REMY SHAND at Revival (783 College), Friday (March 1), 8:30 pm. $25/wristband. 416-535-7888.
if remy shand doesn't break big,it certainly won't be for lack of effort.The Winnipeg-born, Toronto-based singer/multi-instrumentalist seems almost pathologically obsessed with "making it," and is disarmingly open about everything he's done to achieve that end.
Shand gladly admits he's ripping off classic records by Curtis Mayfield, the Beatles and Marvin Gaye on his forthcoming debut, The Way I Feel, and is more than happy to be lumped in with the current crop of new-school soul artists like D'Angelo and Maxwell if it means people will take notice.
So far, it seems to be working -- The Way I Feel's first single, Take A Message, is being played to death on television and radio. The problem is that Shand really isn't adding anything new to the equation.
He's clearly talented -- he produced and played the record entirely by himself. And maybe he's overwhelmed by the whole experience, but for a "soul" artist, Shand occasionally comes off as depressingly soul-less.
"I have no problem with being open about where my sound comes from," the unfailingly polite Shand offers between sips of black coffee.
"I think it's more important to reflect those sounds rather than break them apart and experiment with them. When I was making this record, I was living in a bit of a virtual world. It was a lot of trial and error, trying to get a George Harrison guitar sound or a Marvin Gaye drum sound.
"I'm happy to be what people want me to be. A lot of artists think the neo-soul thing is a pigeonhole, but I see it as a positive. It's revamped soul. Voodoo and Baduizm were huge records, and I'd love to be part of that."
Shand will have his chance, particularly south of the border. After being signed in Canada midway through the recording of The Way I Feel, the singer/songwriter was scooped up by new Motown Records head Kedar Massenburg as one of the label's "neo-classical soul" stars.
It's a tremendous achievement for a soul kid from Winnipeg, and Shand understands the significance.
"It's crazy, because you record a record at home and suddenly you're on this roster with Smokey Robinson," he laughs. "Smokey and I are actually going to do a project where we write a song for each other to sing.
"It's hard for me to get my head around the idea, but I'm excited."
For all the information about the Canadian Music Week visit www.cmw.net