“My main goal is to make a living entirely from music.”
With a dream like that, Christopher Anderson-Lundy has been doing everything he can to make it come true.
Since participating in our Jazzology program in 2017 and graduating from York University shortly thereafter, the 23-year-old multi-instrumentalist and producer has been taking on all sorts of jobs and projects, none of which aren’t directly involved in music.
Anderson-Lundy has been teaching woodwinds and piano at Long & McQuade in Pickering. He’s been playing corporate events and other gigs as a sideman. He ended his tenure with the Toronto All-Star Big Band after winning their Scotty Woods Scholarship. He joined a musicians’ union on the advice of his professors, giving himself a support system as a freelancer in the music industry. And of course, he continues to make his own tunes as an independent artist.
But his main focus lately has been on the production side. That pursuit led him to an event hosted by American hip-hop and pop mega-producer Illmind, who went on to enlist Anderson-Lundy and a partner to create samples for a new virtual instrument bank he’s building. It’s a career path that not too long ago he never thought he’s find himself on.
“It was something I never even thought about doing, but it was a lot of fun and it got me working on releasing my own sample packs for other producers to buy and use in their songs,” says Anderson-Lundy.
We asked the young musician to tell us more about his experience with the Jazzology program, why music education matters so much to him, and where he hopes to go from here.
Nowadays you’ve moved on from learning music to teaching it. What instruments do you teach? Which is your favourite?
I teach saxophones, clarinet, flute, piano and guitar. I think I enjoy teaching saxophone the most since I enjoy playing it the most, but they’re all fun. The students are great.
Why is music education important?
It encourages and fosters creativity in ways that other school subjects do not. A student who learns about music is developing language skills, thinking critically about what they listen to, and studying culture all over the world, not to mention giving themselves a creative and emotional outlet for the rest of their life. Music is able to unify people and elicit certain feelings that other disciplines simply cannot replicate, and the more people who have been trained in that practice the better.
What are some of your favourite gigs you’ve played recently?
Recently I have been working with the Jazz Performance and Education Centre to put jazz trios in the Diwan restaurant at the Aga Khan Museum. It’s been super fun. The gig itself is very low-key and relaxed, and it has allowed me to work with new musicians and put people who might not have played together before in the same band. JPEC as an organization is making great strides in supporting young and recently graduated musicians, not only by giving them work but by hosting discussions with the young jazz community about how to create a better and more secure gigging environment.
Tell us more about your work with samples. What does that involve, and why did it appeal to you as an aspect of music production to focus on?
It came about from some advice I got from Illmind at a producer meetup in the winter. He told me that producers are always looking for melody samples and loops to work with on sites like Splice.com, and that I should use my playing and writing experience to come up with short, eight- to 16-bar melody loops to sell as sample packs. It appealed to me because it allowed me to write and improvise melodies, or harmonize with three or four saxes all on my own, while getting my name out there to producers. I am still creating my own tracks but this is just another way to make some money and meet more producers.
How was your experience with Jazzology? What did you like about it?
Jazzology was great. It was really lovely talking with Heather and getting a tour of the station. She was very helpful, giving me some contact info and telling me how to get my music on the air, where to send it and all that. I really liked that we could pick our own playlists to go along with our own recordings. It was a great opportunity to talk about some of my favourite music and hopefully get some more ears on it.
How did the program help with your personal and professional development?
Jazzology gave me great insight into how radio interviews are conducted, and how they source the music playing on the station. At York, making recordings for Jazzology is part of the jazz profession course, which taught me all about recording a live jazz group in a studio. As a student of music production I plan to use all that knowledge in future projects. It was also just a nice thing to be able to say to people I had been interviewed on JAZZ.FM91.
Would you recommend it to other young musicians?
I would certainly recommend it for all the reasons I mentioned above, it’s a great experience talking about your music and the music that inspires you with people who make music their living. The connections you can make and the addition to your resumé are good enough reasons on their own.
If you could thank our donors that support the Jazzology program, what would you say?
Thank you for supporting the future of the music community in Toronto. This city would be very different and boring place without our great music scene, and by donating you have taken one more step to securing its future. It means a lot.
What about your plans for the future? Where would you like to be years down the road?
My main goal is to make a living entirely from music, which has led me to pursue several paths in the music industry aside from performance. Years from now I hope to live in both a downtown penthouse and lakeside cottage between world tours, but I’ll certainly settle for an in-home studio and some people listening to my music.
You can follow Christopher Anderson-Lundy on Instagram.