Album cover for Evolution – Don Amero’s new album | Image source: donamero.ca
The ultra talented singer/songwriter Don Amero turned country singer just released his sixth album – Evolution. Amero has been on the Canadian music scene since 2007 and has garnered acclaim for his engaging style of music and performance. Amero won the Canadian Folk Music Award for Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year in 2009, and the Native American Music Award for Best Folk Recording in 2011. In this MUSKRAT feature interview, Amero spoke with Erica Commanda about his artistic evolution on the music scene.
MM: In this album, you will be stepping into the music country genre. Why did you make the change?
DA: The album is called Evolution and the reason behind that kind of stuck. About a year ago my manager and I were driving around and told him that don’t feel like I’m doing anything new. So I’m putting on a new hat per se – going into the country world, but I felt like it was a natural evolution for me and when I said it, I realized that’s exactly what this album should be called. It wasn’t really something that was forced, I started off as a folk singer/songwriter kind of guy. When you see me with my guitar it still feels like that, but now its with the full production, full sound. I feel it organically taking on a country sound. It was just the natural evolution.
MM: What was your creative process like working within a new genre?
DA: Well, it was the first time I worked with a producer out of my own province. I worked with a guy named Bart Mckay from Saskatchewan. He’s one of the best. He works with a lot of great artists like Brett Kissel- he is one of his big ones. It was magic! Not only did I get a producer like Bart, but also some of the best players in the world who were involved with country music. I learned a whole lot of new stuff and now understand that this ‘country world’ is about camaraderie and hard work. This journey and that process was nothing but pure love. That’s what I felt all around. Also, for the first time in my career I was taking songs from other writers. That was a big change for me too and even that experience was nothing but pleasant.
MM: You didn’t get into music until you were 27 years old, what do you feel held you back from pursuing your music?
DA: I think it was fear to be honest. Jumping into this career with both feet- there’s no guarantees. When you are working a 9 to 5, at least you know that you put in hours and you will make a living wage. With this career, you could spend months and years and not see much money come in. You have to do it all or nothing in order to make a career out of this. For me, it just came down to giving it everything I had. I couldn’t divide my time into a full time job and music. So I just jumped in with both feet when I was 27 and said, “I don’t want to be looking back on my life and in 10 years or 30 years, saying that I should have given it a shot.” I let go of that fear.
MM: Was there a song or artist that originally inspired you to become a musician?
DA: I’m going to have to back to my dad on that. He was a great singer who still is. Both him and my mom wanted to be out on the road as touring musicians, then they had me and my three brothers. They were my first exposure to music in our home. Just seeing them doing it for the love of it really inspired me to chase the same thing. I’ve just been lucky. So I’d say it was my dad and my mom.
MM: What advice would you give to others who find themselves in the same predicament?
DA: Live while you are alive. This life is far too short to not do what you love. I wonder a lot of the times as some people get older in life and get set with depression, that it’s from not living the life you were meant to live. That’s just my own theory. I think if you got a passion for something you should chase it and it shouldn’t be about becoming rich and famous. It should be about being medicine for yourself.
MM: What does music as medicine mean to you?
DA: When I first started playing and writing, I didn’t realize at the time that the music that I was creating was therapy for me. It became something that helped me get through the tragedies and hardships in my life. First and foremost I was administering the music to myself, but my hope was that when I would get on stage and perform that somebody going through some sort of hardship in their life would hear a song that would resonate and feel the healing power of that song. It’s hard to put your finger on why music does that, but we’ve all felt the healing power of what music can do for you.
DON AMERO BIO
Don Amero is an engaging storyteller, songwriter and performer who has been touring and speaking all across Canada for over 10 years. With 5 albums to his name that have already garnered eleven national and international awards, including a JUNO nomination in 2013 and two more in 2016, Don is eagerly completing his 6th album. The album is set to be released mid 2018 and the second single ‘Live While I’m Alive’ can be heard exclusively on Spotify until it’s full radio release February 26/ 2018. With powerful vocals, a lovable stage presence, and a soulful sound along with his tireless work ethic, ambition, and determination, Don has earned the respect of the Canadian Music industry and has proven himself a much sought after performer who genuinely connects with his audience with an easy and effortless charm. A true musical talent without the rock-star attitude, Don impresses wherever he goes with his messages of encouragement, positivity, and beauty — and his desire to get out and chat with fans, no matter the venue.