Interview with Billy Grima
SBS: Billy! Thanks so much for joining us and talking some music with us today! I’m gonna switch things up a little here in this interview today and start with a combination of how I usually start, but also how I tend to end it all off as well…so we’re combining the awesomeness for you to get in another question here with you – how awesome is that right? So let’s do this! From your perspective Billy…can we get a little history from you in terms of what’s led you to this point in your career AND…so we don’t have to spend a full question on it…where do you want to send the people to find your information online? AFTER they read the interview of course!
BG: I started singing at the age of eight years old in a church choir of approximately forty children. I discovered the love for music at that age, singing solos and being up front. At the age of ten I started taking guitar lessons and that was when I started writing songs. I was not interested in practicing what I had learned at my lesson but using what I learned and try to compose a song. I signed with MTS management (Michael Stover) and he has made things happen. He believed in my music and here we are. You can find out more about Billy Grima at www.billygrima.com, youtube, twitter, Facebook, iTunes, cdbaby, amazon, Reverbnation, iCloud…
SBS: What would you say the defining characteristics of your music are? When you’re writing a new song Billy…and it becomes complete…and you get back that new golden master-copy and you listen yourself…how does it ‘make the cut’ – what qualities and attributes in your music have GOT to come through for you to feel it is up to your standard and has the particular magic you’re looking for?
BG: I have to say, and strongly believe that when I write it comes from the heart and I have to feel what I’m writing. If that is not the case I would put that song on the shelf and come back to it later… could be a week or a year. I find it very comforting writing about personal experiences as well as having the listener enjoy and feel what I write. Usually when the song is done and recorded, I like to take a break from the song and not listen to it for a few days…maybe a week. When I get back to the song I can hear ideas or melodies that I might have missed.
SBS: The location-switch that occurred when you were fifteen…when you moved from Australia to Toronto, Canada…you were young of course – but I’m wondering when you look back on it now, did that play a significant-role in you eventually becoming a musician? I suppose what I’m asking essentially is whether or not you feel like you still would have made music your career if you were still back in Australia…you were already involved with music at that young age before you moved – but would it have still happened you think? Of all the places to land in Canada besides the one we’re just outside of here in Vancouver, BC – you definitely picked the right place, Toronto’s infamous for being a music-hotspot! So tell us about location, location, location Billy…is it all as important as ‘they’ say?
BG: Since the young age of eight, singing has always been the one thing that I ever wanted to do and having my very first band at the age of thirteen. Moving to Toronto at the age of fifteen I realized that in Canada at that time, there was a lot more competition and it seemed like every second kid was playing an instrument. I have always played originals in every band I was involved with and I just followed my dream. Location plays a big part in the music industry and social media plays a big part in all of this too. BUT I was also told by a wise person “keep doing what you are doing and they will find you.”
SBS: Your latest album…Sugar & Cream…your third album if we’re not mistaken… What made this record different from the last two albums I’m Just Standing and A Little Piece Of Heaven? Are there things you said…or things you did differently on this particular recording? What makes it standout from what you’ve recorded in the past and how do you feel you have evolved and grown as an artist from the time you recorded your first recorded to the current one, Sugar & Cream?
BG: I think I have matured in my writing over the years and I feel much more at ease now when I write. More depth in the lyrics and the message I was trying to get across to the listener. “SUGAR & CREAM” was written from the heart with a lot of emotions. I don’t think the other two albums are as deep lyrically as “SUGAR & CREAM” when it comes to trying to get the message out to the public.
SBS: Billy…I want to present you with a FANTASTIC opportunity my friend…it’s time for you to give a little back! I’ve read, researched and learned about the amount of awards and hardware you’ve been picking up for your song-writing and music…so many that I can only imagine that the sheer amount of trips to the podium alone have been able to keep you in-shape! So here’s your chance to re-live a highlight moment for us my friend…I’m sure they were ALL memorable experiences…but which ONE would you choose for most personally-meaningful? You know…where the recognition you achieved came from something you really felt deserved that recognition… And the award for best-award goes to…?
BG: I have to say probably my latest award. IMEA AWARD for best” ADULT CONTEMPORARY ARTIST OF THE YEAR 2015.” It is an absolute honour to receive such an award as there is so much talent out there.
