Our next interview is with CMAO nominee Tebey! He tells She's Gone Country about his eclectic taste in music and songwriting, his weakness for Ketchup chips (we feel ya!) and one of his biggest career achievements to date (HINT: it involves a British boy band, you may have heard of...*cough* it's One Direction *cough*)
She's Gone Country: As a returning performer at the CMAO Awards, what are you most looking forward to this year?
Tebey: I love watching the crowd grow. Each year the theatre is fuller and fuller.
SGC: How does it feel to be part of an event that honours the incredible talent in the Ontario Country Music industry?
T: It's pretty awesome. Being included on the same nominee list as my fellow peers is very cool.
SGC: How important is it to have a conference such as the CMAO Conference to help budding young country musicians? How do they benefit?
T: The CMAO conference is a great educational tool for young up and coming artists. Growing up I don't remember having this kind of outlet to ask questions and gain a better understanding of how the music industry really works.
SGC: As someone who started singing at such a young age, was there a pivotal moment when you knew that you were going to focus on being a musician professionally?
T: Not really. Music has always been my passion as long as I can remember.
SGC: I know you write music for many genres, what was it that made you fall in love with country music and prefer singing it?
T: I grew up listening to all genres of music, but country is where I've always felt at home. That being said, I love where current country music is going. A lot of artists these days are taking more chances and incorporating their influences outside of the genre and bringing country music to a whole new audience. People like Sam Hunt, Florida Georgia Line and of course, Taylor Swift.
SGC: What influences your songwriting the most? What inspires you?
T: I wish there was one specific thing I could do to trigger inspiration. Some days writing songs can be a struggle. Other days, it comes so easy.
SGC: Do you ever write songs with other artists in mind or have you ever let another artist cut a song that was hard for you to part with?
T: Sometimes I tailor a song to a specific artist, but it almost always never gets recorded by that person. For instance, recently I wrote a song with Rascal Flatts in mind, and Justin Moore ended up recording it.
SGC: It must be fun to have the freedom to express your music across a spectrum of genres and you have written hits for One Direction, Pixie Lott, Big & Rich, among many others. Is there a song of yours that another artist has released that you are particularly proud of as a songwriter?
T: I think having two songs recorded by One Direction is the highlight of my career thus far, simply because of their worldwide success. The album sold over 7 million copies.
SGC: As someone who has been involved in the country music industry in Canada, as well as the United States – do you think the scene differs down south?
T: The Canadian industry is much smaller, so everyone knows everybody. But at the end of the day, both the American and Canadian music businesses are very much the same. They're both dependent on hit songs, and country music fans. So ultimately there's not much difference.
SGC: This is pretty close to a hometown show for you, how does it feel to have such a supportive and thriving country music scene in Ontario/Canada?
T: Ontario has some incredibly passionate fans. I've seen it at the shows and know first hand how much people in this province love country music.
SGC: I read that you currently live in Nashville, when you do get back to Canada is there something you need to do that you can only do/get in Canada?
T: Ketchup chips are my ultimate weakness.
SGC: What advice would you give to musicians considering pursuing a career professionally?
T: Make sure you're in it for the right reasons, and for the long haul. This is a very tough business, and only the strongest, most passionate artists can endure the crazy ups and downs.
SGC: You are quite active on social media and regularly reply to fans on Twitter. How important is social media as a tool to connect with your fans?
T: I reply to as many tweets and messages as possible. If someone takes the time to message me, the least I can do is reply.
SGC: Is there an artist that you would have loved to get a Tweet from when you were a kid?
T: Kenny Chesney.
SGC: What's on your iPod? Who have you been listening to lately that you think people should check out?
T: Lately it's been a little bit of everything. I just picked up the new Cole Swindell and Dierks Bentley albums, and outside the genre, Kendrick Lamar.
SGC: Is there something that you are obsessed with or addicted to right now? (an app? TV Show? Band? Food? Song? Activity?)
T: Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.
SGC: What would you say has been one of the coolest moments/highlights in your career that really made you realize you had chosen the right path for yourself?
T: Stepping out on stage at Cavendish Beach Music Festival two summers ago to 20,000 country fans.
SGC: What can people expect from you next?