Flying Solo with Paul McDonald

By Annette Dawm, WorkStory Ambassador

Paul McDonald describes himself as a “singer, songwriter, poet, musician, and artist”. He was also a contestant in Season 10 of American Idol. Since then, Paul has been very busy. After being in several bands, he decided to go out on his own and create a solo album with the help of his fans on KickStarter (KS). His 6 song EP called Slow Rising is now available online.  “I wrote and recorded these songs in the summer of 2014 so I’m ready to get them out. I’ve already written 2 new albums since then” he laughed. “I’m planning on releasing this batch of songs in two different packages – the first one being a 2 song EP called Once You Were Mine that I released in early December – but for the Kickstarter crew, they get the original 9 songs that I recorded in the summer of 2014 when the goal was set to release a full length album.” 

Paul says that he “kind of fell into music”. Originally from Huntsville, Alabama, he attended Auburn University with a very different career in mind: “My major was Biomedical Sciences. The plan was to be a pediatric dentist but music kind of took over without warning. I always wrote songs and played guitar and piano as a hobby and one night somebody heard me playing at a house party and asked if I wanted to perform at a bar in town. She said she’d pay me whatever I made at the door and let me drink for free. I couldn’t believe it! So I invited all my buddies out to the bar and we sold it out and made the bar the most money they had ever made. From that day on, it was over. I was hooked.  I started a band and continued to tour around the country for a few years. In 2010, I auditioned for Idol on a whim and that took me out to LA for a few years. I got to experience some pretty interesting things on that run. While in LA, I ended up falling for a girl [actress, Nikki Reed] and started a band with her. We put out a few records and then split. Since then I moved back to Nashville and have been working on a solo project. I’ve been playing music and touring for almost 10 years now so sometimes I have to pinch myself. I can’t believe I’ve been able to do what I love for this long.  I keep waiting for the day I wake up and they kick me off the stage.”

Reflecting on his musical career, Paul realized that he has had lots of memorable moments with some of the biggest names in entertainment: “That’s the beautiful thing about what I do. I thank God every day for giving me the gift of music and allowing me to travel around the world and meet so many phenomenal people. Some days I really have to step back and take it all in.  Just recently I was asked to perform at the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductions alongside Tim McGraw, Emmylou Harris, and a bunch of other really talented folks. I remember sharing a dressing room backstage with Emmylou and thinking, ‘how in the world did I get here?’ That was a pretty fun one.”

When the American Idol alumni was asked if he was sad to see the long-running series go, he replied, “I think Idol made an amazing run. How many other shows can say they dominated TV and pop culture for almost 15 years? But, all good things have to come to an end. I’m just thankful that I got to be a small part of the show. What a unique and cool experience. Getting to work with such gifted people that are producing a show on that level was such an invaluable learning experience. Looking back on it, I still can’t believe some of the things that happened on that show. I mean, I got to sing with Stevie Wonder, perform in front of Muhammad Ali, and since have become friends with some of my favorite musical heroes. The whole thing was, and still is a trip!” 

“….Before I did Idol I had actually had nothing but bad feelings towards the whole thing – it actually grossed me out a little bit – but the truth is, if you know who you and you’re confident in yourself as an artist and a person before the show, then you can use it to your advantage. You come out on the other side as the same person with a little more experience and a wider audience of people listening to your music.  The folks that end up being stars after Idol would've been stars anyway. If you look at Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, etc. they are stars. They work harder than anyone, can sing their butts off, and the songs are great. That sounds like a winning combo to me. (I love those girls by the way.) The truth is once Idol or any of those shows are over – the magical fairy dust settles and it goes right back to you picking up your guitar or sitting in front of the piano trying to write the best songs and make the best music you can make. If the music is good post reality show stardom, then people listen and if it’s not, then nobody cares, even if you were the winner. You can put all the money in the world into something that’s not good and people won’t care.”

