Genie Award nominated singer/songwriter Luke Nicholson's career has span the last 15 years, his previous singles "Breathe" "Satellites" and " Holiday" have charted in the top ten on several college stations across Canada, been in rotation on commercial radio and enjoyed constant rotation on CBC
"Breathe" and "Alone in Space" earned placement in the film Poor Boys Game (staring Danny Glover and Rossiff Sutherland), earning him a Best Original Song nomination at the Genies.
Fresh off the success of his critically acclaimed Ep. Satellites, Luke has just put the finishing touches off his new album Mad Love. Released in Jan of this year his singles “Just Fell Down” and “All Night Fever” have seen significant rotation on commercial, college and CBC Radio with “Just Fell Down” Charting in the Top 10 for 9 straight weeks on CBC Radio 2 Top 20 countdown and “All Night Fever” reaching top 40 on several commercial stations.
He was also recently nominated for two awards (“Best Song” and “Best Indie Pop Artist”) at the 2012 New Music Fest, and chosen to showcase at this years MIDEM music festival in France.
With the release of his latest album to date Mad Love, showcases at Reeperbahn, MIDEM , NXNE, CMW, Canadian Indie Week and a national tour and distribution deal in the works, a solid support staff around him, this artist is all grown up and taking that next step.
2004 Separate Notes EP
2010 Satellites EP
released through Bent Penny Records
Breathe - first single to college and mainstream radio
Holiday- rotation on CBC radio
charted #4 on CJSF 90.1 BC
charted #7 on CHMR-fm Burnaby, BC
charted top 10 on CJMQ-fm Montreal, QC
in rotation on K106.3 fm Sarnia,Ont
2012 Mad Love
released through GypsySoul/Fontana Dec 1st 2012
first single "All Night Fever" charted top ten on several commercial and college radio stations across Canada.
Second single "Just Fell Down" charted top 10 on
CBC Radio 2 Top 20 Countdown for 9 weeks straight!
Big Money sound
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The third album from Nicholson has a big-money sound framing a fetching retro-pop song collection ab...The third album from Nicholson has a big-money sound framing a fetching retro-pop song collection about a romance that led to his marriage. The lead single, "All Night Fever", has given lift to the nine-songs backed by seasoned musicians who add colour and drama to the singer's soulful pop vocals. Listen closely and you get a sense that Nicholson is a romantic and a Brit pop loyalist, with strains of Ray
Davies, Steve Harley and the "All You Need Is Love" session woven into his melodic tote bag of songs. How this fits into today's dance-pop scene is unclear, but it hasn't been an obstacle for Phillip Phillips or The Lumineers.
Luke Nicholson makes musical Mad Love
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I’m always a big fan of musicians who prominently feature keyboards in their songs. Whether piano o...I’m always a big fan of musicians who prominently feature keyboards in their songs. Whether piano or synth, it’s something that connects me on a slightly deeper level with a song or an artist, as a player of keys myself.
This may explain why my heart did a little happy dance with the discovery of Canadian singer/songwriter (and pianist and guitarist…) Luke Nicholson. His third album, Mad Love, is shaking it up on the Canadian airwaves these days and with good reason: his sound is so easy to listen to with lush arrangements and sing-a-long tracks. The perfect album to welcome spring because it makes you want to throw open the windows and let the sun shine in.
I had a chance to pose my FQQ (Four Quick Questions) to Luke:
1. You really seem to be getting a lot of traction with this latest album. How have you found this record different from the previous ones, both from creation to audience response?
L: On previous albums (Separate Notes, Satellites): Records I made in the past were great experiences but I was still growing up as an artist while recording them, so to speak; naïveté on my part allowed those around me to get their stamp on things. This time around I made an album that pushed me creatively, and one that completely captured who I am, I think that is reflected in the audience response.
My fans are a little older now and they relate to my life experiences as I do. I guess I’ve really made my self more accessible to my fans by being more honest and open as a songwriter…it in turn has created a bigger connection.
2. What was it like having your brother involved with this one?
L: It is always nice to have family help out…it is of course great when they also happen to be a Juno nominated song writer…Royal lent his voice to a couple tracks singing harmonies and back ups on The Getaway and We All Need. He and I have this great symmetry with our voices when we harmonize together going back to our days in high school.
3. What comes first when you craft your songs: words or music?
L: It is never the same twice really…some songs are a rhythm thing, others the inspiration comes from a single phrase or word, others it is definitely all about the melody and then trying to shape words or phrases around the notes.
4. Mixtape challenge! If you had to create a mixtape that would provide the soundtrack to your life right now, what and who would be on it?
L: That’s such a great question!! Let’s see:
Sam Roberts -Uprising down Under (truly a beautiful and inspiring song by one of Canada’s greatest songwriters, also happens to have profound sentiment to my wife and I)
The Beatles – Don’t Let Me Down/ Rain (I make it a rule to have two Beatles songs on any mix tape)
The Lumineers – Ho Hey (I just wish I wrote it!!!)
