Ania J, Singer for Fashion TV

I had been watching Fashion TV (FTV) via a newly acquired IPTV connection and, had noticed commercials for their initial coin offering (ICO). It was a music video I saw several times. Dug deeper and learned more about the offering and also, researched the artist behind the music video. Learned her name was Ania J and decided to reach out over social about the idea of writing a blog post. Thankfully she agreed ! Was excited as this was my first international and, non-Canada-based artist although, was to learn she has a strong Canadian connection ! Grew up in Kitchener ! Grew up on Hip Hop such that, even today her dog’s name is Biggie ! Was also to learn that Ania even went to dance hall parties growing up ! Her dad was a huge Beatles fan so, she heard a lot of them also…

Ania left Ontario at seventeen for New York with a modelling contract and then came back to Toronto and then was chosen from Elite models (out of 38 girls) to rep Canada then, came back and worked in Toronto as a model and then, went to Vienna to an agency called Stella models Europe in 2001. Ania had actually met Stella in New York. In Vienna Ania was chosen by Flash models from Milan and later also joined Elite model in Milan. Hanging with the modelari at this time, often at a club called Tocqueville, Ania got to meet a number of celeberaties such as Skin, Boy George, REM. Initially focused on modelling however, she harbored a secret desire to get behind the microphone ! It later came to an apex when she was at hanging with the modelari at a gig of Dj Joe T Vannelli and demanded the mike and started toasting the crowd asking “what’s up all you sexy mofos !!!!! Ahahaaahh.” Her colleagues were like “What ?” But club owner Luigi loved it adding, “Bring her anytime !” She did this repeatedly and then said she required they pay her. Ania was unique in that she started off as a rapper / toaster but transitioned into singing. First singing performance was at an Andrew Mackenzie after party with Boy George in Milan’s Gasoline gay club where a chance encounter with Kirk Pickersgill from D Squared lead to her gaining a fixture at Chandlier club in Milan in around 2002 until 2013. In 2010 she joined Florence-based , Italian house music duo Super Nova starting with a collaboration on the song Rock You.

Ania initially met the founder of FTV Michel Adam in London in 2001 at a Jamiroquai after party when he was just starting out and, she had just come to Europe from Canada for modelling. He founded FTV in 1997. They both shared Polish background and hit it off right away ! She was familiar with FTV seeing it played in her gym in Milan and, she imagined herself working there until her dream was realized ! Her dream was realized in 2006 when re-connected with Michel Adam at an event where she had been singing on his yacht in Porte Cervo, Sardinia and, since then has worked for him until today. She has became the voice of FTV. In her role with FTV she travels the world inclulding far away places like Macow, Shangai, Gwanzo and, Hong Kong. Like most artists, Ania is self-employed and, at some point during her time with FTV she switched from full to part-time modeling partly, to make more room for her musical role ! She also cut down on partying at some point such that now she strictly works 24 – 7 !

When writing songs for FTV, Michel Adam would give topics to write about and Ania would create and perform the song – writing the lyrics and often writing the music also using the piano. Songs born in this way have included: Trillionaire, Fashion is My Religion, Fashion Queen and, Crypto Millionaire. I asked why the title Trillionaire to which Ania replied “There are already a lot of Billionaires so, Michel Adam and I decided on Trillionaire.” Snoop Dogg is featured as a guest on one of her videos for the song ! Ania related how he had been spinning at an FTV after-party and decided to film the clip with Ania after hearing the song ! FTV has used this clip in the official video. She is currently working under the FTV banner on the soundtrack for a movie called Falcon Man starring Jean – Claude Van Damme. In particular, she is working on the theme song using piano and voice.

One of Ania’s latest, completely independent songs was performing vocals for Italian Dj Martine’s track ‘Stay.’ She also sang Fergie for the Black Eyed Peas at Just Cavali. Casino online wants to utilize three of Ania’s songs for gaming. On the evening of the day of our interview, Ania was leaving to play a private party in Milan. Ania along with being an independent artist organizes events. She does both private and FTV gigs and festivals “But always represents (FTV)” ! She travels a lot within Europe to perform gigs and was booked to travel in the days after the interview. Since the interview, Ania has travelled to Dubai (4 seasons NYE party with FTV), all over Italy, Venice, Rome, Milan, Poland, Tel Aviv, New York, Eliat in Israel, etc… Ania says she doesn’t even remember all the places she’s been since ! Ania related how she also sang for the ambassador and businessman Paulo Zampoli’s birthday in New York for the past three years. Ania J’s current genre influences come from: pop , club music, hip hop and rock but sometimes go far beyond e.g. jazz and classical. Some of her favoriate artists and bands include: the Beatles, Depeche Mode, Laura Pergolizzi, Prince, Michael Jackson, Madonna (everyone loves Ania’s cover of La Isla Bonita), Sia, Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga, Metallica, Queen, Amy Winehouse, Adele, Whitney Houston, Gweyn Stefani, Marilyn Monroe, Sarah Vogan, Eartha Kitt, Nina Simone, Ed Sheeran, Pharrell, Guns and Roses and many more ! She loves all types of music and influenced by many different sounds. She also loves Beyonce, Rhianna and Missy Elliot (whom she actaully met backstage at a Versace show – picture to come) ! Even loves some country acts such as Garth Brookes, Dolly Parton and Gwen and Blake.

