In September 2007, Don Amero (Métis and Acadian) took a giant leap of faith and walked off of his day job as a hardwood flooring installer. He did so in order to pursue his passion as a fulltime musician, and in the approximately five years since walking away from his previous line of work, Amero has now seen quite a lot of the limelight.
Called one of the hardest working independent musicians in the business today, Amero has received lavish critical praise for his first three albums, Change Your Life, Deepening and The Long Way Home. He’s also won quite a few awards, including Aboriginal Recording of the Year at the 2011 Western Canadian Music Awards, Best Folk Recording at the 2011 Native American Music Awards, Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year at the 2009 Canadian Folk Music Awards, and Male Artist of the Year at the 2009 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards. (We’ll spare you the longer list of the 22 additional nominations he’s received.)
Tonight, Amero releases his fourth album, Heart On My Sleeve, with a live performance, from a neighbor’s house in his hometown of Winnipeg Manitoba, which will be streamed online. When Amero approached the Aboriginal People’s Television Network (APTN) about the idea, they embraced his concept wholeheartedly.
“We’re taking the online streaming model we created for Aboriginal Day Live, and applying it to Don’s CD release,” said Sky Bridges, Chief Operating Officer of APTN, according to a press release. “We’re really excited by this initiative — the first of its kind for APTN — and happy to get behind a talented independent artist like Don Amero.”
Amero added, “I’m really excited to be releasing my new album in such a different and dynamic way. … House concerts allow for an intimate performance, and I play a lot of them when I tour. So what better way to release Heart On My Sleeve then through an up-close-and-personal house concert that we can share with people everywhere. In essence, I’m putting my heart on my sleeve for the entire world to see!”
During the broadcast, Amero will host an evening of song and stories augmented by the interactivity of Twitter and Facebook. A portion of proceeds from the Heart On My Sleeve tour will go to canadianfeedthechildren.ca — helping children in Canada. The live streaming event starts at 9 PM Eastern/8 PM Central time, and can be accessed at the following link: http://www.aptn.ca/pages/webstagepass/.
Amero took some time to speak with ICTMN about the new album, the webcast, and his future plans in advance of this innovative event.
How was the process of creating Heart On My Sleeve?
I decided to go back to how it all began and produce my new album myself. I love my last few albums and having a producer involved, but I felt it was time to make the recording 100% my heart. I think when you add someone else in the mix it tend to be a mix of ideas and thoughts, so this time I wanted to make it more about what I want to say and how I wanted to say it. This is a very intimate album indeed.
You have selected a very interesting performance venue — why your friend’s house?
This tour is a mix of shows: pubs, theaters and house concerts. I feel that house concerts are the new wave of venues that a lot of artists are doing these days. It’s a great way to get a crowd and it doesn’t get much more intimate the setting of someone’s living room.
How does being an aboriginal artist affect your style?
Well, in short, it really doesn’t, I feel like the music I make can’t be contained to just an “Aboriginal genre”. I feel that my music has a somewhat universal feel. It has allowed me to rise a lot faster in a smaller pool of artists. I am kind of a medium size fish in a medium size pond. I should add as well that one major thing that I have been very grateful for is that the aboriginal people of this country really do take care of their own and have been very kind to me since I began.
Are there any indigenous artists you’d like to collaborate with?
I’m a big fan of Diggin’ Roots and George Leech, would love to share the stage with them some day. I would love to tour with Buffy Sainte-Marie one day. I think she’s done some amazing things for our people in her life time.
Words of advice for striving artists?
I always say this: Number one, Remember no one owes you anything so be grateful for everything. Number two, Be yourself and tell your story. Be inspired by others, but don’t try and be them. And number three, just hang in there, if you believe in it and truly love what you do then things will come together.
What’s to come?
In 2013 I am aiming to put a production together to help enhance the show. There are 5 senses and with music you are touching on one, with this production I hope to give people an experience that when they leave they will feel like they just saw a movie. I don’t have all the pieces together yet, but look for the show to tour in 2013.
Don Amero’s albums and singles can be purchased on iTunes, Amazon, and donamero.com. He also has a free mobile app, available at ReverbNation, that lets fans listen to his music, check out photos and videos, read blog posts, and more.