As with anything good there is also the bad, but it’s what you make of it that counts. Paul has faced many adversities over the years and rather than give up, he chose to grow and learn from each situation. Regarding his solo project, the biggest obstacles were the “labels and managers and everyone” trying to pull him in different directions, while trying to create the music that he wanted to, not knowing in the end what kind of music that would be.  “Making the music is always the most fun and the easiest part for me, but I was flying solo for the first time in almost 8 years (musically & business-wise) so I had to figure out exactly who I was as an artist and the kind of music I wanted to make. I also had to go through a string of managers, PR folks, label showcases, attorneys, etc. and get the short end of the stick to understand that there actually is a business to the music I was creating. I had to learn some lessons the hard way. I missed out on those lessons earlier on in my career because people were always running it for me—but flying solo has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve grown more than ever over the past two years as an artist, businessman, and an overall human being.”

“The challenge was finding a common ground musically with my collaborators (especially because I didn’t really know what kind of music I wanted to make yet) and also financially—just paying for it”, McDonald continued. “The project ended up costing way more than originally planned and a very solid chunk of the KS money was immediately taken up from my old manager and the KS fees, so I had to book a bunch of shows and do some solid touring to finish paying for the songs along with the art and videos to give it a proper release. It’s all been a very large learning experience to say the least” he laughed.

Paul’s advice for those with similar struggles? “Don’t give up. That’s a lesson in all aspects of life. Hard work actually pays off. If you put in the hours, things will eventually change for the better. I can’t count the times I’ve been turned down by labels or folks have said my music isn’t in the box for radio, etc. It happens every day. You just have to believe in yourself and what you’re doing. Be confident in yourself and if you’re proud of what you’re doing they’ll come to you. Set goals and don’t stop until you get there. If you believe it, it will happen. I promise.”

Initially, Paul was hesitant to fund the album via online donations as he was uncomfortable asking for help. However, he was overwhelmed by the support he received. “In all honesty, I’ve always wanted to try a solo record, but I never was interested in getting funding from something like a Kickstarter or a Pledge Music [campaign] … but after my last band broke up, I was in a pretty dark place and a few people stumbled into my life and really pushed me to do the campaign. I did need help whether I knew it or not. Making music costs a solid chunk of change and the financial help with the KS supporters was more than I could ask for…but more than financial help, it was a personal confidence boost and a reminder that so many people love and support me as a person and the music and art that I’m making.” Paul wanted to thank everyone who has supported his journey so far and hopes to see them “out on the road”.

“Sure, I’ll probably always have American Idol associated with my name, but it’s not a bad thing. It’s actually a great thing,” said Paul McDonald. “Idol was just a small chapter of my life, just like me being a pre-med student at Auburn or a flying monkey in the Wizard of Oz in the high school play, or whatever other crazy roles I’ve played over the past 30 years of my life. I’m not trying to be a superstar. I’ve tasted that world and it’s not all rainbows and butterflies.  I’m just trying to stay true to myself and write the best music I can write in this exact moment in time and hopefully inspire some people along the way.” 





Helping spark a 'Soul Fusion'

by David Scott

Victoria Falana, BA’12 (Kinesiology, Western University) embraces uncomfortable situations. Raised by Nigerian “non-musical” parents in Brampton, Ontario, Falana searched for her voice as a youth, listening to the sounds of Fela Kuti and King Sunny Adé, as well as traditional radio pop. Then names like Lauryn Hill, Nina Simone and Etta James started ringing true.

In order to hone her skills, she performed in competitions in the Greater Toronto Area, like CNE’s Rising Star Talent Competition. And then she arrived at Western in 2008.

Her first steps, however, weren’t exactly full of Purple Pride and parties. An avid soccer player, she had a torn ACL repaired just months before arriving on campus.

“I started my first year on crutches and a wheelchair,” she said. “Frosh Week was horrible. My first few months at Western were pretty sad. I couldn’t hang out; I couldn’t take part in any activities.”

Despite the rough start, later that year, she won the Western Idol competition. The prize, a trip to Europe, opened the door to a future she always wanted, but never expected. With the international bug planted, she reached third year without a clear path. Stagnated personally, she applied for a summer exchange to Denmark.

“It was not something highly premeditated,” she said. “And that’s how life is sometimes. But I wrote a lot of music in Denmark. I’d explore and meet people. I spent a lot of time on my own. It took me a while to get used to Denmark. It was really different.”

Soon afterward, she joined Kinesiology professor Darwin Semotiuk’s Physical Activity in Cuba course, which included a class trip to Cuba. She travelled there in February 2012 during Reading Week.

