The nerves finally set in for David Myles three weeks ago when his latest and perhaps most daring album was about to hit the stands.
The multi-East Coast Music award winner and instrumentalist’s knack for seamlessly blending various genres such as jazz, blues, gospel, pop and folk, is well known.
However, his new album Into the Sun, which is expected to hit stores Tuesday, adds an international flavour to his repertoire, featuring a bold infusion of the spirited and rhythmic music of West Africa and Brazil.
Although proud of his labour of love, which took more than a year to complete, he was worried his fans might not feel the same way.
So far that hasn’t been the case. The reviews have been great; well-known Fredericton music critic Bob Mercereau praised the Fredericton native’s latest richly textured album for its “hypnotic grooves, layered vocals and harmonies” and goes as far as saying he’s never heard Myles’ voice sound better.
It’s another testament to Myles’ range and unquenchable thirst to keep evolving and bringing something different to his fans.
“Completing the album was a ton of work,” said Myles. “I really put a lot into it. For me there was a fair amount of risk. But I’m proud that I took the risk. It represents a lot of music that I’m into.
When I first started it was an experimental project and I wasn’t sure how I was going to release it. But then I was really happy with the way everything was going.”
Well known as an outgoing, happy guy, Myles’ latest work is a reflection of his personality. It offers a pallet of music that’s adventurous, free form, exuberant and happy.
“I love the music for its complexity and its beauty.”
In touring mode to promote his new album, Myles was planning to travel to England on Friday to spend a few weeks there before heading to Scotland to treat new audiences to his music.
So far his fans have liked what they heard. He played a few of his newest numbers for eager audiences at Fredericton’s Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival last month where he shared the stage with Canadian song-writing icon Steven Page. A perpetual performer at the annual event, Myles’ says playing in his hometown, like living in the Maritimes, provides a place of solace and rejuvenation.
“They know me as me, rather than a singer/song writer. I always want to do an extra special show when I’m home. “I love living in the Maritimes because it keeps me connected to my real life rather than just the life of a touring musician.”
The 30-year-old is dedicated to constantly improving as a musician, devoting much of his time lately to voice and guitar training. Myles is in a fortunate place, admitting he feels privileged having a full musical schedule and talented musical friends like Classified, Joel Plaskett and his wife, Nina Corfu, for motivation and sound judgement. “I want to stay interested and (have) people stay interested in me,” he said. “It’s about finding projects, finding sound that I’m really curious about and really interested in and staying really open to changing it up.” These are busy times for this East Coast born and bred singer/song writer. For Myles, exercise is the key to keeping his head straight with all his endless demands. Virtually every day he hits the gym, refreshing his body and soul.
“That’s what it is, exercise,” he said. “I try to do a ton of it. It clears my head, helps me refocus. Whenever I can go swimming in a lake or ocean, I will. There’s nothing like it. It makes a huge difference for me.” While in Chicago recently Myles was lucky enough to see his idol, the legendary Tony Bennett, perform. Witnessing the pop and jazz icon still seemingly at his peak – the unmistakable voice, style and swagger – gave Myles ample inspiration. While not comparing himself to Bennett, he’s aiming for his longevity, knowing it takes a lot of hard work and luck for it to happen.
“Bennett’s healthy and in great shape. He’s an inspiration to me. I want to be productive, make a lot of records over a long period of time. I hope to have a career 40 or 50 or 60 years long. I’m lucky to be happy, have the artistic freedom I have right now.”
In July, Myles gave his fans a little taste of his upcoming album with an early release of Simple Pleasures, from Into the Sun. Produced with Halifax-based hip hop artist Classified, it’s a joyous song with more than a little Latino flavouring. It’s an ode to the simpler things in life. Influenced by his recent vacation to Havana, the video depicts Myles, a man intoxicated by sunshine and good times, lounging and dancing by the beach. You can’t help but be envious of his seemingly genuine happiness. “I’m happy,” he said. “With this album I’m starting to think taking the risk was really worthwhile. It’s a bit scary. But that’s the thing, that’s part of what it is to play music. I’m excited about its release. I do think people will respond. So far people have.”