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  • Annette Dawm

At Bat with Chad Price

Chad Price is one of London, Ontario’s rising stars who has made a name for himself in the city and at a national level as a singer-songwriter. Out of 10 000 people, Price was one of 30 artists selected to perform in front of music mogul, Scott Borchetta on CTV’s The Launch. In addition to Borchetta, Chad also sang in front of Dann Huff and Nikki Sixx. While Chad thought it was a “pretty cool experience”, he also found it to be a little intimidating:

“They told me the night before that my mentor was going to be Nikki Sixx. I had no idea beforehand. So it was little surprising when I heard that Nikki Sixx was going to be my mentor because I’m a folk, soul, R&B kind of guy. So [his music is] not my wheelhouse. It was a little interesting. I’m like, ‘Hmm… that’s kind of different’ but it didn’t change my approach in any way. I just wanted to go out there and sing the best I could and play guitar the best I could and put on a good performance. It’s something that I do all of the time so I wasn’t going to change it due to the audience. I was just going to do my thing and I was a little nervous. You know, I’m not used to being in front of so many cameras like that! There were so many cameras in there, but once I was out on the floor with them, I forgot that the cameras were there. It was just like every other time I’ve done it—playing in front of people. It became very easy and I got over the nerves but there were definitely some nerves at first, being in front of Scott Borchetta and Nikki Sixx and Dann Huff--you know, these icons of music!” He explained.

Unfortunately, unlike fellow contestant, Grace Bakker, Chad’s audition did not air on television and he was only seen briefly after being told that he would not be recording the winner’s song. For Price and his many supporters, this came as a “surprise”. However, the audition can still be found here. “They put it online, which is nice,” said Chad. “Everyone can see it online but it’s not quite the same as seeing it live on TV. So they told me that about a week beforehand that I unfortunately got cut from the TV version”.

On the bright side, he was not the only one. “Every week, two people got cut from the show,” he continued. “You know, that’s just how it ended up being in editing. They realized that they can’t show every audition. It would be too long. The show was an hour show. In order to show everyone it’d have to be an hour and a half to two hours. So, that’s just the TV world. I rolled with the punches. I got over it and it was never about winning for me. Honestly, I didn’t go on that show to win. I was there for the exposure, for the networking. It was an ‘at bat’, to use a baseball term in the music industry. It was an at bat to get in front of a lot of people and those [opportunities] don’t come along that often so I took advantage of that and the fact that I didn’t win was okay. I still gained a lot of exposure. I gained a lot of networking opportunities and it’s opened a lot of doors for me already in the industry. So it was a positive over all.”

Back at home in London, Price commented that the support from the community has been “unwavering” which has meant a lot to him: “Even when they realized I wasn’t on the TV version of The Launch, they rallied behind me and supported me, but outside of The Launch, they’ve been great since day one. They recognized that I have a talent… and they just keep showing up for some reason…. It feels really good that they have my back. They know who I am now and they keep coming out to shows. They’re proud of what I do and that makes it easier for me to continue to do what I do. It gives me the strength and courage and wherewithal to keep going in this industry that is very, very tough. So, without the city behind me, I don’t know what I would do. They help me a lot.”

In the early days of his career, Chad also received some words of encouragement from Lights when he opened for her at The Western Fair: “Oh, Lights was great!” he recalled. “She offered some really great, practical advice to survive the music industry. You know, reminding me that it’s not a race; it’s a marathon in this industry. You have to put in the work-- real work…. Like, you have to work every single day at this job in order to get success. So she just inspired me. She told me that she got to where she was after years and years of practice, failures and rejections. So I’ve really taken that to heart and it’s helped me a lot! She’s a great human being and a very talented person.”

More recently, Chad had the chance to open for Donovan Woods and Jim Cuddy on the Main Stage at the 45th annual Home County Music and Arts Festival, which was the highlight of the weekend for him. He was very excited, even though it was only a ten minute set, because it meant that he was able to perform in front of 800-900 people (if not more). “So that was an accomplishment and I loved being up there!” He smiled. “Hopefully I get a chance to be up there next year for a full set, like my buddy Ken Yates….”

It is very likely that out of those 800-900 people, some of them were experiencing Chad’s music for the first time and he wanted them to know that it comes from “a very real, honest place. It comes from personal experience.” He added, “I’m a pretty introverted person in real, regular life so I tend to put my message across through my music. That’s my vessel to communicate with people.... I use music as a means to communicate the deepest things in my heart and soul so it’s something that I need. It’s almost like therapy for me in a way. So hopefully when people listen to my music, they can connect with that honesty….”

People can still connect with Chad’s live music in the coming months as he plans to play several shows throughout Ontario before he ventures off into the studio (which he lovingly referred to as his “cave”) in order to make his next album. “I love creating, I love songwriting and I love putting it all together behind the scenes! So I’m looking forward to going back into my ‘cave’ and going underground into the lab and then emerging next spring with new music. Like the “Bat Cave”, he said the “Chad Cave” had a nice ring to it.

Looking ahead to 2019, Price said he “cannot wait for The JUNOS next year on St. Patrick’s Day” in London, which he stressed was “well-earned and well-deserved”. He mentioned that “the city has been churning out great, talented musicians for years and years” with artists like Texas King, Shad, Ken Yates and Ivory Hours (most of which have since moved away, but will hopefully return to London for the event). “They’ll really showcase what London has to offer…. The list goes on and on of the talent that’s present and that originates in this city. So I think that finally getting that light shone on London is important and is well-deserved. The city is on the up-and-up as far as music goes, with many thanks to The London Music Office which has helped that talent flourish…. London’s a great music city and we deserve this.” Along with the endless amount of talent, Chad noted that The Forest City also has the right people, infrastructure and facilities to host The JUNO Awards.

As for his long-term goals, Price expressed that he would one day like to work with American artist, Tori Kelly. If that were to happen, he said he would have to compose himself after “freaking out for a good 10-15 minutes.”

“That would be amazing! I would love to write a song with Tori, like an R&B or a folk-soul song—just anything! I’d just love to be in the same room as her, collaborating. I don’t know what would come out of that. I don’t know what kind of music-- what kind of song it would be-- but just the opportunity to work with her would be a dream come true! Yes, she’s a beautiful girl with a beautiful voice but before all that she’s super talented! She’s a powerhouse! She can write a song, she can sing like an angel and it would be a real privilege to work with her. I would get over all of the personal bias and jitters. She’s married now anyway!” He laughed. “It’s over! The dream is over!”

In reality, Chad Price’s dream of maintaining a successful music career is far from over and he had a lot of advice to offer to those following in his footsteps: “I would tell them that it’s a very tough industry. I would not mince words. This is not an easy thing to do, so you have to love it. Don’t just do it because it’s something you kind of like and maybe it will work. You have to love making music. You have to love the business part of it as well and understand that just because you are a super talented person, it doesn’t mean that you will find success. You also have to be a good human being and support others around you. Being a good human being sounds so simple, but a lot of people don’t know how to do that. They don’t. But being a good human makes people want to hire you, work with you and be around you. It really helps your career. Don’t be full of yourself. Be ready and be ready for rejection as well because there’s going to be a lot of rejections. There’s going to be a lot of no’s. You have to continue to strive forward and not worry about the no’s. It only takes one yes out of a thousand no’s to really propel your career. So keep going! Know that it takes time. Don’t expect it all in a day and keep bettering yourself as a musician! Practice! Play as many shows if you can, even if they’re not great shows! Even if you don’t perform well, those are going to make you better down the line.”

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Photo by Annette Dawm.

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