Although she loved music as a child, her singing and playing various instruments was all self-taught. Speaking with Cuban musicians and experiencing a music that was “very raw” sparked a passion to take action. It inspired a leap of faith. “I’m the kind of person when I say I’m going to do something I do it,” she said. “I’m going to go to Cuba.” And so, following convocation, Falana moved to Cuba.

“(Cuba is) a place where people really honour musicianship and art, and the roles music and art play in that context versus somewhere in Canada, where we tend to put more emphasis on sciences, with science being something that’s ‘respectable,’” she said.

“Intuitively, I’m very percussive. I started studying more rhythms. Being in Cuba was really great for that. That’s very much part of my identity. The rhythms I’ve picked up in different contexts tend to overlap a lot – Cuban rhythms have a lot of African influences.” Aside from learning more music, she was also studying Spanish and sociology (in Spanish) at the University of Havana. “The first week, I just cried every day. I thought, ‘This is impossible. Why did I do this to myself?’ Eventually, it got easier – well, not easier – but it wasn’t as painful.”

She stayed just over a year, and spent that time performing, developing and, eventually, recording her debut five-song EP Things Fall Together with the help of local Cuban musicians.

She wrote four of the five songs. The only song she didn’t write was a cover of Angelitos Negros, written by Antonio Machin, and performed, perhaps most famously, by Roberta Flack. Western Sociology professor Anton Allahar introduced her to the song.

In Cuba, she honed a sound she calls “soul fusion,” her own blend of jazz, soul, afrobeat and R&B.

“I’m doing what I want to do, on a smaller scale,” she said. “I know those things build on themselves. In music, everyone thinks it happens overnight, but nothing happens overnight.”


This article appeared in the Fall 2015 edition of Western University’s Alumni Gazette. Reprinted with permission. 

From Faber Drive to Abbey Road: Andrew Stricko’s Story

By Annette Dawm, WorkStory Ambassador

Widely known across Canada by his last name and for being Hello Operator and Faber Drive’s drummer, Andrew Stricko has returned to music with a new band, Kids in Despair (K.I.D). Fresh off the “I Still Live with My Mom Tour” in the United Kingdom, Stricko has discovered he has fans world-wide! He also found out what it was like to walk across one of the most famous roads in music history!

“Aside from music,” says Andrew, “I have a retail job that I do between shows/tours when I have some time off from the band life. It's not 'glamorous' or whatever, but it keeps things interesting and a roof over my head!” he laughs. “To be honest, I don't spend as much time practicing drums or thinking about them that I should. Obviously I love drumming and everything about it, but now that I'm in my late 20s, responsibilities and free time are a thing. I try to do as much music as I can between 'taking care of business'!”

Sometimes Andrew’s retail and music worlds collide as K.ID’s music is often played on the radio while he is working. He loves both jobs, especially when people sing along, whether it’s at a concert or along with the radio: “I love meeting new people. I've become a lot more outgoing since I started touring in my late teens, so that's the number one thing I like about touring or working a day job, whatever it may be.”


In terms of his musical influences, Andrew credits his parents for taking him to “concerts, choir rehearsals” and “anything musical” from an early age. According to Stricko, both of his parents are also very talented: “My father was a professional keyboardist/synth player, and he can shred the accordion really well! My mom is amazing at piano and can sing in ways I wish I could!”

Like many other young people before him, Andrew was also inspired by The Beatles: “I knew that I wanted to be a 'professional' musician pretty much my entire life. I remember the first time I saw a Beatles cover band at the ‘Festival of Lights’ in my hometown of Peterborough.... I wanted to be on stage. It's funny and crazy to think that over 20 years later I headlined the closing night of that festival with Faber Drive.” Crazier still, Andrew has now travelled with his new band to Abbey Road and its recording studio namesake, which have become some of his most memorable moments as a fan and a musician, but that’s not all:


“I feel I've had an unrealistic number of memorable moments when it comes to me and music,” says Stricko, “but if I had to pick, I'd say the first time I saw Sum 41 play in 2003 at ‘Ottawa Bluesfest’. The most memorable moment to date touring is tough, but I'll share this one: I just started playing with this new band named K.I.D. and we just got home from a UK tour.... The first night of the tour we opened for Bleachers (including members of Fun.) at Dingwalls in London (look it up!). The venue has an insane history and playing with Bleachers was destined to be amazing. The show was packed and there were kids in the crowd singing our songs as we were playing them! Never in my life did I really think I'd be across the world and people would know who my band was, it's insane!”

