Remy Shand sold on soul
(CNN) – Canada has a bright new musical prospect. His name is Remy Shand and he's a 24-year-old multi-instrumentalist from Winnipeg.
A committed fan of old-school soul, Shand has been winning praise worldwide since the release of his debut record, "The Way I Feel."
The singer/songwriter spent four years writing and producing the album for Motown Records, and its soul-drenched tracks reflect the artist's appreciation for soul masters like Marvin Gaye and Al Green.
Shand recently took time from his touring schedule to sit down on the couch with The Music Room's host, Sasha Rionda. Here's part of their conversation;
Rionda: Tell us about your debut album, I heard it took you four years.
Shand: Four years! That 4-year period kind of encompasses myself being an obscured musician. Still without a record deal and recording in my parents' condo, basically, where I recorded the record. I ended up finishing half the record before I actually got signed. I ended up signing with Universal Music Canada, who allowed me the creative control to finish this record the way I wanted to. About a month after that I delivered the record in Canada. Motown records in America picked it up for distribution. That was an incredible honor for me because the history of Motown is amazing.
Rionda: Some people describe your music as neo-soul. Would you think that's accurate?
Shand: When I started making this record, I wasn't really thinking of making a neo-soul record. I was thinking "This is a Remy record." This is just my influences. As a marketing tool, I find neo-soul has been helpful for me, because I didn't make a hip-hop record. And anything with the name soul on its category is not a bad thing. It's pretty cool. I didn't really know where my record would fit in... I kind of wondered what was going to happen.
Rionda: Tell us about the first single off the album, "Take a message."
Shand: "Take a message" is a song about not being able to reciprocate your feelings in a relationship. It's basically saying to another person, "take a message from my love. We can't be together as a couple. I respect you as a person, but it's just not working out." Originally I was going to scrap that song. I had my finger on the erase button and my parents came in and said, "What was that song you were just playing? We really liked it. It's really smooth, you should finish it off." So I ended up finishing the song.
Rionda: How do you approach performing live?
Shand: It's funny because I did the whole record by myself. It takes a little bit to give up that part of me. I really felt it was really important to find musicians who had a great range, who could play really disciplined, straight up stuff, old soul style. And I held auditions and ended up putting together a six-piece band including myself. I'm playing keyboards, as well as some guitar, and I have a bass player, a drummer, a guitarist, and two backup singers, one of whom is my wife.
Rionda: The album is doing well and you're on tour. What's next for Remy Shand?
Shand: We're heading back to Europe. Things have really been happening in Italy. We have a record that, the last I've heard, was number fourteen at the charts there. It's fantastic. I'm part Italian so my first time in Milan was cool -- getting down there and getting to talk to people and tell them I was half Italian. Maybe that helped push the record! I love Italy. Amsterdam was great. Hamburg, Germany, was fantastic. I love Europe. I love seeing the world and being able to travel.
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