The Beta Band – Dry The Rain (It’s about speaking up and speaking out, being heard..and I am definitely doing that right now)
Sly and The Family Stone – Everyday People (this song could describe me every day, I am quite simple with my wants and needs, and am quite accessible to anyone who wants to listen)
Take a listen and if you like it, head over and vote him up on CBC Radio 2 or buy Mad Love. It’s good stuff.
Luke Nicholson Digs Deep For Mad Love
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A lot has happened in the life of Toronto musician Luke Nicholson in the two years since the release...A lot has happened in the life of Toronto musician Luke Nicholson in the two years since the release of his acclaimed record Satellites. Most notably, Nicholson is a happily married man now which has, not surprisingly, become a running theme throughout his newest record, the pop-infused Mad Love.
Produced by drummer/percussionist Roger Tavassos (Nelly Furtado, Jacksoul) with songwriting assistance from Royal Wood and Adam King, Nicholson will be the first to tell you that he feels Mad Love is possibly the most accurate representation of his work to date.
He is set to perform at Plan B Lounge, located at 212 St. George Street, Friday night. The show time is set for 8 p.m. as part of Musik Central’s The Fall of Rock. His show will be followed by a performance by local band Rockabilly Rednecks.
“In the past, I have never gone into making my records with having a theme that was central to the songs,” Nicholson explains. “But with Mad Love, the whole concept of the record was to try to make an album where the songs do happen to share a theme. When I was writing this record, it just happened to coincide with me having gotten engaged and then married. It is a record that is centred all on relationships.”
Nicholson’s journey into wedded bliss opened him up in new ways. Not only did he grow as a person in the last few years, he also grew as a songwriter, venturing into new musical territory including ballads. It was only after the record was completed that Nicholson suddenly realized that perhaps he had shared too much of his personal life with listeners.
“I really opened myself up with this record; that will be obvious to anyone who listens to it. But then, it dawned on me one day that maybe I was saying too much. While I don’t go into too much detail with lyrics, my wife is fine with the detail that is provided. She likes the fact that she is the girl I am talking about in these songs.”
Though Nicholson might be wearing his heart on his sleeve throughout Mad Love, he kept a level head when it came to the production aspects of the record. He approached the making of the album with some trepidation as he felt that his last studio effort Satellites suffered from having been overproduced and over thought.
“One of my primary concerns going into the making of Mad Love was that it was not a record that would be overproduced,” Nicholson says. “I was very fortunate that my last record did well but felt that there was too much leniency given to letting the album’s producer leave his stamp on everything. I still like the record but looking back on it, I didn’t feel it necessarily represented me as an artist.
“I wanted to be sure that when people hear these new songs played live, whether I am performing solo, as a part of a duo or with a full band, they can put my record on and be given the same experience as they would be given if they saw the live show. It was a conscious effort on my part to be able to duplicate what you hear on record in the context of the live show.”
Royal Wood's brother Luke Nicholson releasing new CD Mad Love at Sept. 8 show at Gordon Best Theatre
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Luke Nicholson says he always had songs percolating inside him, even before he knew he was going to make music for a living.
“It was my job to mow the lawn,” he said, talking about his upbringing in Lakefield. “I used to sit there on that John Deere tractor and sing and sing — not other people’s music, just whatever came into my head. I was making those songs up as I went along.”
He still is — but now he’s in the studio and on the stage, not behind the wheel of a John Deere. Based in Toronto, Nicholson is set to launch his new CD, Mad Love, with a show in Toronto before heading to Peterborough for a show at the Gordon Best Theatre.
“I haven’t been back to Peterborough (to play) in years,” Nicholson said.
He plays Sept. 8.
The classic pop singer is very, very happy with how Mad Love turned out, saying his previous efforts were recorded live off the floor, and sounded it — this was a more textured affair, with producer Roger Tavassos working on adding layer after layer, and special guests coming in to add the instrumentation needed.
“I was finally able to do everything I wanted to do,” Nicholson explains, adding those lawnmower songs he heard in his head were finally coming to life. This is after two earlier albums, 15 years in music and a long-term Thursday night gig at the Cameron House in Toronto.
One of the new album’s guests was Juno-nominated singer-songwriter Royal Wood. He and Nicholson are brothers (Nicholson kept the family name) and look and sound a lot alike, right down to their classic-vintage taste in clothes.
Nicholson said he and his brother grew up surrounded by music, and it paid off, and it was good to have Wood in the studio with him.
“I’m really happy with Mad Love,” he said. “The hardest part of doing this record was saying it was finished.”
Now he’s looking forward to performing those songs. Because of the recording method, he points out, he’s never had a chance to really explore the tunes onstage with his band.
“I want to take this record all across Canada,” he said.
NOTE: Visit www.lukenicholson.ca to sample his music, including new single We All Need.
Elton John inspires fans and fellow musicians
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Elton opened the door: Songwriter
No day off for Memorial Centre
Elton John set list
Elton cancellation disappoints
Elton John back Sept. 19
Elton sings, and apologizes
Elton's Peterborough setlist
Nobody had ever seen anything like him: Big voice, hammering piano, giant sunglasses and an ever-changing collection of garish hats and colourful costumes.
More than 40 years later, the situation remains the same. And here he comes: Elton John headlines a show in Peterborough Sept. 8 at the Memorial Centre. Tickets sold out right after going on sale in May.
