Q1. “Breathe” is centered around happiness obviously everyone faces obstacles and unkind actions on a day-to-day basis. Is there any big one you had to face, that you still may think about and wonder if you did things differently would you be in the same position?
A1. I have faced many challenges in my life.. This album was inspired by obstacles I have faced over the past 2 years; everything from getting harassed by homeless people to working a job I hated. I wouldn’t do anything differently; things tend to happen for a reason and everything always works out the way it’s meant to in the end.
Q2. Do you prefer to write in silence or with some of your influences in the background as noise?
A2. I tend to write songs at completely uncontrollable times. It usually happens when I’m walking or on the train, so there’s usually whatever I hear when I’m walking. I tend to focus on the writing though, so I don’t really notice any other noise when I’m writing new material.
Q3. What is the series “Busks for Sheila” suppose to be about?
A3. In addition to this December being the release date of my album, it is also the 10-year anniversary of my mother’s death from leukemia. Last year I donated 15% of my busking earnings to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in memory of mother, and this year I want to do the same thing on a larger scale. This is what Busks for Sheila is about. Throughout the month of December I will be setting up in Calgary malls. Technically you are not allowed to busk in malls because they are private property. I will plat until security kicks me out and then donate whatever I earn to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Security has looked the other way for me in the past, and I am hoping they will do it again. If not, I’m doing it anyway.
Q4. If you were able to collaborate with an artist (living or dead) Who? and Why?
A4. Without a question, Tommy Emmanuel. His whole approach to the guitar is unbelievable. He treats it as a one-man band; playing percussion, bass lines, harmonies, and melodies at the same time without using and loops or overdubs. I have 3 of his tunes in my repertoire, and I would absolutely love to get his feedback on how to perform them.
Q5. Most of your sets have a mix of covers and originals, Have you ever played a set with just originals or do you like the mix?
A5. I like the mix, especially with the instrumentals. When you perform as often as I do, it’s really important to rest your voice, otherwise you risk vocal strain. Having my instrumental covers lets my voice take a break. Plus a large portion of my earnings this year have been from the aforementioned Tommy Emmanuel tunes, which are instrumentals.
Q6. Are your songs naturally “happy” and “positive” filled, have their been moments where you written more “angst” filled an angry songs?
A6. Actually I had an 8-song record in college that was much more angsty. I prefer happy, positive songs though because they’re a lot more pleasant to perform. Plus when your busking, people respond a lot more positively to uplifting material.
Q7. When busking have you had any issues with security? Do you feel at times they are just trying to censor art?
A7. Security shuts me down from time to time, but it only happens when I play at places I’m not allowed to play like outside the Zoo or at North Hill Mall. I don’t really feel like they’re trying to censor art because they’re just doing their jobs. They’re never rude about it, and they usually compliment me on the quality of my performance. It’s not unusual to have them ask where they can find my music online. I’ve even sold CDs to security guards as they shut me down!
Q8. When at LRTs do most people stop and appreciate what you are trying to do or is everyone seemingly in a rush? Out of these people who do you see more often, couples, families, younger crowd, older?
A8. You get a bit of both. It’s usually the younger crowd that sticks around; high school and college students mostly. Some people are in a rush though. And there’s a good mix of people coming through the stations. Lots of every demographic, which makes it great for marketing my work.
Q9. Are you preparing to work on a follow up to “breathe” or take sometime and just enjoy how far you made it up to now?
A9. The way it looks right now, my next record will be a children’s record. It will be tied into the Grade 3 music and science curriculum and marketed mainly at teachers. I’ve already written 1 song for the project, though it’s on the back burner until all the work’s done on promoting “Breathe”. There’s still a lot to do; everything from booking local festivals to setting up work for a possible tour. One step at a time though.
Well there you have it. If you want to get in contact with Marc, or check out his shows schedule head over to his website http://www.marcrivestmusic.com/