Craig Stickland has perfected a style of harmony-driven pop beloved by many. His most recent EP Art of Conviction was recorded in Los Angeles with Canadian producer Bill Bell (Jason Mraz, Justin Nozuka, Tom Cochrane). The album draws on the mellifluous sounds of The Beatles, Oasis, Fleetwood Mac, CSNY, Crowded House and Canada’s Blue Rodeo.
“Music’s been a part of my life since I can remember,” says Craig. “Before I ever picked up a guitar, I sang in high school cover bands. I was 16 when I started writing my own stuff”
After getting some nibbles from a couple of North American record labels, Craig met Erik Alcock through industry connections. In 2007 they formed We Are The Take. The Toronto favourites, produced a full-length album with Grammy Award-winning producer David Bottrill (Silverchair, Tool, Muse), which included the potential hit “Montreal Love Song,” but a recording contract never materialized and We Are The Take called it quits at the end of 2010.
“I started writing my own stuff again, focusing on what I wanted to sound like,” says Craig. “I learned how to write from Erik. He’s an amazing songwriter and he taught me everything I know about writing: Be extremely self-critical and never settle.”
“I love making music solo because when you’re writing by yourself, ideas are started from the seed that is just picking up a guitar and strumming a chord and singing a melody over it, or playing piano and doing that. It gets the creative process flowing naturally. Rarely do I pick up my electric guitar and turn on the distortion up to 11 in my apartment and write a song (laughs).”
Craig’s next batch of material is inspired by stories about human behavior observed during his time as a Toronto bartender: guys impressing girls with their wealth and power; girls impressed by wealth and power; and the wealthy and the powerful ignoring the little guys.
Craig’s live performances feature a ten piece band who will head to LA with him again in the new year to record a full-length album with Bill Bell. “I want to get my music out to as many people as possible,” says Craig. “It’s very new. I feel like I could reach a lot of people. I just want to find way to get it out there. I feel like a lot of people will relate to my music, to these feelings and emotions that I write about. Each song I write is different and I want people to make their own interpretations. That’s the great thing about music.”