“Today’s successful artist places, in my opinion, performance, image and appearance above the music. Unfortunately our “successful” artists, sound the same, look the same… and are singing one perpetual song. I think we have lost our way in this industry. I am a 58 year old white man, whose better days are far behind him, who’s Greg Almond blond locks have left him long ago and who’s shape happens to be rounder than taller now; but interestingly my voice still sounds young. So the challenge of course is, what will happen when they see me?” – Paul GoLian @pngcan
Listen to the Interview
Episode #319 : A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax : http://www.blogtalkradio.com/avaliveradio/2016/04/28/episode-319-ava-live-radio-behind-the-music-with-jacqueline-jax
GETTING TO KNOW PAUL GOLIAN
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
One of the interesting aspects of my returning to the industry now is that I will be involved in two completely different eras. In the 70’s a performer, band was entirely controlled by someone else. That is, you couldn’t do it yourself, you didn’t have access to the resources. I think we sent at least 100 tapes to labels, producers, radio stations to be heard. And unless you had the financial resources there was no way you could record yourself, manage yourself and promote yourself. You needed a label to “discover” you.
Today, I have bought all of my home studio gear from ebay for under $500.00. I mean its not a professional set up, but it is sufficient to self record. That $500.00 in the 70’s might have bought you 5 hours of studio time period, nothing more. Now it can provide you the entire product.
Now to promote it. Our information age has liberated us, so much so we can get all the information we need for free to “do it yourself” (DIY BABY!!) It is also a universe of exposure. No more begging, bribing, pleading to just listen to our tape please, it has become an open forum for anyone and everyone to hear. So to that extent, today’s industry is the musicians industry once again, not just the label’s industry.
However, the successful “mainstream” musician has become the measuring stick. And that troubles me. Let me make one thing clear here, I will not ever say anything derogatory about any musicians music…. it is theirs, it is their soul for all of us to hear, one may not support the genre, but it is still wonderful music. With that being said, since the turn of the new century a “mold” has been developed, and if you as an artist do not fit into that mold, you will likely not succeed regardless of how talented you are or how incredible your “music” is.
Today’s successful artist places, in my opinion, performance, image and appearance above the music. Unfortunately our “successful” artists, sound the same, look the same… and are singing one perpetual song. I think we have lost our way in this industry. I am a 58 year old white man, whose better days are far behind him, who’s Greg Almond blond locks have left him long ago and who’s shape happens to be rounder than taller now; but interestingly my voice still sounds young. So the challenge of course is, what will happen when they see me?
I’ll admit, this wonderful opportunity you provide me worries me…I’m a grey haired balding old guy…..should I dye my hair (what’s left of it) and my beard? Do I buy a mullet, (HOCKEY HAIR – YEA BABY!) should I wear sunglasses so you don’t see the bags under my eyes from a extremely stressful career as a Barrister & Solicitor?…… No, I am who I am and that’s all that I am. Take it or leave it. But I do recognize that many will be turned off by this appearance because I don’t “fit the mold” But, music is the language of the soul…. if you have one, you speak it regardless of who you are, or what you look like. Sooooo, today’s industry is whatever you as the artist want it to be. There should be room for all of us.
Contact, connectivity, access to so much from so many. The challenge is weeding through it. With the good, comes much bad too. As a practicing attorney I had to learn how to listen to my clients tell their story and pull out the relevant facts that arise in law. I became pretty good at it. This, however appears to be a greater challenge. I don’t have the background, (yet) to filter. What should I read? What/who should I follow? Who should I trust? Who can help me? Who just wants to sell me something and couldn’t care less about my career? etc etc etc……So I have just left the starting block and I’m looking at the rear ends of most artists ahead of me. But I’m willing and wanting….so I hope to catch up soon. Besides I have the good folks like you to help me.
Singles vs. Albums…
At these early stages of my re-entry I suppose singles are the way to go. I have written about 20 songs in the past 12 months. I have recorded 9 of them so far. I have 7 of the home mixes uploaded on Reverbnation.com and on jango.com to stream, and I have each single on bandcamp.com for sale. I intend on having all 20 recorded and mastered by the end of the year and released as 2 albums. I think for the listener, singles are the best experience. Buy the one you like. But I do remember the days when you would bring home that album, Knowing the 2 or 3 hits on it, but excited to hear those hidden gems on side 2. Now you can stream each song to decide if you want them all or just 1 or some. What a wonderful choice for the listener.
I would love to have 5 minutes alone with……….
What are you thinking? If you were here today what would you think of this world? Do you think your message was lost after your death? Who are we now? Why is it that we care about the wrong things? Have we lost our way? Or did we ever know the way? What would your music be like today? He was an artist that inspired me to sing, to play, to write, to protest, to believe in myself, and importantly to think in music.
