With the JUNO Awards just around the corner, we caught up with Scott Henderson – a veteran in the Calgary music scene, who continually contributes as a multi-talented producer, performer, songwriter, and arranger for various artists and projects. Scott is the founding member of the JUNO nominated group The EarthTONES, and soul/funk band Souls in Rhythm. You may also be familiar with his work as the Music Production Manager for the Calgary Stampede Grandstand Show while being the Senior Vocal Director for The Young Canadians from 2008-2015, and the Artistic Director for their 2014/2015 year. Once upon a time, you may have seen him perform in the gazebo in Tomkin’s Park, but now you can often find him strolling the Ave for inspiration.
Tell us a bit about yourself? What gets you up in the morning?
Usually, there are two things on my mind when I get up… What’s gonna happen today? and, I’ve got a lot to do! Working solely for myself and for the artist that I represent, there’s no shortage of things I’m keen to tackle every day. I also keep the vision of my goals very strong, so that they have a gravitational pull to keep me hungry and moving forward.
What projects are you involved with right now?
I’m involved in a variety of projects right now. I’ve been working hard for a vintage country artist that I manage, Maddison Krebs, who has just released her sophomore record. I love her new songs, and it’s taken several dedicated years to get a strong national buzz going about her. I’ve begun recording Souls in Rhythm’s fourth studio record, and we’re back performing live! I’m gearing up to work on the 2016 Calgary Stampede Grandstand Show and also volunteer on the Stampede Talent Search committee. Lastly, I continue to conduct occasional performance and vocal workshops, and write, produce, and perform for various artists.
What’s your favorite JUNOs experience? What was it like to be nominated?
Finding out that you’re nominated is such a thrilling, validating, but humbling weight. It’s overwhelming and usually involves lots of jumping and screaming! Being nominated twice with the EarthTONES, I’ve been to several award shows, and I like the energy of being there. It’s also a great variety show that also has that “what’s gonna happen next” excitement! I got to sit beside Shania Twain my second year. I also got to be part of the JUNO Cup back in 2008. I played against Paul Coffey, Doug Gilmour (to name a few) but taking a face-off against Lanny McDonald in the Corral was absolutely my favourite JUNO (and possibly LIFE) experience. I entered the face-off circle and when I looked up, I was face to face with the legend – and in an iconic building no less!
What do you like to do when you’re on 17th?
When I’m tired of being inside, have a bit of writer’s block or just want a break, I enjoy strolling the Avenue with Caffé Beano or Analog in hand. You’re always guaranteed to see something or someone unique. You can think, observe and experience the unexpected. And sometimes you run into someone you know which is always excellent. I am also greeted all along the avenue by fond memories.
What is your favourite 17th Ave memory?
Ahhh, so many… I have many fond memories of the Republik (RIP) back in the day. Circa early 90’s, when Republik was first on the Ave you could go there pretty much any day of the week and see some great local bands and touring acts from Toronto, LA etc.
Another special memory is the day Canada won both hockey golds at the 2002 Olympics. The Avenue had never been utilized for celebrations before, and instinctively I, along with thousands of other Calgarians spontaneously flocked to 17th. I watched the games at home, and as soon as men’s final ended, I somehow knew without talking to anyone, that I should go to my fridge, grab as many beers as I could carry, and walk to the Avenue, pass them out and celebrate. Being only four blocks away, I was among the first there… and what a party that turned into.
Also, my first summer job was working for the 17th Ave BRZ. I really enjoyed getting to know all the business owners and store managers. This was pre-internet, so there was a ton of face-to-face interaction with the businesses. And a TON of walking!
Favourite place to shop?
I really like Steeling Home. I’ve given so many gifts from there. They curate a fun stock of items from the superficially quirky to heartfelt treasures for a lifetime. (That sounded like it was created by their ad agency!) I also buy a lot of second-hand clothes, so if I’m walking the Ave, I’m always popping into one of the places that have this covered.
What would you like to see on 17th in the future?
I wish there were a couple more live music venues. Morgan’s and the Ship are the last hold-outs. I’d like the unique entrepreneur or family owned businesses to remain vibrant. We certainly don’t need any more box or chain stores – or more bars (without live music). And I’d really like the sun to remain shining on most of the Avenue. Some recent tall developments have blocked out the sun on certain blocks.
What’s up next for you? ( What are you currently working on?)
I’m writing a lot for Souls in Rhythm, and The EarthTONES, and co-writing for a variety of other projects. I’m very excited to be playing in the upcoming JUNO Cup again with Canadian musicians VS NHL Greats on April 1st! Souls have a show at the Ironwood April 30th, a new record in late spring, and likely some touring again later this summer/early fall. I’ll be teaching some vocal/performance workshops out of town in May, and I’ll be taking lots of walks and rides in my ’59 Caddy on 17th Avenue this summer!
Stay up-to-date with Scott Henderson by following him online: