'Diving In' Head First with Jayden Grahlman: a Q&A

Being around Jayden when he has a guitar in his hand and a song on his lips is being around a good thing. There’s nothing to figure out, it’s just musical joy. Combining effervescent, capable song writing with truly staggering guitar chops, he delivers performances that not only say “man can this guy play” but more over, “isn’t music wonderful!”

His new album, 'Diving In', is his first ever full length solo album!  I asked Jayden some questions to really dive deep into the motivation, support, love, and musicianhood that went into this album.

CATCH JAYDEN'S ALBUM RELEASE SHOW AT HEARTWOOD HALL ON JUNE 28th, 2018.  CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS.

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LC: Diving In is your first solo full length album, but you’ve been playing and writing for so many years!  How did you choose which songs you wanted to incorporate on the album, and are they all tied together by something like a theme or idea?

JG: The songs that ended up on the album are the ones that I feel most connected to, as who I am now. I’ve changed so much over the years, as we all do, that if I was using songs from the past they wouldn’t feel applicable to who I am now. So simply, I chose my newest favorites! 

The songs are tied together through the lens that I view life from as I am now.  The way I see love, the way I connect to spirit, and my perceptions of life. The theme of who I am is rooted in love. My life is dedicated to bringing more love into the world through music and simply being and expression of love’s voice. Through that purpose, I bring into my life the people and experiences that will teach me to become more of who I am, and mirror any darkness that’s inside of me, so I can transmute it into light. So simply by way of being who I am, the songs are connected by the thread of my soul.

 Photography by Val Boulet

Photography by Val Boulet

 

LC: You’re a well-known and established musician and music teacher in the area.  How has your connection to the community affected this album?

JG: My connection to the community has everything to do with this album! To be honest if I didn’t have the type of community around me that I do, I wouldn’t have been able to make this album, and it definitely wouldn’t have been as much fun! The people in the Georgian Bay area are SO supportive!  I’ve had overwhelming support in the campaign to raise funds for this album, and I’m excited to return that support to anyone who needs it on the other end. Life is a beautiful play of giving and receiving, and when you are willing to do both freely, it’s magic!

 

LC: Because you do so much solo live work with your material, was it challenging to find the perfect sound, genre, and/or style to go for with these full band recordings?

JG: Before we recorded, I was playing with the idea of what style/genre to be the foundation. When I was young I was so into Hip-Hop, then I started playing guitar and got into Blues. Once I really got into guitar I started playing in bands, I’ve played with metal bands, rock, hip-hop, folk, and eventually I joined a funk band. I really love funk and jam bands, and am also really into bluegrass picking. My influences have always been all over the place;  which to me makes things interesting. I wasn’t sure if I should stick to one of these genres. I realized that people love dynamics, and all of these styles make up my sound, so I decided to put all of the elements in! I didn’t want to limit myself, but I also didn’t want to confuse people of who I am. I realized that because it’s me putting it all together, it will be cohesive, because I am connecting all the dots. As with most of my favorite bands, you can’t just say they’re one style.   People know them for their songs, not the genre.

 

LC: How did you go about assembling your epic team of musicians on Diving In?

JG: It was pretty simple! I’ve seen all these folks play over the years and have always appreciated and looked up to their playing. When I asked, everyone was on board without hesitation, so cool! When Adam Bowman plays drums, stank face is inevitable, so there’s that. Tyler Wagler has always been one of my favorite bass players, his feel is amazing. Drew McIvor has been a friend for quite a few years now and I love what he does on key’s. Whenever Drew & I play together he plays guitar so this will be REALLY fun to play these tunes live with him on keys. Tyler Yerema is a piano player and friend whose talent is undeniable, I was super excited he was happy to be a part of the project. Mwansa Mwansa and Sherie Marshal are both amazing vocalist who blessed these recordings.  They are both so much fun and can sing like no one’s business. Craig Smith is a gem, he has an amazing ear, great ideas, and he’s an amazing multi-instrumentalist himself. It was a great pleasure to work with all these friends and they each took the project to a new level!