Too much emphasis on being trendy, current…
Yes. Absolutely. But only if your desire is to pierce the glass ceiling of the mainstream “successful” music industry. As I indicated in my answer to question 7, we are a popular society, we are consumed by “what are they wearing”, “who is their BFF”. We have “successful” people that we hear about daily, whose entire success is predicated on social media by being trendy and current even though they are not artists, not musicians, not politicians, not scientists, not actors, not authors, not teachers….they give nothing to culture other than being trendy and current and in our faces all the time, yet they are deemed to be “successful” Perhaps from a monetary perspective, but how did we get here?
I am most afraid of… Failure.
Always have been for as long as I can remember. I define failure as not reaching my goals even though I put all the effort, knowledge, skills, resources I had into it….so that must mean I am just not good enough. Can’t take that, can’t accept “just not good enough” If we try hard, work smart we should reach the goal we set….right?
Personal Definition of Success…
As stated above in 12, reaching your goal, whatever that may be, how complex or simple, how high or low to reach, is my definition of success.
My life has been filled with tremendous successes and devastating failures. Each one compelling me to move forward. Making my Call To Bar would be an obvious success, but in my mind my most cherished success actually led me on my path to my largest failure. It’s all relative.
When my 2nd wife Lisa died in the car crash, our daughter Elyse was only 9. I was working primarily in Toronto, too far to commute, so I lived there Monday to Friday and came home on the weekends. I had to make a choice, do I let my daughter be raised by care givers after losing her mommy, or do I rethink it all. At the time I was a senior government executive. I chose my daughter and left my career.
We stayed in our hometown, that’s where her friends, family, school, all the stable things were. I focused on her. At that time I had my undergrad and my masters. So I decided at 42 to get my Juris Doctor and study law while focusing on Elyse. I studied at Windsor U which was just an hour drive from home. So I commuted, always home to get her to school and home when she got back. Had a back-up in the community in case something happened during the day. I then got my call to bar and opened a law practice in my hometown. The whole while focusing on Elyse. When her mom died Elyse became a very quiet sad girl. Today she is a bright, happy, beautiful, loving, funny, skilled, young woman of 25, successful as a Manager at that young age. I believe focusing on her and not my career was the key. My career however eventually failed. The stress of which impacted my health terribly and forced the failure and eventual closure of my practice and removal from the Bar.
But all I do is look at that incredible young lady of mine and say to myself….”yup that was sure worth it”
Overall goal for life & Career…
I think I have reached my life goals. I have a wonderful spouse, incredible children and a great extended family. I am Bill Gates wealthy in “the capital of love”
My career? well, I was at the top for a period of time as a successful executive and then Barrister Solicitor, so I suppose I achieved that goal, then. Now, in my second life, I have this opportunity to resolve that single regret I carried my whole adult life…”why did I stop playing?…. what would have happened if I just kept playing?.
I have the opportunity to find out. I recognize its not the same, I was a far better musician then, my voice stronger, my skills superior then, my hair longer (and blonder) but I am taking this opportunity with my eyes wide open, and I will take it as far as it will let me go.
My dad taught me something that I have tried to live by , mange by, teach by, learn by my entire life since:
1. Never back away from anything.
2. Whatever you do regardless of how insignificant or important, do
it the best you possibly can;
3. If you do not enjoy doing it, don’t do it, find something else.
At 7 years old, I along with my 7 siblings…
were all perched on the living room rug with our parents on the couch on a Sunday evening in February to watch the Ed Sullivan show as we did every Sunday evening as a family. The Beatles came on and GOOD GOLLY MISS MOLLY! I turned to my parents and said “there, that’s what I want to be” So my parents registered me in music school, first the accordion, then piano. At 13 while in the 8th grade a new student came into our class, Steve Dixon, he was cool, looked like Paul McCartney and could play guitar. We became best of friends and he taught me how to play guitar, and I taught him how to play the piano. We would spend literally every evening from there on practicing our best Lennon and McCartney accents, but most importantly growing a musicians and songwriters.
At 16 we formed the band Theatre of Life, which was somewhat of a pre progressive rock band . Then we discovered Genesis (Gabriel version) and were hooked. We brought in other very talented musicians and became a serious Progressive Rock band blending masterpieces such as Genesis’ “Supers Ready”, and Yes’ “And You and I” along, of course, with a good supply of later Beatles, and most importantly, at least half of our shows consisted of our own music written by Steve and I together, or independently.
Steve’s dad, Dick Dixon was the leader of a very popular Canadian country band – Dick Dixon and the Country Nights. They had albums out and were a mainstay on a Canadian Sunday Television Variety show – The Tommy Hunter Show. He was working on getting us an audition and signed with his label Polydor Records. We were 18 at the time. However, Tim our bass player left to join the army, and Steve met a Jamaican Girl, and eloped with her to L.A. So we fell apart at that time.
