East Coast Music Awards, Artist profile: Ian Sherwood

By Jillian Trainor
April 4, 2014

Is this your first time at ECMAs?

“No, it’s not my first time here. I’ve been coming here for a long time.”

How long?

“My first ECMAs I think was 2002, and I think it was here in Charlottetown. I was with a different band a long time ago, then there was a big stretch where I didn’t come at all until I started the songwriting thing that I’m doing now and then I started coming back. That was 2005 or 2006, which again was here in Charlottetown. Charlottetown is my favourite.”

Why is Charlottetown your favourite?

“I think probably because the first two I had ever been to were here, and I find it to be the perfect sized city for it. I’ve talked to a lot of people about it. It’s the camaraderie in Charlottetown. It might just be me, but I find that everyone kind of gels better here. Nothing against where it’s been in the past, ECMA week always ends up being a great time by nature of what it is, but for some reason, there’s something in Charlottetown that, for me, makes it a little more special.”

Any nominations?

“Not this year. I’ve got an album coming out this year though, so we’ll see. Maybe next year.”

Are you performing at any other venues?

“I’m hosting a radio show on ECMA Radio, tomorrow and the next day, and then after that my obligations are done for this year. It’s basically just working towards the album next year when it comes out, so it’s a lot of business stuff this year, like meetings and things like that.”

You’re the first artist to play the ECMAs this year. How does that feel?

“It feels great, I can scratch that one off the bucket list, I guess (he said with a laugh). It didn’t dawn on me until I was onstage thinking about it, I’m like ‘Oh wow, I think this is the first official showcase sort of thing for the ECMAs.’”

What got you into music?

“I’ve always done music since I was a kid. It’s really been the only thing I’ve ever seriously entertained doing. I thought about some other things when I was in university, just because I felt I needed to keep my options open, but that didn’t last very long. I very quickly decided that music was going to be it. I was a saxophone player primarily for a long time, and that’s actually my connection with Charlottetown, I played with the Jive Kings, which was a band that was based out of here.”

Technical difficulties on stage?

“I don’t know what happened, I think one of my cables are broken, or the battery died or something like that. That happens and you just kind of have to roll with it and try to make some lemonade out of it. It kind of sucks the air out of your set sometimes when stuff like that happens, but at the same time it can energize you. Suddenly you’re sort of shaken out of the dream of ‘Oh okay, I’ve played this song 100 times, I’ve played this song 1,000 times, just sort of walk through it’ and then something like that happens and you really have to think on your feet. You have to be completely engaged with what’s happening, which I try to do anyway. That sort of ensure that you’re not resting on any kind of muscle memory or anything like that.”

You jumped into the audience.

“What else are you going to do? They’ve got to hear you.”

Do you do a lot of audience interaction?

“I try to, it depends on the audience. I felt pretty good about these guys, so I didn’t think it would be an issue to ask them to do that, but it depends. Sometimes, you can kind of sort of feel it where people are having a good time, but maybe not necessarily wanting to engage too much, or be part of the show. That’s rare though. The shows tonight were 20 minutes long. By ten minutes in I’m asking them to do something, which I never do on a full show. I usually give them 40 minutes or longer to kind of get used to the idea of the show, but because the shows are so short I had to jump in quickly, but I think they did pretty well. I try to do as much as I can.”