CMW Showcase

Tickets available at http://cmw.net/music/tickets/ticket-details/?schedule_ID=182&band_ID=7403

CMW Showcase

Wed, May 7, 2014

Doors: 8:30 pm / Show: 9:00 pm (event ends at 2:00 am)

C'est What?

Toronto, ON

This event is 19 and over

Levi Stephens - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Levi Stephens
Levi Stephens' debut album, "This Way" goes far beyond the confines of R&B and seamlessly melds a variety of genres, from soul to rock to gospel to folk while always remaining honest, clever and conversational.

Levi's affinity for singing can be attributed to growing up in the Washington, D.C. area in a home he remembers being filled with music. "My father was a big music head. We grew up listening to all kinds of really good music. Music was bigger than TV." Like many artists, his musical roots began in church where Levi, like his father, sang and played the piano. Outside of the church, young Levi was exposed to artists like Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers and Donny Hathaway. In addition to those soul legends, The Beatles, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Jimi Hendrix and Prince all made their mark on Levi's musical style and led him to the guitar which was the final piece needed to create his sound.

Levi's ability to incorporate multiple influences into his music can also be attributed to his role as a producer. Along with his two partners at Kollective Music, Levi has written and produced songs on 702's 2003 album "Star", (Places and Certified), Raheem Devaughn's 2005 album, "The Love Experience" (Believe) and the Fat Albert Movie Soundtrack (Come on and Join the Gang).

In the true spirit of an indie artist, Levi is already planning his next move: "In 5 years, I want to have 2-3 albums done and be writing and producing for other artists. Then I want to work for Disney!" A place that is synonymous with excitement, lasting memories, and happiness would be a fitting home for an artist who evokes all of those emotions with his music. Until then, Levi Stephens is taking listeners to his own carefully-crafted "happy place" by tackling love, life, and everything in between with his always relatable and intelligent spin.
Adrian Underhill - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
Adrian Underhill
Three years ago, Adrian Underhill was paying his dues playing rhythm guitar in an AC/DC tribute band. A recent immigrant to Montreal, the shaggy Terminal City transplant was welcomed with open arms by the motley crew of middle-aged West Island rockers. After shaking many a sweaty dive bar (all night long) Underhill has finally put on a shirt and set out on his own.

Underhill sounds like an indie rocker falling in love with African and Latin rhythms, while remaining in a long-term open relationship with pop music. His songs are layered: catchy and inviting on top, rhythmically complex beneath the surface. His fresh sound reflects the down-tempo stylings of Chad Vangaalen, the driving pulse of Paul Simon, and the fiery quirkiness of Deerhoof.

Beginning in the winter months of 2012, Adrian Underhill's following has taken root and sprouted, with live shows in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. He released his first EP, Back Asleep (Did I Wake Up?), in June of 2012 and has recently relocated to Kitchener, Ontario.
Miray - (Set time: 11:00 PM)
Miray
For Miray, music has always been a family affair. Growing up listening to her Jazz pianist mother and acclaimed Detroit–native Jazz/Motown guitarist father, Miray developed a strong interest in music from a young age. “I’d have music for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” laughs Miray.

Miray draws inspiration from genres including Jazz (Dianne Reeves, Molly Johnson) Motown soul (Whispers, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire) and old school R&B as well as vintage synthpop and jpop (Tommy February)—yet her greatest musical influence continues to be her parents.

