The Canadian Music Week festival returns to Toronto for its 34th year. From May 2-8, more than 1,000 artists from 40+ countries will perform in 60 venues. Single night event tickets are available as well as wristbands. Participating artists will include both headlining and emerging acts. Many artists will have the chance to network with others and industry professionals to help build their future careers. Not limited to concerts, CMW has seminars, celebrity interviews, and mentoring sessions. There are also music-themed film screenings and comedic performances.
It’s been just over a year since musician Annie Sumi released her folk-country-rock album “Reflections.” According to her artist page on Facebook, she’s almost sold out and had to order a “bagillion” more. The album was previously recognized as one of CBC’s picks of the month. Annie was also previously nominated as a Toronto Independent Music Award songwriter of the year.
As part of the CMW festival she’s been playing 3 showcases. On May 2 she plays the Paddock. On May 3 she plays C’est What. And on May 5 she play’s Cherry Cola’s. Ahead of her showcases, Annie scheduled an online interview with byteclay.com.
Ryan Ayukawa: How have you been preparing for CMW ?
Annie Sumi: Well I am in studio right now, so lots of practicing happening before May tour time. Also just trying to reach out to as many people I know in Toronto in hopes of getting some friends and helpful strangers out to the gigs.
RA: Have the previous festivals, including Winterfolk in TO, given you a bit of insight into things like preparing set lists, and promoting?
AS: Definitely. I think every show I have played teaches me something about the best way of approaching the next gig. And the festivals have taught me a lot about making connections with people in a short amount of time – that’s what its all about!
RA: How was Winterfolk then? The audiences?
AS: It was great! Trying to achieve a festival feeling in the city, not to mention in the winter, is so hard! But they did a great job of creating community!
RA: Looking at CMW, other than your own shows, are there other artists you’re looking forward to hearing?
AS: So many people are playing, and I’ve been itching to hear some artists that I haven’t had the chance to play live.
RA: For anyone who hasn’t heard you before, what would you say is the part of your music that would draw in listeners?
AS: Sometimes I feel like my show is a time for people to listen, not only to me but to themselves as well. A lot of my music is inspired from introspective places – and a lot of people tell me that it has inspired them in various ways to take some time to listen to themselves. That is the best possible outcome, for me, at a show. Making music that makes people feel something.
RA: Do you have audience members approach you after shows, and talk about meanings of songs? Maybe not how you had intended in the songs?
AS: Always! When people can find reasons to relate to the lyrics they usually enjoy coming up and sharing how that particular song has brought forth some old memory or something!
RA: Do you have any lyrical songwriting heroes then?
AS: For sure – the obvious Joni Mitchell, and maybe less obvious (but equally reputable) Sarah Harmer.
RA: I had been telling Hawksley Workman the story of how about 17 yrs ago there was a Joni tribute at Harbourfront. And a young fan (singer Ember Swift) met her outside the women’s washroom. Joni said to her, hey, can you hold my cigarette for a minute? Have you had now any chances to meet any of your songwriting heroes?
AS: Amazing! Ya I had a run in with Kathleen Edwards at Quitter Coffee just outside Ottawa. Funny story actually, she almost killed me… A wild allergy mix-up! But I ended up being completely fine lol! Her beautiful and brief professional career was flourishing during a time when I was unsure of my own music, and she inspired through that time to keep pursuing this passion.
RA: What’s next after CMW?
AS: My showcases at CMW are the first dates on a month long May tour! So that is super exciting! The summer is already riddled with a few festivals and band tours, and in September 2016 my collaborative project called Hidden Roots Collective will releasing our debut-album!
Annie Sumi website.
Annie Sumi Facebook fanpage.
Canadian Music Week showcases
May 2, 2016 – The Paddock (178 Bathurst St.)
May 3, 2016 – C’est What (67 Front St. E.)
May 5, 2016 – Cherry Cola’s (200 Bathurt St.)
Canadian Music Week tickets available here.
Canadian Music Week full artist info here.
For more Toronto music news, visit here.