 

LC: What 3 words would you use to describe working with sound engineer Craig Smith?

JG: Exciting. Comfy. Funny.

 Photography by Val Boulet

Photography by Val Boulet

 

LC: Are you planning to tour with this album?  And what would be your dream gig (location and/or venue)?

JG: I am definitely going to be playing as many shows as I can to bring the music and vibes to as many people as possible! I will be in the stages of figuring out all the touring logistics, with a little help from my friends. We’ve been hunkering down in the studio, and now I’m more than excited to PLAY!

My dream has always been to play festivals; I would love to play all the festivals that I’ve grown up going to. Summerfolk, Hillside, Mariposa, Riverfest, Come Together, and all the great festy’s Ontario has to offer. I’ve always dreamt of opening for the Wood Brothers on a tour, that would be a dream come true! There’s too many amazing venues to name, I want to play them all! 

 

LC: How did you come up with the album title, Diving In, and what does it mean to you?

JG: I wrote the song "Diving In" a few years ago when I was falling in love with my partner Kara. It’s a big love, it felt like an ocean. It felt like I didn’t have a choice, the connection was what my heart, and life was guiding me to embark on. So “Diving In” was born. For me it symbolizes a new journey I was diving in to headfirst. Not only in my relationship, but in life and my own personal path, I was starting to take back my own power and live the way I knew I always could.  Not shrinking (in fear of being judged), but owning who I am and being confident. I knew it was okay if there were struggles, hence the line “Sink or Swim, I’m Diving In.” Life is all about learning for me. Plus, I’ve always loved water, I’m a Cancer. 

 

LC: What has been the biggest hurdle that you’ve had to overcome in creating this album?

JG: The biggest personal hurdle I had to overcome with this album was exposure. I’ve always been afraid to share my songs. Just like most everyone else, we respect other people’s work, but diminish our own.  I’ve always done that. No matter how much work I put into music I always thought it wasn’t worth sharing. I would always hide behind other people’s songs, or hide behind a guitar. When someone sings their song, that’s them, nothing to hide behind. I realize now that it would be a dis-service to others not to share my gifts, as I know that’s true for everyone. Our gifts are what make this world beautiful. For me it was learning about self-love and self-acceptance. Owning who I am. 

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LC: What’s one piece of advice would you give to young musicians who are trying to get their name out there and develop their artistry?

JG: For young people in general, my advice would be the same. LISTEN to people who HAVE what you WANT! Too often kids listen to their peers, their parents, or their teachers, who usually don’t have what they want. My greatest gift was listening to my heart early on and knowing what I wanted, and then paying attention to the people who were already doing it! Be teachable.  Have a high willingness to learn and a high willingness to accept change. Do what you love SO MUCH that you can do it without thinking. Think positive ALL the time, and if you’re in a negative spin, find a way to shift your energy.  You attract what you are feeling on a constant basis. But also, what you’re feeling is healing.  Let your emotions be, just don’t get stuck for too long and learn to utilize your emotions. Everyone’s on their own path, you’re always exactly where your supposed to be. Life is here to help you, it’s not against you!

 

LC: Where can people go to find out more about you and buy the album?

JG: First thing is connecting on Facebook and Instagram.  I love connecting with people! Once the album is released it will be available everywhere you can buy music. Soon I will have a website, that’s coming! Connecting in person is the best, come share your energy at a show, keep in touch on social media to see where we are playing! Love you all and can’t wait to connect!

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Thank you so much Jayden for sharing your feelings and passion with us, and I CAN NOT WAIT to get my hands on this album.

Check out the album release show here: http://heartwoodhall.ca/?events=jayden-grahlman-album-release

And check out Jayden on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/JaydenGrahlman/

Instagram is @jayden_grahlman