David Myles can now say he has the best selling rap single in Canadian history, but breaking into that music genre wasn’t in his plans.
“It’s an unexpected turn in my career path but it’s certainly a welcome one,” said the musician during a phone interview with The News from Halifax. “I don’t think I expected that when I started playing music, or even two years ago, I don’t think I would have said ‘yeah sure, I plan to have the best selling Canadian rap single of all time.’”
That single, Inner Ninja, also won Myles a Juno award, for his collaboration with Canadian hip hop artist Classified.
Myles is performing in Parksville at the Quality Resort Bayside September 17.
Growing up in Fredericton, Myles came from a musical family. He started playing the trumpet at a young age and all three of his brothers also dabbled in music, but his parents weren’t expecting any of them to pursue a career in music, he said. And as it turns out, his three brothers all became doctors.
Myles bought his first guitar when he was doing a foreign exchange in China. He said he was secretly into singing, and couldn’t exactly sing along while playing the trumpet. So while in China, with some extra time on his hands, he started writing songs, and he was hooked.
When he told his parents he was heading for a career in music they were less than enthused, he said.
“At first they were pretty worried and kind of devastated,” he said.
When Myles’ brothers graduated from their extensive medical schooling they received watches as gifts from their parents, he said. Myles was told that when he won a Juno he’d get his. During a visit this summer he found a watch waiting for him at the breakfast table.
“I guess that was their way of saying that we accept it and we’re into it,” he said, adding his parents are now very supportive of his music and attend many of his shows.
Myles recorded his first album in 2005 and then headed for Calgary. He played shows and open mic nights around that city before moving back to Halifax with his wife, where she was accepted into journalism school. But is was his second album that really helped him propel things forward in his music career, he said, after a song on the album won a couple prestigious song-writing competitions, and he garnered music award nominations.
“I think that motivated me to keep on rocking because it was that record that gave me the sense that I could do it,” he said. “That people outside of my family and my close friends dug what I was doing.”
Myles started working with hip hop artist Classified about four years ago. The two met at a music conference and hit it off, he said.
Although he’s always thought of himself as a roots singer, Myles always loved and listened to hip hop music, claiming to know all the words to Maestro Fresh Wes’ album Symphony in Effect. So when the opportunity presented itself to join the hip hop world he didn’t hesitate. Myles and Classified are now close friends and have collaborated on a number of projects. Myles said when the two were working on Inner Ninja they felt they had something unique, and when the song “went crazy” it was very rewarding.
“I didn’t expect it but it’s the coolest thing,” he said. “I’m so proud of it. I’m so happy that the first Juno I was a part of was Rap Recording of the Year.”
He said the distinction fits in well with his idea of a great music career, one that people can’t predict and one that is open to new experiences. In the process he has learned a lot about hip hop and said he has the utmost respect for the hip hop community in Canada.
Myles’ new double album called In the Nightime includes a full-length album with soft, jazzy elements and a vintage pop sound. The other disk is a six-song EP produced by Classified. Nick-named The After Party, it is rich with dance-beats.
Myles said the double album wasn’t intentional but instead shows the world what he was working on and where he is in his career.
He has always been a huge fan of Aaron Davis, a man he calls a bit of a “music genius” who played piano for years with Holly Cole. The two assembled a “dream team of musicians,” he said, and put them all in a studio for two days to record an album.
During the same time period he was working on another project with Classified and he was ready to record.
Myles is doing a big cross country tour of the album, and Parksville is his only stop on the Island.
In Parksville Josha Hyslop will open the show. Tickets are available at Quality Resort Bayside and Shades of Green in Parksville or online at www.arbutusevents.ca. Cocktails are at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Contest: Win two tickets to the show. Email email@example.com with “Send me to David Myles” in the subject line, including your name and phone number. Draw will be done Sept 5.