After his band broke up several years back, Graham Strang, a 23-year-old Maple Ridge musician, wondered if he should pack up his aspirations as a singer-songwriter and do something else.
“I was in various bands for years, and when the most recent one broke up, I was 21 and thought I was too old to continue and do something new,” Strang recalled.
Bouncing around Maple Ridge coffee houses and pen mic nights, Strang decided to keep going and began penning his own original material.
“I was in the Douglas College Music Program and started working on an album in my basement basically,” Strang said, referring to the process as “two years of trial and error.”
The result was his self-produced debut 2054, a seven-track album released in 2018 on Itunes and Spotify.
One year later, he followed it up with his second album, Once I Thought.
Now, after garnering enough material and getting himself out there with nothing but his own determination, Strang has embarked on his first tour across Western Canada.
“I play acoustically – it’s just me with a guitar, not a band or some character – and it’s 60 per cent covers in my live shows,” Strang said, listing the Eagles as an example audiences might hear.
Strang said he tries his best to put as much energy into his shows as he can, with his raspy voice drawing a consistent comparison to the former lead singer of Blind Melon, Shannon Hoon.
Passing through cities like Kelowna, Kamloops, and Salmon Arm, Strang said a source of pride for him is the fact he’s quit his day job to pursue music full time.
“I consider music as my full time job, but I know maybe at some point I’ll have to get a part time job to keep it going with it,” Strang admitted.
Another change that he may have to face in the future is departing completely from his hometown, Maple Ridge.
“That’s a very important question to consider and maybe I will go to Vancouver in the future, but for right now it’s Maple Ridge,” the musician explained. “I have such a love for the local community. I’ve been there since I was six months old and been playing the Haney farmer’s market since I was 11.”
Strang noted that Maple Ridge seemed to be an excellent community for both singer-songwriters and athletes.
“I don’t know what it is but there’s something about nurturing talent,” Strang said. “It’s been a crazy actually, I suddenly got a ton of people from Maple Ridge congratulating me and being excited about my progress. Everyone is so positive.”
Though Strang hopes to book dates across the U.S. border in the future and develop new music, his fans in Maple Ridge can see him at The Wolf Bar, 22336 Lougheed Hwy, Saturday, Nov 23.
He’ll be performing alongside headliner Leenie Bennett starting at 9 p.m.
For more on Strang and to hear his music, people can visit his website, www.grahamstrangmusic.com.
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