This week we feature George Chenery, a bassist who is quickly becoming one of Toronto’s most in demand players. Moving from his native England in 2007, he enrolled in Humber College’s Bachelor of Music in 2011 where he has received both the Bass Faculty Award and the Yamaha Music Canada Scholarship.
We caught up with him to see what he’s been up to since Jazzology.
1) When did you participate in the Jazzology program?
I was on Jazzology in March 2014!
2) Describe your experience with the Jazzology program. What was your favourite aspect?
I had a great time doing Jazzology. It was really nice to sit down and reflect on what drew me to music originally and how that love has developed. It’s not often you get to spend a whole hour just talking about yourself, haha.
3) Would you recommend this experience to other young musicians? Why?
I would 100% recommend this to any young musician. It’s a great chance to reflect on your influences, and in my case it also forced me to get some original material ready to put on the air. It’s a great way to create a record of where you were at a specific point in your career/life.
4) How has this experience helped in your personal and professional development?
As I mentioned above it forced me to get some original material to a point where I could present it. In the process of picking songs for it I also had a chance to reflect on what links the music that is important to me. This has helped a lot with deciding what kind of projects I want to pursue.
5) This program is made possible by our generous donors and sponsors who strongly believe in the importance of arts education initiatives. If you had the opportunity to thank them in person, what would you say?
What you guys are doing is very important! So much of music education is very insulated from the real world and it can be hard for students to break through into real world opportunities. To have a chance to be featured alongside your mentors and professors on a radio station people respect is a huge confidence booster and a great learning experience.
6) Why is music education important?
Speaking personally, music education was helpful in expanding my understanding of what is possible musically. At the end of the day you have to teach yourself to play your instrument, but mentorship and education can lead you along the best path to get where you want to be and point you in the direction of music you wouldn’t have come across yourself.
7) Since participating in the program, what have you been doing? (education, scholarships, graduation, studying abroad, awards, grants, recordings, tours, employment, collaborations, etc.)
I’ve been really lucky to be involved with lots of musical projects that I love! I’ve been performing a lot with Lady Be Good; we do private and public events and this year we released our first album, The Christmas Album! (www.thechristmasalbum.com) Kitchen Orkestra, the Balkan/Celtic group I play with has done several local residencies and just started our debut album, which is exciting. A lot of my time this year has been spent working with Kalyna Rakel, an up and coming jazz singer. With Kalyna I’ve been dipping into the producer/engineer side of things as well as playing bass. Our latest project is a YouTube series called ‘Straight 2 Tape’ that I’m really happy with! In between this stuff I graduated from Humber, where I was lucky enough to win the Mike Downes Award, played six months of weekly shows with The Hit Pickers and recorded an album with L.A. based singer Tara Beier.
8) What are your plans for the future? (Any short term events or long term plans?)
I’m really excited about all the projects I’m involved in! Kitchen Orkestra and Kalyna are both working on new albums, which are sounding great. I recently bought some analogue recording equipment and I’m going to be producing E.P.s for some of my favourite up and coming Toronto artists, so I’m really excited about that! I’d love to be doing some touring in 2017 as well, so we’ll see what comes up.
9) How can people learn more about you and your activities? (Website, Twitter handle, etc.)
I tend to get sucked into social networks so I’ve avoided Twitter, but if you’d like to find out about any projects you can find them at www.kitchenorkestra.com, www.ladybegood.com, www.kalynarakel.com, or if you’d like to get me specifically you can email my full name at gmail.com!