Andrew has achieved a lot in a short amount of time. Around the age of 19, he met the members of British Columbia’s award-winning band, Faber Drive, and he soon became their drummer: “I was playing with this band from Toronto, Hello Operator. We ended up on Faber's ‘Seven Second Tour’, became pals and the rest is as they say history.”

After more than five years on tour with both bands, Stricko began to feel “burnt out” and took a much needed break from the music industry, but drumming still remained a part of his life: “After I left Faber Drive, I had a couple jobs, but I was mostly teaching drum lessons in my hometown at the same store I took lessons from as a kid. It was very rewarding and nice to give back in a sense. I want nothing more than to help someone realize that they can do this too! Accomplishing your dreams IS possible and you shouldn't stop for anything or anyone.”

Along with teaching drums, Andrew “spent almost two years working random crappy jobs”. He recalls that he “definitely needed to reset” himself and find the “passion” and “fire” he had for music once again in order to continue accomplishing his own dreams. Stricko “snapped out of the funk” he was in when his friend, Miles Holmwood of the band, Stereos introduced him to Kids in Despair: “[He] was raving about them telling me how I should play their drummer in their music video etc. I got in touch with the band and we hit it off. I auditioned for them along with my friend Adam [Dugas], who played bass in The Envy and our lucky stars aligned! I've never been happier to be playing music than I am now.”

When asked about his advice for others, Andrew Stricko responded with the following: “If I could offer any advice to anyone who wants to do what I do, what another band does or whatever the thing, BE YOURSELF! Work hard, put in the hours, learn your instrument well, write lots of songs because practice makes perfect. Take it seriously, but have fun! I never thought when I was watching the tribute version of Ringo Starr that twenty-something years later, I'd be walking across Abbey Road myself on a day off during a tour. Crazier things have happened! Believe in yourself!”

To see more pictures from Andrew’s experience in the UK, you can follow him on Instagram.

For more information on K.I.D. please visit

I've got my degree – now what?

By Dave Robilliard and Brennan Connolly


Fond memories of their time spent at the DWFoM were vivid in the minds of both Dave Robilliard (BMus'04) and Brennan Connolly (BMus'08) of Duo Percussion as they opened the Fridays at 12:30 concert season in September. Along with the Fridays at 12:30 concert, Duo presented a workshop for undergraduate and graduate music students on entrepreneurship, titled “I've Got My Degree…Now What?” Geared towards musicians, the seminar covered topics such as marketing, networking, touring, sponsorship and creating your own opportunities.

Both Robilliard and Connolly completed their MMus degrees in percussion at Oklahoma City University and upon returning to Canada, the pair reconnected to form a chamber percussion ensemble that has taken off over the last couple years. In fact, the group has gone from playing just a few local education con-certs to performing for national and international audiences. They have also gained sponsor-ship from Pearl/ Adams

Drums & Concert Percussion as well as Dream Cymbals & Gongs. Most recently, the duo was nominated for “Best Percussion Ensemble” in 2014 by Drum! Magazine, in which they finished second to the world-renowned Blue Man Group. 

Duo Percussion is a professional percussion pairing known for their eclectic and high-energy performances. Using traditional and non-traditional percussion instruments, they present diverse programs of classical, contemporary and Canadian music. Duo Percussion is dedicated to expanding the percussion duo repertoire and attract-ing new audiences. “We're trying to change the way that people experience a ‘classical' concert, ” said Connolly. “We're trying to approach concerts in a different way. We have a unique sound palette and niche to fill and we are trying to engage audiences of all ages on a level that makes them feel that they are just as much a part of the performance experience as we are. ”  

The pair has appeared as guest artists with the Bell' Arte Singers, the Guelph Chamber Choir and the Oriana Women's Choir. Other solo appearances include the Ontario Percussive Arts Society's Day of Percussion, Toronto's Harbourfront Centre, New Hamburg Live! Festival of the Arts, Bach Music Festival of Canada, and the University of Guelph.