Outside of work life, Ania is a Dog lover. I got to meet Biggie J a blue Chihuahua and, she uses social media to support three kennels. Believing in animal rights, she doesn’t use real fur and, is careful about what she eats ! From this it is clear Ania has a big heart alongside being musically talented ! She is now even organizing benefit shows to raise money for shelters.

Ron Korb’s Asia Beauty CD Release

The preview concert of fellow Socan member and international flute player Ron Korb’s Asia Beauty CD took place Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at Musideum located at Richmond
and Spadina, Toronto, Ontario. The room was at capacity and it was webcasted live internationally. Ron’s PR rep Glenda Fordham was the MC and had set the tone for the event with an entry in her blog . I arrived (one song in) to find Ron accompanied by co-performers Linlin Wang on the erhu (the Chinese two string violin) and legendary keyboardist Lou Pomanti on the Bechstein concert grand piano. Ron explained to me during an interview after the event that the date for the CD preview was chosen for good luck. It coincided with the Japanese Tanabata or Star Festival originating from the Chinese Qixi Festival occurring on the seventh day of the seventh month. The following songs all written by Ron, were performed: Mozart’s Wedding – a song about the circumstances around Mozart’s marriage was performed with Ron playing the gold flute; Little Jade with Ron playing the Chinese flute; St. Johann from the album Europa with Ron playing gold flute; Cuchulainn from the album Celtic Heartland with Ron playing the penny whistle; Forbidden Love from the album Asia Beauty with Ron playing the gold flute; and finally, Beckett’s Whisper – a song about Samuel Beckett from the album Europa with Ron playing the Irish flute. Prior to the publication of this blog, the Asia Beauty CD went on to be nominated for best new age album at the 58th Grammys! It also won five Global Music Awards including: Best in Show, Best World Album at the Zone Music Reporter Awards (New Orleans, U.S.), Best World/Global Fusion Award One World Music Awards (UK), Best Instrumental album from the Akademia Awards in (Los Angeles, U.S.), and Best Instrumental (Two Mountains from Asia Beauty) International Acoustic Music Awards. Ron was also named along with Adele and Keanu Reeves as Brand Laureate 2016 !
img_20150707_213608img_20150707_211927

Anna Cyzon

Following up on an invite from friend Jennie Laws attended a joint fundraiser held at Lou Dawgs on the evening of December 14, 2014 in Toronto. Before Jennie’s set Anna Cyzon took to the performance area. She sang alongside a guitarist who I later learned was soulful rock guitarist Geoff Willingham. The music could be best described as slow rock. Anna later described the names of some of the songs performed. They included Break which Anna described as a song about `Breaking up with someone who you once kept coming back to and allowing to hurt you.’ She described the opening lyric of this song: `No more second chances, you chose your battles wisely.’ She also described another notable song from the evening entitled Whiskey Stained Nights which Anna called ‘A piano ballad about desperately needing that one, losing them and yearning for that burning flame that was once their love to come back.’ Connected with Anna after Jennie’s performance that night at Lou Dawg’s at which time I arranged to interview her in order to better understand the workings of her career. We met several weeks later in her stomping ground of Roncesville, Toronto. During the subsequent interview I learned that she came with her family from Poland to Canada at the age of six. She spoke fondly of her Polish heritage. Her parents were a big influence. Her father performed Goralskie (Polish folk) music . Her aunt was a pianist. Jumping forward several years I learned that, prior to getting more deeply involved with music, Anna worked as an E Talk presenter which was a job she obtained after an audition on Canadian Idol. She recalled that the audition took place in 2004 – the second season with Kalan Porter. She describes herself as self-managed however her sister, who works at Universal Music Canada she explained, is closest to being her manager. She describes her music as pop rock adding that she has been doing the music thing ‘since diapers.’ We also discussed some of her video production shoots. Her first was Reputation, then Young Boy, the third was Love Me, fourth Electric Dir by Miz Monday, and her fifth made in 2013 is called Into the Sun. She describes herself as live-performance – focused. In 2010 Anna performed Love Me for Eurovision which earned her a following in Poland. The video of Young Boy apparently caught the attention of Kiss co-founder Gene Simmons who Anna said offered her a deal through his pop rock label Simmons Records. A deal she eventually declined. Anna also described an offer she received from EMI Eastern Europe in 2010 to record a new album after her song Love Me received second place in Eurovision. In terms of more recent developments: in 2014 and last month, Anna performed at the Roncesville Polish festival in Toronto. In addition, in a break from her independence, Anna released her most recent single Wannabe through FMLY on Universal. Very recently, Anna wrote and sang on Eminence’s Knock Me Out which is out on Monstercat and, also has a sexy video (Anna’s sixth) shot in Toronto!