SBS: In the bio I read on you Billy…it mentions a reference to some classic song-writers of very high-caliber like Billy Joel, Bob Dylan and James Taylor – all artists that at least to me, have a brilliant way with words and melody that really paint the full picture of the subject-matter in any of their given songs. But that’s my impression…in your words…what was it about artists like these (or others too!) and their music that have inspired you in some way?
BG: I must say being compared to these artists blows my mind. I grew up listening to all these artists and their amazing work….. lyrically and with such awesome melodies. I am also one for harmonies and story lines…. that is one thing I listen for in a song as I believe it could take a song to another level.
SBS: Now that your third album has been released…I’m wondering about how established it all feels now? We all know at the beginning, it can be a tough thing to consider even calling ourselves musicians at first until we really feel like we’re right where we belong…but more importantly, that the dream is within our grasp and we’re truly not going anywhere. Established…rooted…ingrained…you get the idea my friend…how secure/safe is the dream of being a career-musician today for you – and how do you protect it to make sure it never goes away?
BG: As a writer, the dream has already come true. When someone calls me from the other end of the world or emails me to tell me that my song touch their heart or that they want to thank me for writing such a song is awesome. That’s what it is all about………BUT a little gravy comes in handy as it gives the artist such as myself the chance to write more music in hope to do another album and reach the listeners heart.
SBS: How about acceptance Billy? Do you feel like your music has universal-qualities that everyone can enjoy? Or do you feel like your music may/may-not resonate more strongly with a certain demographic? How important is the feedback to you from fans of your music? Can you recall a time where you ended up changing something, or adapting to something new in some way based on feedback you’d gotten along the way?
BG: I have to say that I have gotten positive feedback on this album and fans want to hear more. That is an amazing feeling. My music is now being played around the globe and having fans reaching out is the icing on the cake. I always listen to what the fans have to say because fans are the ones that keep my music alive.
SBS: You mentioned in a quote in the bio I’m reading here…“Writing a hook or humming a melody is medicine.” And then of course…the album itself titled Sugar And Cream…it got me thinking… I’ve got a music-friend that is extraordinarily passionate about the tie-ins between food, music, medicine & the soul. I’m not convinced he’s crazy yet…but I’m not so sure I buy it either! Were there any ties directed at theories or themes like this on Sugar And Cream? Are you guys onto something the rest of us out there don’t know yet?
BG: Writing a hook or a melody is just like medicine to me. It puts me in a zone all by myself where it’s just BILLY GRIMA , alongside a piano or guitar . I’m a tea drinker and I use the term “SUGAR & CREAM” on daily basis cause that is what I take in my tea. I also think they complement each other and make a perfect cup of tea. (LAUGHING). When I wrote the song titled “SUGAR & CREAM” I had to put that line in because I think it’s the perfect blend and they belong together lol.
SBS: What would you say has been the biggest life-changing event or moment that has occurred while you’ve been a musician…and how did it affect you and your music personally?
BG: I have got to say my song titled “I MISS YOU BABY” has touched so many hearts out there that it makes all this worthwhile. I had a very hard time writing this song when it came to my emotions as I tried to get the message across. We all have our own crosses to carry and pain. Writing in what I believe in and sharing it has made me stronger. Having fans loving the song as they accept the message it sends out is what it’s all about
SBS: Oh man! Look at that will ya – we’re almost at the end! I better make sure to ask you what’s coming up and what the future looks like for the music of Billy Grima! Tour plans? Another new album? More awards? Receiving a key to the city from the mayor for all your hard-work, creativity and effort? What’s the story – what’s up Billy?
BG: Fourth album in the works, touring in CANADA and the USA ….and to make sure that the fans are satisfied with my music and keep wanting more…..as for more awards WELLLLLL that would be nice !!!!! I believe it’s all timing and about following your dream.
SBS: You made it to the end Billy! Thank you once again for taking the time to talk to all of us today! Please take advantage of the SBS ‘Open Floor’ here at the end to mention anything we missed, shout out anyone you’d like to, or say anything at all that you’d like to! All the best to you my friend!
BG: I want to thank you for this awesome interview. I have to say A SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL MY FANS FOR ALL for their support. To all who have downloaded my album from iTunes, cdbaby , amazon and more…youtube to all the radio stations playing my music , magazine write ups and written interviews.
Thank you once again