“I can’t wait,” said local fan Sugar Barry. She has tickets, knows a lot of other people don’t, and is OK with that.
“I grew up with this kind of music,” she said while shopping at Lansdowne Place. “It isn’t heavy, it’s just good music and I love it. It made me want to become a musician, but I never did. Nobody could be as good as Elton John.
There’s another story like that one: two young brothers, old records, and a new love of music. That’s Royal Wood and Luke Nicholson, from Lakefield. Both are elegant, richly lyrical songwriters who rely on piano and guitar to craft lush classic pop, and it’s not difficult to hear subtle strains of Elton John in their music.
“I love Elton John,” said Nicholson, who performs under the family’s real last name.
“My father had a huge love of music, but his brother had this massive music collection. He died when he was 20 so we had his records and we’d just listen and listen to them. So when everyone else was into whatever was trendy, when all my friends were listening to Michael Jackson, we’d be listening to Traffic and Jimi Hendrix and Elton John.”
He remembers the first song to catch his fancy: Bennie and the Jets, Elton John’s rousing, romping piano pumper.
That could be one of the songs lucky Peterborough fans will hear when John takes the stage at the Memorial Centre.
“We didn’t even bother trying to get tickets,” said fan Erin Acton outside HMV at Lansdowne Place. “We knew they’d sell out.”
Acton and her boyfriend like Elton John for long drives between Peterborough and Montreal, where her family lives. She’s a keyboard player herself, and at one time considered pursuing a career behind the ivories.
“If you learn a few Elton John songs you can always just sit down and entertain,” she said. “You can just lose yourself in the music. It’s timeless.”
Timeless indeed. From his early days as a pub piano player (1962) to his big breakthrough a decade later, John has maintained a steady, consistent career. A second round of hits in the 1980s (I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues, I’m Still Standing) brought in new fans, and there’s a generation of kids who know his voice, if not his name, as the man who sings the Lion King soundtrack. Through it all, John has toured and toured and toured, crafting big show after big show.
But not this time.
This is a solo tour, with John onstage alone. Just him, his piano, his colourful costumes and his lengthy repertoire of classic songs. You know them: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Daniel, Rocket Man, Crocodile Rock, Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, Tiny Dancer, Levon, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart and Candle In The Wind.
Nicholson performs at the Gordon Best Theatre the same night John is at the Memorial Centre. Which is good news, because a lot of people were disappointed when they couldn’t get John tickets back in May. The limited number of seats sold out quickly, and aside from a few radio giveaways and other special events, a lot of area fans won’t be there.
The show, though, hasn’t sparked an upswing in Elton John album sales. Staff at HMV say they haven’t noticed much of a change; the store stocks a few of the superstar’s classic CDs.
Back where it all began
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(PETERBOROUGH) Luke Nicholson is coming home this Saturday and that's good news for those who yearn ...(PETERBOROUGH) Luke Nicholson is coming home this Saturday and that's good news for those who yearn for something fresh on their music plate.
Born in Peterborough and raised in Lakefield, the singer-songwriter headlines at the Gordon Best Theatre on Hunter Street West, kicking off a Canadian tour in promotion of his first LP, Mad Love.
"I grew up playing music all over downtown Peterborough, at places like the Peterborough Arms, so I'm very familiar with the vibrancy of the city's music community," says Nicholson.
"The open stages, the musicians I met and worked with...there was no better place for me to learn the art of performance and be a better musician."
Nicholson learned his lessons well. Previous EPs, Separate Notes and Satellites, brought him campus and commercial radio airplay via singles such as Satellites and Holiday. But it was the single Breathe that served as his calling card, earning him a 2008 Genie Award nomination for its placement in the film Poor Boys Game.
"That (the nomination) was huge for me, really opening a lot of doors," he notes.
Recording Mad Love, he explains, was a good experience in that, unlike his previous recorded work, he had more control over the final result.
"Working on the two EPs in the studio was a great experience but I was still finding myself as an artist. I put more of my stamp on this album. It really captures the essence of who I am."
Also making a difference was the involvement of several musical friends...and one musical brother in the former of Juno Award-nominated singer-songwriter Royal Wood. And then there was his association with drummer/percussionist Roger Tavassos which led to them co-producing the album -- a partnership which gave the final result a more textured sound.
"Making a living in music is such a hard road," assesses Nicholson.
"There are a lot of hard knocks but if you truly love it, if you really want it, it will happen. And write, write, write. I used to write all the time. I've written songs on the subway. I've written songs in the car. I don't write as often now but starting out, that's all I did and it was good for me."
Meanwhile, those looking for some good old-fashioned sibling rivalry between Luke and Royal will find nothing but a healthy respect.
"I'm very proud of my brother and what he has accomplished and he's proud me," notes Nicholson.
"The bigger the light that shines on him, the bigger the light that shines on me. But we're completely different people musically.
" Way down the road I could see us doing something together. We both need to find out who we are as artists first but I know we're going to have a collaboration at some point."
Typical set is 45 minutes long or 12 songs. Covers are rarely done, however the occasional one makes it through.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.