Colin Munroe: I Want In

By CZA  |  04/07/2008

Colin MunroeCanada's exports as of late haven't been in the form of textiles or other goods, but talent like Celine Dion, Jim Carrey and Nickelback. The colder, friendlier cousin to America is quickly becoming a mecca of sorts for all things music and film, one that has few rivals across the world. The next generations of artists, like Colin Munroe, aren't anything like what you thought they'd be and even better than what you hoped they were.

Equipped with an honest outlook and sure-footed determination, Colin Munroe already has much of what he wants: a chance and a dream. What's next on the checklist? Colin Munroe wants in. Tell us about your upbringing and your formative years.

Colin Munroe: I was born in the [Canadian] country and I stayed there until I was about 9, when we moved into the suburbs. My parents came from a bit of a hippie background and wasn't too trusting of the school system, so they pulled me out and I did home school. I didn't go back to public school until high school. After that, I wanted to get away from the sheltered environment that I'd known all my life; I wanted to see what else was out there, so I moved to Toronto when I was 18. I wanted to be a part of the music scene there and it pretty much embraced me, you know? It didn't matter what I looked like, I guess they saw the raw talent and I was able to start making music. How would you describe the music scene in Toronto?

Colin Munroe: There's lots of little pockets all around Toronto and a beautiful relationship between the Detroit sound and Toronto producers. You've got the Nelly Furtado's and the Frank N' Dank's up here, but there's also a rock side of it that I'm just now discovering is thriving pretty well. There's a lot of indie bands that are blowing up, so it's definitely an interesting time here in Canada. Would you describe your sound like that?

Colin Munroe: My sound is more like a pop/rock project, produced from the mentality of an urban producer because those were the only tools at my disposal. I wanted to do it a bit different. The way I program elements with how I play instruments live, I hope will come across as a bit different, left of center and unique. Hopefully it'll be something that won't fit into the cookie-cutter sound that many of the pop/rock acts fall into. I also like working within limitations. If I have the big multi-million dollar studio at my disposal and any instrument I wanted, I don't know if I would want that because I like what limitations do to you, pushing you to be creative and try things that you may not have done otherwise. What of your current project? Tell us about what you're trying to convey with it, your mentality going in and the reasoning behind it.

Colin Munroe: What people are going to get from it when it sees the light of day is a collection of songs from a guy who was trying to figure a lot of things out at that point musically. You're going to hear a mish mash of the different backgrounds that have influenced that guy and see what goes on with him being away from home for the first time and trying to make his way in the world. He's going to make mistakes and the listener will get a chance to see that. There's a beauty and a story in that that mirrors much of what we go through every day. Life is a chance to write your own story; you have to enjoy the steps until you finish it. You did a remix to Kanye West's song "Flashing Lights" that has received a lot of attention lately. Take us into how you came up with the remix and how the response has been on your end.

Colin Munroe: I certainly didn't expect as much fanfare as there has been. When Graduation came out, I was listening to it in the car with a buddy once and up until that track, I was already convinced that the album was going to be something special and it was going to be important in pop music. When I heard that track, melodies began playing in my head even before the vocals kicked in. When the vocals kicked in and I didn't hear those melodies I thought, "Jeez, I really want to hear those. I should sit down and try it sometime." I sat down and pieced together a rough track from parts where Dwele or Kanye weren't singing and added some of my own production to take it somewhere else and just tried to have some fun. At the time, I had no intentions of sharing it with anyone; it was just something I did out of love for the original. When I did, people responded so well that a visual imagery came to me like a blade runner kind of existence of a man trying to find his way in the world. My friend borrowed a camera from his college and we shot the video. For those that haven't heard it yet, where can they find it?

Colin Munroe: You can find it on my Myspace or Limewire to download. When is your album coming out?

Colin Munroe: Well, I have a situation with Dallas Austin now, where he's taking me under his wing and joined his Rowdy Records camp. He's really been committed to finding me the right situation in the States and worldwide, and hopefully it'll be out soon. I've just always had the idea that I'll keep my head down and keep working hard and whatever happens happens. Are you going on tour anytime soon?

Colin Munroe: That's all a part of the Dallas Austin situation, but I look forward to being able to very soon. I totally believe that it is key for artists nowadays to be up there connecting with people, it's a difficult time and people need to see that. Your model as an artist is similar to the new breed spawning now. You aren't the manufactured product that used to rule the pop/rock world. What's your take on that?

Colin Munroe: People like Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen are people that I pay attention to because they aren't the corporate clones that we are used to seeing. Their feel is really organic and one that is good for the ears. You just have to be at the right place at the right time with proper preparedness and that it. Where can people interact with you?

Colin Munroe: