It is a very good time to be New Brunswick native David Myles. The charismatic musician has seen his career grow by leaps and bounds each year since his 2005 debut record. And just when he thought his career couldn’t get any better, 2013 proved him wrong.
Last year saw the release of Myles’s most recent record, In The Nighttime. The ambitious double CD set was comprised of two separately themed albums.
The first disc is what Myles’s fans have come to expect from the musician over the last decade: an infectious meld of pop, folk and jazz music. The other disc in the collection was a six-song EP of contemporary pop, produced by his hip-hop pal and multi-platinum selling artist, Classified.
At first glance, the pairing of Myles with a hip-hop artist might strike the casual observer as odd. But since 2011, the first time the duo collaborated on the Classified track “The Day Doesn’t Die,” there has been a deep mutual respect and collaborative spirit at the heart of the friendship between the artists.
Their collaborative friendship was thrown into the spotlight (in the best way possible) when the duo’s song “Inner Ninja” raced up the charts last spring. Although the track is on Classified’s record, Myles’s contribution to the song about positive empowerment plays a crucial part in making the song what it is.
Despite now being more than a year old, “Inner Ninja” is a single that refuses to die. Last year, it won the Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year (Myles’s first Juno Award) and is nominated once again this year for the Single of the Year Award. The song is the best-selling rap single in Canadian history with more than 320,000 copies sold.
“Being a part of that song has proven to be such an amazing journey,” Myles says. “Somehow, it keeps finding a new audience and just won’t stop growing. I think it’s the ultimate kind of testament to what a unique song that it is.
“The impact on Classified’s career has been big but it has also has a major impact on my career as well. There has been a lot of good spillover. You can see the light go on for a lot of people who know the song but didn’t necessarily know the guy singing alongside Classified. To be part of a popular reference point like that is just amazing.”
Not coincidentally, In The Nighttime singles like “So Blind” have proven to be the most popular of his career. Myles credits the success of “Inner Ninja” as having perfectly set the stage for his latest record.
“I was very fortunate to have had ‘So Blind’ be a success so quickly after ‘Inner Ninja’ hit. Being in that position and being able to follow-up so quickly really was perfect timing. Had I not had In The Nighttime ready for release when ‘Inner Ninja’ hit, I might have lost some momentum.
“I think that is the biggest challenge to any musician’s career: how do you move on quickly enough after having been in the position of being part of a hit? I found the biggest thing was to not get totally caught up in it. Last year was a huge year for me. I had fun and celebrated the song’s success, but I ultimately felt as though I wanted to get back to songwriting. It is good not to be complacent. I tend to get antsy when I am not writing songs.”
Having already won four awards in previous years, Myles is heading into next month’s East Coast Music Awards in Prince Edward Island with six award nominations. He says that being a part of the East Coast music community is an immense source of pride; being recognized with award nominations is simply the icing on the cake.
“This is my community so to be in the position of getting recognition from my peers and the folks in the industry is really exciting. I am looking forward to spending the weekend catching up with everyone,” he says.
Myles’s performance in Moncton this Saturday night sees him teaming up once again with the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra. Having first performed with them at the East Coast Music Awards in Moncton in 2012, Myles is looking forward to performing alongside them once again.
“When this opportunity came up, I absolutely had to jump at the chance to work with them. I was simply blown away by how good they were the first time I performed with them. It was actually a little intimidating,” Myles laughs.
“For me, it is bigger than just having a 40- or 50-piece band behind me. I grew up in Fredericton playing the trumpet. The New Brunswick Youth Orchestra was always something that I wanted to be a part of. And though it didn’t work out for me, I have long had a huge admiration for their work and how much work they put into it.
Last month, New Brunswick Youth Orchestra percussionist Olivier Martel told The Times & Transcript that playing with a guest artist is always fun. Performing with someone like Myles takes things to a whole other level.
“It’s such a great opportunity for us to play with someone who’s not specifically in the classical genre of music,” the 21-year-old Université de Moncton student said. “We’ll be playing in a different setting that’s not so strict, with a little less pressure. We can have fun and I would say it will be fun in getting to know another artist as we rehearse, too.”
Article published in the March 19, 2014 edition of the Times & Transcript