2015-02-20 Anna Cyzon

Jenna Glatt at the Smiling Buddha

The performance by Jenna Glatt at the Smiling Buddha on December 6th, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario was exceptional. Originally from Ottawa, Ontario Jenna brings personable small town appeal from the nation’s capital to the big city of Toronto! She has also been writing and recording music in Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, and New York City, with live performances in Houston and NYC as well. By the performance start the venue was close to capacity. Jenna’s manager Richard Lawrence was in attendance and coordinating the event. I only caught part of the performance Dwayne Morgan and the DNA project which had preceded Jenna’s performance but the soliloquy poem he performed was fairly risqué if that’s the right word. The DNA project also provided musical support for Jenna and they were soulful and classy. As a unit they displayed both diversity and musical acumen. Jenna’s set once it started included: We are the Champions, Bring it Back, Let Me Be, Good Time, Deep In Love, Butterfly, How Do We Know, Cry, It’s the Little Things, High Beams, My Man, No Drama, Pending Love, Tonight and Numb. The crowd was engaged throughout and, to a great extent, electrified! Music was R n B / pop ! IMG_20141206_195041

Jennie Laws

Cruised by the Supermarket in Toronto, Ontario on the evening of August 10th, 2014. Every table of the back room performance area was filled. The crowd was composed. My friend and I had arrived part way into the first song. Jennie Laws was center stage and her supporting band was in full effect. Unusually for an indie / pop act she had violin and viola players in tow along side a percussionist, keyboardist and a guitarist. Jennie’s cover of Counting Stars by One Republic was the only cover for the evening. Following that Jennie broke into a string of original love songs which included Your Love, More Than I Can Stand, Heavenly, Right Here and finally When You Love Someone. Jennie made this last song highly interactive by getting the audience to sing a variation on the chorus which was complimentary to her emotion charged efforts. Jennie punctuated some songs during the performances with artistic poses and this added another unique feature to the show. She introduced the acoustic band members towards the end of the show and they included: Michael Shand on keys, Geoff Willingham on guitar, Derek Thorne on percussion, Andrea DeBoer on violin and Irina Koroleva on viola. They worked well as a team and Jennie’s voice was on point at all times. Sound was clear to the credit of Supermarket’s sound system and technical support. There was an organic ambiance to this show leaving the listener with fond memories.

IMG_20140810_193040[1]

Laurelle Augustyn

Checked out a food bank fundraiser event organized by part-time musician Derek Christie at Archibalds in Richmond Hill, Ontario on December 7th, 2013. Derek’s colleague Laurelle Augustyn performed solo with Derek Christie providing back up guitar that afternoon. Her music was folk and rock influenced but had a touch of soul to it. Her playlist included all originals namely: I’m Here, Unsaid, Lullaby and I Am Your’s. I asked Laurelle what each of the songs was about after the set and she replied ‘To get into what each one is about would take a bit of time and filtering probably. Suffice it to say that each song is highly personal and reflective of both circumstance and emotions. The last song, “I Am Your’s” is more of a resolve to settle into my identity of belonging to God Himself.’

IMG_20131207_155900

Toronto Open Mike Night with Zameer, Dead Shyre and LXRY

Caught up with Asian Canadian Rock artist Zameer Saturday November 9th, 2013 at an open mike he was hosting held at The 460 at Spadina and College in Toronto, Canada. Managed to catch most of Zameer’s set which included the following originals: With You , All That You Want, Heed, Loco , Oh Yea, Yo, Burn My Bridges, Amalgam Observatory. It was interesting to see the diversity of the audience. The band had a good energy and played well together. Unfortunately I missed the open mike portion but did manage to catch some of each of the sets of the other two featured bands of the evening: Dead Shyre and LXRY. Dead Shyre set had more of an edge to it. A little hard core for the uninitiated but definitely had something to offer any grunge fans in attendance. They seemed to mellow a bit towards the end of their set towards a Zepplin vibe. LXRY was a bit more alternative with basically two band members on stage including the quitar wielding Asian Canadian singer song writer LXRY and her supporting drummer. LXRY’s soliloquies told a story partly through creative use of vocal intonation.