Not only are they busy per-forming public concerts, Duo Percussion also has a pas-sion for fostering creativity in young people. With concerts and workshops tailored to suit various educational levels, Duo Percussion has been able to help inspire and enhance the abilities of many young audiences by exposing them to a unique genre of music and immersing them in the world of percussion. This helps students realize the limitless possibilities of percussion music and motivates them to develop their exploratory and creative skill set, which helps their musician-ship to grow. Duo Percussion was first engaged to perform at a secondary school in Clinton, ON and with an outstanding response, the demand for the group was immediate. Now frequently engaged by schools throughout the province, Duo Percussion has grown to provincial and national recognition as evidenced by their keynote performance at the Ontario Music Educators' Association Conference and their residency at MusicFest Canada ‘The Nationals' .

In addition to their ensemble performances, Robilliard and Connolly are active freelance musicians and educators in Southwestern Ontario. They perform regularly with orchestras in the region, and together comprise the percussion section for the Jeans ‘n' Classics Rock Symphony. They have performed in shows at the Stratford Festival and the Grand Theatre along with many other local theatre groups. As educators, Robilliard has been adjunct faculty at both Western and the University of Windsor, while Connolly is the percussion ensemble director at Wilfrid Laurier University. In addition, they both direct percussion ensembles at local high schools and maintain active private teaching studios in their respective cities.

In the spring of 2016, Duo Percussion will tour the mid-west United States with concert appearances and workshops in Oklahoma and Texas. They are also taking bookings for the education concerts and workshops. For more information, visit:

Article originally appeared in the Winter 2015 edition of Ensemble, the alumni magazine of the Don Wright Faculty of Music at Western University.  Reprinted with permission.

Make Some Noise with Transistor!

By Karli Steen, WorkStory Ambassador

Formed in 2007, and based out of Barrie, Ontario. Transistor is a four member, award-nominated band. They have released two full length albums and are about to release their yet-to-be-named third in 2015, fusing a power-chord rock sound together with blends of blues, punk and country.

 The band's recipe is simple. A hard driving focus and power-filled songs, combine with intricate lyrics, to reveal music that ranges from melodic to heavy. Steve Wishart's vocals twist and turn throughout the songs, weaving an energy of rich harmonies with lead guitarist and backing vocalist Chris Nunes. The group's nucleus is held together by Joel Schonewille's steady rhythms on drums. Bass player Don Lindsay intertwines unorthodox bass lines to bring the songs together. Transistor has performed many shows and appeared at Earth Hour Music Festival, Barrie New Music Fest and Music on Main.

 Behind their unique sound, is a unique career path chosen by each band member. As Steve recounts "All of us have really taken different courses and schooling to get to where we are today. Being an honours graduate of the Georgian College Graphic Design program I have found that my career path has helped to give our band an identity, overall look and appearance. Because of my education, we have merchandise to sell and a website to promote ourselves and a visual presence that we can take pride in.  From an artistic point of view, I can utilize my training to think creatively and outside of the norms to not only brand us, but apply it to other forms of the group such as songwriting or making videos. It's the creativity that allows me to write lyrics to a song or help structure a guitar part. Music is much like design or any kind of art...everyone starts with a blank canvas and as an artist it's up to us to fill it with a picture that others can connect with on whatever level. But in this case our medium is our instruments".

 The band's drummer Joel took Radio Television Arts at Ryerson University. This gave him some audio training in a broadcast domain and an idea of the process radio stations use to select music for their playlists.  Guitarist and backing vocalist, Chris tried out Computer Programming, but never quite finished.  It was in his free time that he learned the art of guitar.

 When asked which school experiences helped the most, lead singer Steve said that he never really excelled in music in school. He didn't like the structure of music teachers assigning the roles played in a band. He wanted to be an individual.  Steve took private music lessons which boosted his confidence. This experience inspired him to learn independently and to decide for himself what role he would play.  Although Chris did not finish his post-secondary program, he notes that the time he spent there was worthwhile: "For the three of us school was our experience that helped define us. It's where we met, forged a friendship and started the roots of our band. Joel, Steve and myself have played together for many years in various bands. In a way, you can consider that a career, as most bands don't last even a quarter of that time together."