I played solo acoustic shows for a couple of years, but stopped and went back to school eventually earning a Juris Doctor and became a lawyer. At 58 and due to health complications I was forced to close my practice and semi retire. I teach business law at a Community College part time to keep sharp but wonderfully all of that creativity I had parked way back somewhere in my soul came pouring back out. Took my Ovation out of storage and started to play again, and write. I’m less than a year back into it but so happy to be back home.
I have been married 4 times (twice to the same wonderful woman) My first marriage was while I was in school, very young, immature didn’t last long, but I have my 2 wonderful sons from that marriage. My second marriage was for 14 years and brought one of my loves of my life, my daughter Elyse from that marriage. My second wife died in a car accident in 2000. In 2002 I met my current wife and married her in 2004. We struggled at first and divorced just 3 years later. But we loved each other so much and couldn’t stay apart so we remarried in 2011. The song is a tribute to my Lisa, being in love again….”Feels like, I’ve been here before…..Feels like I am here once more”. Not everyone finds love in their lifetime, I have been so fortunate to have found it with 3 people especially my current love….twice with her.
The song it self is…
a very simple one, I actually wrote the initial chords (that funky countryish progression) back in the 70’s as a response to the Rolling Stones recording and writing a country song, but it wasn’t intended to be anything serious. I started playing again and then developed the chorus section at the end of the song which is actually a complex variations of chords (although it doesn’t sound like it) and the two joined together beautifully so I finished the song recently for Lisa. I wanted it to have a 50’s/60’s skittle band cheap sound, with early Elvis echo type vocals. I had a blast recording it, as it is not really my style, but a lot of fun just the same. It’s a feel good “stand in the middle of a wheat field on a gorgeous sunny day and twirl in circles with your hands in the air” type of song.
The most wonderful part of music is…
that it is something different to each of us. It is subjective. We all have had that occasion when we hear a particular song and it sparks a vivid memory, perhaps happy, sad, funny, angry…but it is so powerful we attach the significance of our being to it. So to answer “how is it meant to be understood” is difficult at best. I submitted some rough mixes for fan review through tunecore, and the best review was for “Feels Like,” but I did not reach the ceiling identified as “being successful” The rest scored much lower. So, although I need to maintain an even keel in this endeavor, as humans, our egos do get in the way sometimes.
I was discouraged for a while. As musicians, we do want listeners to like our music. But I didn’t quit, continued I joined reverbnation, among other indie sites, and started to seriously pursue this dream again. The songs themselves are a variety of genre and era blending. One song, “He love me, don’t he” is a mixture of rock, (old white man) Rapp, folk, another “Girl” is a mixture of Motown, early Brit pop, and Latino Dance, even “Feels Like, which was selected for this interview is a merging of country and alternative. But there are messages in the music. “He Love Me” is obviously a accounting of the very dark side of social media…… the terrible things people post and say behind an avatar name, in the shelter of the homes, all in anonymity, mostly without consequences.
This song attempts to call them out….God loves me, why can’t you? “She Says”, although on its face sounds like two folks in a relationship having a tough time, is actually a conversation between a person and their God. (She in my mind at least, is a gender neutral word it has “he” in it too) so the verses are the back and forth conversation between them. So I guess the short answer is although I have intent in my music, especially the lyrics, my music is meant to be whatever the listener interprets it to be. Once it is played it is theirs.
With respect to marketing…
I must admit, I am getting very overwhelmed and appear to be a neophyte. I have been reading and watching many of Jacqueline’s help resources and I am seeing some light although faint, but I still do not have “a plan”. I am hopeful this incredible opportunity afforded me will be a giant leap towards that development.
I currently live in Port Huron Michigan…
A small boarder community with Canada. The area is just beautiful, living on the Great Lakes. I am originally from Canada, just across the Bluewater Bridge, from Sarnia, Ontario. Lisa is an American natural so I immigrated to here after we were married the second time. In our first marriage Lisa immigrated to Canada as my daughter Elyse was just starting high school at the time, so I didn’t want to disrupt her life with changing countries like that. Once she graduated from University and now is living her own life, I came over.
The music scene is vibrant here and the surrounding area. We are only an hour from Detroit, 3 hours from Toronto, 6 hours from Chicago so the diversity of sound and number of indie performers in the area is plentiful. In our little area we have some incredible performers. My best friend is in a cover band named “Ten Beach Drive” they are always booked. We have many smaller venues as well for the singer songwriter to perform at. I am looking to return to performing again.
Musican page: https://www.golian.bandcamp.com
Twitter page : https://twitter.com/pngcan