Folk-jazz musician David Myles stays down-to-earth

East-coast favourite travels across Canadian landscape

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

David Myles

From playing the trumpet in Grade 5 to learning acoustic guitar in China in his third year of university, Fredericton-born David Myles could never separate himself from music.

In university, however, Myles studied political science.

“I wasn’t sure I was going to have a really well-rounded life if I was going to study music and I didn’t know if I would have the discipline for eight hours a day, super-regimented musical education,” Myles says.

Soon after he picked up the guitar, music found its way back into his life.

“Before, I thought I would be a trumpet player, but I knew there was something missing,” he says. “When I found guitar and songwriting, I found that it was what I liked doing.”

Myles doesn’t regret his decision.

“Had I studied music, I probably wouldn’t be playing guitar and writing songs,” he says. “It was nice because I ended up getting into songwriting after I made that decision, and once I got into songwriting, I realized that’s how I’d become a musician.”

Myles is currently travelling across Canada, promoting his infectious brand of folk-jazz. He’s also travelled to China and Belgium.

“[Travelling] has been an influence because it’s helped me write songs that can relate to different types of people,” Myles says. “I try to write songs that are easier to understand, that the average person can get, so that I can play in rural Canada just as much as I can play in the cities.”

With a musical past that experiments with many different genres, his new album, Things Have Changed, focuses on folk music.

“It’s a weird thing, everybody has different definitions of what ‘folk’ really is,” he says. “The [folk] label only bothers me when I think that the person I’m talking to doesn’t like ‘folk’ music.”

Despite his rising popularity, Myles remains an independent artist.

“I love being independent. It’s a slower road but, all in all, I think it’s the road for me.”

Myles is critical of major labels.

“It doesn’t make sense to me, the major-label model,” he says. “I don’t want to be put into a position where someone is investing so much money in me that if I don’t sell 200,000 albums, I’m going to owe someone money.”

He hopes his Canadian tour will expand his fanbase.

“To be totally honest, most of the people who show up to my shows in Ontario are from the Maritimes. But as I keep coming back, there are a couple more people each time.

“Hopefully word spreads.”

While playing at small venues means less publicity, Myles isn’t concerned.

“I don’t have another job and I’m able to play full-time, and that’s incredible. I just feel really lucky to be able to play and it’s only getting better.”

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