 A day on the job can vary, depending on whether the band members are performing or recording.  If they are performing, they have to incorporate extra time to travel, set up equipment, and make sure the instruments are working and sounding right; and then there is the work and effort that comes with putting on a good show.

Recording is a different story, because the band can either work together, or separately. They can work on their sound in the comfort of their own homes, and then come together to make the whole masterpiece. Practices happen once a month, and can last anywhere from 5 to 10 hours. Recording gives the band more time for sleep, and family; but for Chris there is nothing better then when they come over to his place for a jam session, and create new music. 

 There are many rewarding things about being in a band, including the fans, and seeing a song come to life. Steve explains the best part for him: "From a body of work perspective we are about to release our third album, and I always find that fulfilling and first and foremost I would say writing the music tops the list. This is followed closely by the atmosphere of being in a band. It's truly like a family at times. Sharing ideas and creative moments right to traveling and performing live and having people listen to your music and like it."

 They admit that they would like to "make it big" with Transistor, but they know the industry is not what it used to be. Nonetheless they will continue making music because it's what they love. When asked for advice for those who may be interested in entering the industry, the band collectively agreed that you can't expect to "get rich quick".  You should make music because you love it; and stay away from today's talent shows that ultimately try to seize creative control.

You can find out more about Transistor at their website or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube.

Giving It All Away: Josh Woodward’s Musical Story

By Annette Dawm, WorkStory Ambassador

Most musicians strive for a “rags to riches” story, or at least to be paid for their work, which can be difficult with things like piracy and illegal downloads. However, Josh Woodward is not your typical musician. He is a Creative Commons (CC) Artist. Artists like Josh apply Creative Commons Licenses to their tracks, which allows for other people to legally download the music for free and use it in their own projects, like videos made for YouTube. When a Creative Commons License is used, no copyright infringements occur which is great for the person posting the video, however it is not required that the CC Artist gets paid for his or her work! 

There are many types of CC licenses including the one for “commercial use”. This license allows for someone to download a track and use it in a video and even profit from that project without the artist getting a cut. (They do have to be given credit at the end of the video though, along with a link to their music.) This hardly seems fair for someone like Josh Woodward who has spent many years creating a catalogue of over 200 songs, but he’s not complaining! If you think he goes without any rewards, you would be wrong. Woodward explained that it is not always about the money:

“Nothing is more rewarding to me than to go through and read the comments and emails I get from people. So many of them found me because my music was used in someone's video, which is a unique experience with Creative Commons. I still am stunned that I'm able to make a living doing my dream.”

So how does Josh make a living? It’s true that his entire catalogue is available online for free, but people can contribute donations to his website via PayPal or other methods, one being that his music is also on iTunes. Josh was asked why he thought people still donate when they have the option not to, and he responded with this:

“I think it's hard to give a blanket reason why and how people are willing to support the art they enjoy. My approach has been to give people a wide variety of ways to help out. Some prefer simple donations, some buy my music digitally, some want CDs, others want to commission their own songs, etc. The only common thread is that if I'd gone with the old approach of hiding my music behind an $18 jewel case... almost nobody would be buying it. You need to build a relationship with listeners over time before they'll be willing to support you, and letting them have the music for free is by far the easiest way to do that.” 

Originally, Josh did take the “old approach” and released his first CD, Here Today “the traditional route”. 

“Around that time,” he recalled, “I got involved with an online weekly song-writing competition called ‘Song Fight’. As part of their website, all the songs were eternally archived for free downloads.” When Josh released his second album, Crawford Street, most of the tracks were already available on Song Fight for free, so he “felt weird” charging people for the album. “After giving it away for free, I saw a huge difference in downloads, and weirdly, sales went up as well because of the increased exposure. I never went back.”

Although the Ann Arbor native has an extensive body of work, it doesn’t mean he records or writes something every day:

“Not even close. In fact, most days I don't do either. Both writing and recording are very intense and draining for me, and I tend to block off the better part of a day for either [process] so I can really dive in and not get distracted. A lot of people describe me as ‘prolific’ because I have a catalogue of over 200 songs, but those were spread out over [several] years.... I think ‘tenacious’ would be the better description.” On average, Josh claimed that it adds up to “barely over a song a month”.