As for Miray’s music, like her multicultural background it is quite difficult to label her songs into a single category. Her style fuses elements of 70’s and 80’s motown and synthpop, cleverly calling her songs as ‘Mopop.’ Miray’s creative approach in songwriting reflects the interesting environment she was raised in, for her artistic expression combines the beauty and subtle nuance of the east, with the bold excitement of the west. Although Miray’s upbringing has certainly been unique, her idea of “sense of belonging” has always been a challenging theme throughout her life. In her music, Miray wishes to share her experience —in both English and Japanese—and her global mindset in the hope that she will connect with a wide range of audiences around the world, while representing herself as an artist without borders.
Meredith Shaw - (Set time: 12:00 AM)
Meredith Shaw
The past two years have been a whirlwind for the dynamically delightful Toronto-based singer/songwriter Meredith Shaw.
After releasing her critically-acclaimed, effervescent and delightfully refreshing debut album, Place Called Happy, she embarked on an extensive tour with Big Sugar, criss-crossing the continent, assembling experiences and stories that were irresistible fodder for Shaw’s clever and creative imagination.
She will be releasing a series of three-song EPs affectionately coined ‘Tringles’ with special guest artists and producers that capture the essence of her talent, charm, personality, playfulness and also boldly proclaims a confident maturity as a songwriter.
“They all speak to pretty significant parts of who I am,” she said of the tunes. “I don’t mind writing by myself, and I do write a lot by myself, but I also like the collaborative nature of co-writing with other talented songwriters. Sometimes you just need that other set of ears or ideas to really come up with something special.”
As part of her journey for this project, she decided to reach out to one of Canada’s most accomplished, authentic and well-respected craftspeople – Joel Plaskett. And the meeting of the musical minds was sheer magic, as Plaskett ended up producing the material for the first phase of this ongoing project, and contributed some of his unique lyrical and musical imprints to the tunes.
“I have been a fan of his since forever, since I saw him at the Grad Club in Kingston when I was studying at Queen’s. He blew my songwriting mind and still does. He showed me that you could be funny in songs, that you can be in the moment, and I loved it,” Shaw said, admiringly.
“I feel that these songs are a really cool next step for me. And I am working with one of my musical heroes. I got to both write with him and work with him as a producer. I’m a lucky chick”
Place Called Happy was produced by another of Shaw’s musical heroes and mentors, Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar, Grady and Wide Mouth Mason fame. Working in tandem with Plaskett, he mixed the first three tracks and will then hop into the producer’s chair for the next phase of recording. Shaw said she is continually grateful to be understood and appreciated by the likes of Johnson and now Plaskett for her own talents as a songwriter and performer.
“It means so much. In this industry, you hope the people you respect will give you a thumbs-up to show you that you’re on the right track. I am following my own creative heart, but I couldn’t have more admiration for these two guys, and their opinion and approval is amazing.”
Plaskett helped Shaw finish the song that will be the first single. ‘Trouble’ started off during a songwriting session in Nashville, a place where Shaw spent some time last year, and plans on returning to regularly to partake in the rich songwriting opportunities it affords. The song aptly demonstrates that, while Shaw has grown and matured as an artist, the girl who coquettishly sang ‘Acted Badly’ is still very much exploring her inner vixen.
“When I finally solidified where I was going with the song, I thought, ‘you know, Joel Plaskett would really get this.’ And when I reached out to him, sure enough he did. And he brought a lot of humour to the verses and made sense out of some of my nonsensical ideas, without really changing the vibe.”
The song also shows how Shaw the vocalist has progressed. Her phrasing, diction, and delivery is crafty, clever but oh so Meredith, and leaves no doubt that she is a Grade A charmer.
‘Have You Met My Heart’ reveals another soul-baring facet of Shaw’s personality, as she worked with noted songwriter Simon Wilcox during a session in Los Angeles to pen a tune that retains an element of playfulness, within the confines of sadness, loneliness and regret.
“I had already written the chorus and melody and then had this idea of blaming your heart for all your problems. ‘It’s all her fault. It has nothing to do with you. You’re a wonderful human being, but this heart is making you do all sorts of horrible things.’ I saw someone’s Facebook cover photo and it said, ‘my heart is an idiot.’ And thought it was funny – the notion of separating yourself from your heart. I thought it was an interesting way to start a love song. And I brought it to Simon because I knew she was so poetic and I was confident we would be an interesting match in terms of co-writing.”
‘Call It a Night’ was penned with Shaw’s primary songwriting co-conspirator, Patrick Ballantyne, and is also a straightforward, fantastical ‘pick-up’ song, and shows off Shaw’s breathtakingly soulful vocal power.
“It was actually a song that Patrick and I were writing for Gordie, but very quickly into it I said, ‘I think this is my song.’ I was feeling good about it, It spoke to me, and plus I was kind of able to holler a little bit. I like doing that – just belting it out. I did it with ‘There’s No Telling,’ from Place Called Happy, and it’s fun to do that once in a while. We changed the narrative, but obviously it’s a pure and simple pick-up song. We’ve all had those moments, although I get a little blushy about that sort of thing,” Shaw said with a chuckle and mischievous grin.
“We were coming up with the words and I just put the image of Ryan Gosling in front of me and wrote whatever I would say to him if he was in a bar. Yes, I have a thing for Gosling”
She beams with justifiable pride and excitement when thinking about the upcoming release, Trouble, as it represents a significant step in her artistic journey and also effectively captures the different sides to her delightfully complex personality.
And her many fans are also excited to hear the new music coming from their favourite, fabulous singer/songwriter.
Art Imperial - (Set time: 1:00 AM)
Art Imperial
Hailed as one of "Toronto's Breakout acts of 2013" by The Grid TO and one of the "Top Ten Toronto Albums of 2012" by the Torontoist, indie artist Art Imperial returns with his 3rd album 'Crush'.

The final installment completes what Art envisioned as the "Cycles of Love" trilogy. The first release ('Surf Suburban EP'), punchy and upbeat, embodied the comedy of full-blown, joyous love. The second ('Cult of Love'), drenched in reverb and heartbreak, exposed love as an inevitable tragedy. And the third, aptly titled 'Crush', explores the tensions around desire and attraction in the uncertain act of falling in love.
Venue Information:
C'est What?
67 Front Street E.
Toronto, ON, M5E 1B5
http://www.cestwhat.ca