The upcoming 2016 Junos Awards will be a weekend of many firsts for Patrick Lehman. It will be the first time the soul singer makes it out to Western Canada to visit Calgary. It will be his first chance to perform at a Juno week showcase and attend the awards show. And most importantly, he’s up for his very first Juno nomination for Best R&B/Soul Recording of the Year. I chat with the Montreal native about his new album, Butchy’s Son, and what he hopes to get out of this Junos weekend in Calgary.
Congratulations on your first Juno nod. What was it like to find out you were nominated?
My publicist called to tell me I was invited to go to the Juno press conference and urged me to attend. I had no idea what to expect. I hopped in my car and drove from Montreal to Toronto without telling anyone where I was going. It blew my mind when I heard my name and my album Butchy’s Son nominated for Best R&B/Soul Recording of the Year. I worked for this, I wished for this, but I never anticipated being nominated this year. I feel I’ve won already.
You’re up against some big name acts like Alessia Cara and The Weeknd. What’s that like?
I think it’s been an incredible year for rhythmic and pop/soul music in Canada. I’m super stoked to be a part of the nominees in the R&B/Soul category this year. I really dig what Alessia has been doing and loved her first single from the minute I heard it. I’ve also been lucky to discover the music of August Rigo.
It’s such an honor to be nominated and to be a part of Juno Week in Calgary. I put in 18 months of passion, long days, and hard work into this new album, and it is so satisfying to be recognized. I am so proud to be a Canadian artist.
I hear you’ve never been to Calgary before – what are you looking forward to checking out?
I’m very excited to be visiting and performing in Calgary for the first time. I’ve heard it’s an incredible city. I’m looking forward to discovering some great resto’s and seeing what the vibe of the city is. I have a few friends who’ve moved to Calgary from Montreal and they absolutely love it. I will definitely check out Inglewood! I’d love to come back for the Stampede at some point too.
What are you most excited about your first Junos experience?
I can’t lie; I’m excited to walk the red carpet. I have been to a few award shows before but never anything like the Juno Awards. This is THE night that celebrates Canadian music and I am thrilled to be a part of it. I’m looking forward to seeing Bryan Adams and would love to meet him and speak with him. I’m also looking forward to seeing Jann Arden hosting. I hope they’ll be some cool surprises during the show. I’ll try to catch up with Ria Mae and head out to some after parties. I just want to take it all in and hopefully meet some new people.
Your music touches on so many musical influences from soul, hip hop, R&B and rock. Where does this inspiration come from?
I always start by picking up my acoustic guitar or sitting down at the piano, and write from my gut. I’ve always written about my life and my experiences, and that makes for the best songs. My goal is always to be as true to each song as I can without messing with it too much. A song like ‘Games’ was an easy one for me because when I wrote it, I was already hearing the drum beat and the horns, the piano chords and the vocal harmonies. I knew it was meant to be a soul-influenced pop tune.
I’m heavily influenced by the music of my childhood, which was the soul and rock and roll music of the 1960s and 1970s. Acts like Stevie Wonder, Aretha, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell are some of the artists which grabbed me from first listen when I was a teenager, and they still inspire me when I write.
Your album is named in reference to your dad. If he was still here, what advice do you think he would give you about the Junos and your music?
My dad was a passionate and honest man. If I’m being honest, he would probably tell me “Be yourself, just enjoy it, you worked for this, give ‘em hell”. I know he would be telling the world about this and he’d be glued to the TV.
What can your fans look forward to after the Junos?
Right now I am just looking forward to being at Juno week in Calgary and discovering the city. After that wild week wraps up I’ll be starting up some spring dates again in Toronto and Montreal where I’ll perform. Then I’ll be getting started on some new music in the spring, followed by some summer tour dates which I’ll be announcing in May.
Catch Patrick Lehman at his Junofest show at Lolita’s on Friday, April 1. The 2016 Juno Awards will air live from the Saddledome in Calgary on Sunday, April 3.