Josh’s love of being a musician keeps him going every day. He is often described as a “One-Man-Show” because he plays every instrument, sings every song and records everything (including his music videos) himself: 

“Being an artist is one of the only things you can do in life where you can create something new out of thin air. That feeling I get after working all day on a new song, then listening back to something that didn't exist yesterday - that's my favourite part of being a musician.” With regards to his favourite instrument, Woodward insisted “The acoustic guitar will always be my musical security blanket. Nine times out of ten, when I sit down to write a song, it happens on an acoustic and builds from there. But there's something unique I love about all the instruments I play.”

Josh wasn’t sure if a “typical day” actually existed, but if it did, this is what it would look like for him:  

“After waking up around 7 and getting a shower, it's up in the air. Some days, I'll start working on writing, or recording. But for every minute I spend ... I spend probably 5 minutes on the non-musical side of things - uploading to libraries, building new features on my website, answering emails, researching, cleaning my studio after recording sessions, etc. I also try to make time to head to the gym, keep the coffee and tea flowing, and just giving my mind a break. I bounce around until evening, then relax with my family for awhile, and eventually sit down with a good book or to binge on TV or movies before going to sleep around midnight.”

Lastly, here is Josh’s advice for people looking to become a Creative Commons Artist:

“The best thing I could say to someone looking to share their music online is to be generous, and be everywhere. It's not enough to throw an album up on [websites like] “CDBaby” or “Bandcamp” and hope that the masses find it and buy it out of the recognition of your sheer brilliance. Start giving them new free content on a regular basis, be involved, and answer every single email you get. Your music isn't the product that people buy anymore - it's you.”

For more information on Creative Commons Licenses and how they work, visit

For more information about Josh and to download his music, visit .

Finally, to see a film which prominently features music by Josh Woodward and other Creative Commons Artists, you can watch “2014: One Day at a Time”. 

Independent Artist Goes Global

By Annette Dawm, WorkStory Ambassador

Patrick (also known as Pat) Maloney is one of the lucky people who can say, “I do love my job!” Raised in Ottawa, Pat works as a self-employed musician. It’s been a long journey for him to get to where he is today, but it is a journey that has taken him around the world doing what he loves—making music.

Maloney got his start in music as a child, where he played piano and later a drum set in high school. He then moved to London, Ontario to attend Fanshawe College for its two-year Music Industry Arts program. He ended up staying at Fanshawe much longer than he had originally planned because after he graduated, he became a Fanshawe College employee!

“I got a job with [the] Fanshawe Student Union promoting events on campus” says Pat. “That job put me in touch with a lot of industry contacts.” In addition to his “day job”, he also played drums for a band which had several other members. Eventually, Pat knew it was time to go solo and depart from the band and the college where he had worked for six years, thanks to the networking he had done with people in the music industry.

In 2013, he played 170 shows across Canada in all 10 provinces, as well as touring college and university campuses in the United Kingdom. Of this experience, Pat tells us,

“I book the Canadian tours myself, and travel England with Tony Lee, the Hypnotist. I spend most afternoons making cold calls to bars and sending emails to book myself. In these early stages of my career, I probably land one show for every 5 emails I send.” Although low numbers and low pay can be discouraging, Pat’s fan-base continues to grow and he couldn’t be happier with his job. However, when he first left London for Toronto, where he currently lives, he wasn’t sure how it would all turn out:

I was worried about the money at first. But once I had my first bad month [over with], I was still happy and alive and I still didn’t have to go into an office [for work]. I could still focus on my passion! It was worth being a little strapped for cash!”

Luckily for Pat, the cash came rolling in when he reached out to his friends, family and fans for help to fund his second album, Repotting, the follow up to his solo debut, Root Rot. Earlier in 2014, Repotting was crowd-funded online through and he says that “it was a great feeling to know that there are people out there willing to shell out a few dollars for a record they haven't even heard yet! There is very little financial support for independent music, so it's nice to know the fans are willing to step up.”

When asked why he loves his job as a self-employed musician, Maloney was quick to answer, “I love that I work for myself, and that I get to play music every night. I get to share what I love the most with audiences all over the world!”

Visit Pat Maloney’s website for upcoming tour dates and more information



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