast of a four part series about Nikki W, Take a few minutes to hear the perspective of a very honest sweet 16 year-old, right here.  This London, Ontario high school student explains in this personal interview about the trials of coping with the stresses of being at the bottom of the food chain, when she entered eight grade. Her powerful, yet vulnerable voice touches on love, doubt, sex, self-harm, and alienation – all themes common to Nikki and her peers.

“Transparent Hands” is her impressive debut single. Her songwriting is strong, with lyrics like, “Don’t know who to trust and who to doubt” and “Someone like you is much too wonderful, lovely for someone as sad as me.”  She voices her generation’s anxiety with honesty and poignancy, as can be seen in her video “Transparent Hands.”

This 16 year-old Canadian artist’s full length Extended Play (EP) album is called “Sad Generation,”, (produced by Gavin Brow) and it is out now.

She’s been compared to British pop singer Adele, with the soulful way she sings her own compositions.  Her big voice also harkens back to the day of women with guitars like Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks or Patti Smith.

She speaks on behalf of “gypsies, wallflowers, and those without a voice” about love, doubt, sex, self-harm, and alienation. Nikki describes her music as “pop music with cuts, tattoos, and honesty. Nikki projects an emotional honesty and wisdom beyond her years.

If by some small chance you missed Part I of this series of interview series with Nikki W, the following is a link to that first interview.

Diana Panton is Worth Knowing!

At the 57th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday night was all eyes and ears via the U.S. music industry, and the night belonged to Londoner Sam Smith. But, we want to let you know there’s s another soulful music mover that the larger international music world is noticing! Do you know Diana Panton? CanadianMade Audio interviews, Diana Panton, a superb Canadian jazz vocalist who has quietly become one of the brightest lights on the jazz scene today. Listen here to our interview. Her work has been consistently praised by listeners and music critics alike for her ethereal vocals, exceptional song selection and heartfelt renditions. “Her diaphanous vocal sound never insists and her high speed vibrato is like the beat of a hummingbird’s heart – natural, untainted and pure.” (Lesley Mitchell-Clarke, Wholenote Magazine.

Jazz, Canadian Jazz Singer, Diana Panton, Canadian Made, Made in Canada

Diana Panton Photo by Keith Penner

Her keen aesthetic sense has attracted the attention of some of the jazz world’s most respected masters. When Order of Canada and legendary multi-instrumentalist Don Thompson first heard Panton sing at age 19, he recommended she audition for the reputed jazz workshop at the Banff Center for the Arts (Canada). There, she studied under Norma Winstone (and in subsequent visits, Jay Clayton and Sheila Jordan). “When the great singer Sheila Jordan said Diana Panton ‘sounds like the sweetest bird you’ll ever hear’, she helped define some of the ephemeral delicacy that marks Panton as unique.” (Stuart Broomer, Toronto Life).

Before recording her first album, Panton completed an Honours Master’s degree in French literature from McMaster University, and fulfilled a teaching engagement at the University of Paris (France), followed by a position as a French Sessional Lecturer at McMaster University (Canada). She teaches French and Art at Westdale Secondary School in Hamilton, Ontario. (Canada).

Panton started her music career as a member of the Hamilton All Star Jazz Band, until 2002After hearing her perform with this band, veteran multi-instrumentalist Don Thompson invited her to attend the Banff Centre, where he was a faculty member. This led to Thompson’s collaboration on Panton’s albums, a decade later. When the time finally arrived to go into the studio, national award-winning guitarist Reg Schwager was invited to join Don Thompson for some stellar accompaniment behind Panton’s pure vocals.

The late great Montreal jazz critic Len Dobbin called “…yesterday perhaps” one of the finest debut CDs he had heard in years! It landed Diana on the covers of VIEW and NOW Magazine and the album made NOW’s TOP 10 Discs of the Year. The album was also awarded a Silver Disc Award upon its release in Japan in 2011. 

Her impressive catalog of internationally acclaimed albums have garnered numerous honors, including a second Silver Disc Award in Japan, three JUNO nominations, seven Hamilton Music Awards, a host of National Jazz Award nominations, Canadian and American Independent Music Award nominations.

Her sophomore album, “if the moon turns green …” was the first place jury-selection to perform at the Jazz à Juan Revelations where she was voted Première Dauphine by the Juan public. Most recently, she was named one of Canada’s TOP 5 Jazz Vocalists by CBC radio host Tim Tamashiro.
Her second album, If the Moon Turns Green, received a nomination for the Juno Awards of 2009 in the category of Vocal Jazz Album of the Year. Her fourth and fifth albums, To Brazil With Love and Christmas Kiss, were nominated in the same category for the Juno Awards of 2012 and 2013, respectively.

Photo of Diana Panton by Jose Crespo

On all six albums, Panton is accompanied by Don Thompson on piano and bass and Reg Schwager on guitar. Thompson also plays vibraphone on Pink, To Brazil With Love, and Christmas Kiss. On Pink and Christmas Kiss, she is also accompanied by Guido Basso on flugelhorn, trumpet and cornet. On To Brazil With Love, she is also accompanied by Maninho Costa on vocals, drums and percussion, Bill McBirnie on flute, Kiki Misumi on cello and Silas Silva on drums and percussion. Harrison Kennedy sings on one track of Christmas Kiss and one on Red.

The version of Pink released in Japan includes one bonus track not found on the Canadian version of this album.  In addition to the above albums issued under her name, Panton sings on the 2012 Peter Appleyard album, Sophisticated Ladies.

Visit her website at http://dianapanton.com and if you have any Canadian Made stories please contact us at canmadeprod@gmail.com

Nikki Whitehead Shares Her Soul & Music (Part 1)

In our latest podcast, Canadian Made Audio interviews sixteen year-old London, Ontario based singer, songwriter and pop recording artist Nikki Whitehead (NIKKI W).  She’s been reviewed by music press here and abroad and shares her insights, in this 4 part interview series. She explains to Canadian Made Audio’s Producer Rita Rich why she named her first EP (extended play) collection of songs, “Sad Generation.”

Rich say, “It’s not all doom and gloom.  But, if you’ve ever wondered what’s up with some of your friends take a listen and click here and tune into this latest podcast story,  plus you will love Nikki’s voice. She is quickly being compared to the likes of Lana Del Ray and Metric. Canadians have much to be proud of when it comes to the creativity of its young adults. But, growing up in Canada, like everyplace else, requires bravery and a willingness to embrace the truth. She also has a big voice that harkens back to the day of women with guitars like Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks or Patti Smith. Nikki projects an emotional honesty and wisdom beyond her years. Like every preceding generation, hers is filled with distinct loneliness and fear. Her powerful, yet vulnerable voice touches on love, doubt, sex, self-harm, and alienation – all themes common to Nikki and her peers.

Nikki W

“I think I’m an old soul,” she says. “I’ve always been mature for my age. And I get what it’s like to be the wallflower. I know what all that stuff feels like, so with this album I’m trying to show people that it’s okay to be different.” “I was eleven when I joined my first band” she continues. “I was really into Joan Jett and AC/DC and Metallica. Then I got into punk, like The Sex Pistols and The Ramones.  And then it all kinda just morphed from there, and I found my own sound.” She co-wrote her self-titled EP with producer Gavin Brown, who has worked with Barenaked Ladies, Metric, and Lady Gaga. Although working with someone with Brown’s credentials was at first intimidating, Nikki credits him with allowing her to grow through the songwriting and recording process. “I’ve been in and out of studios since I was 12,” says Nikki.  “It’s kind of like a second home to me”. Her booking agent can be reached via an email to Jeff Rogers at jeff@rraammpp.com. She is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and has a website.