Canadian singer-songwriter Bryan Potvin knows all about change. In the three-plus decades that he has been making music, he has seen plenty of change in both personal and professional ways.
Bryan brings his new record Heartbledwhite to Metro Moncton this weekend. A collection of smartly written pop songs that serves to highlight his strengths as a songwriter, Bryan – performing at Moncton’s Plan b Lounge on Saturday evening – began making his new record Heartbledwhite in 2012. But after sitting on the record for a brief period, ended up going back to the drawing board for some fine-tuning.
“After I stepped away from the record for a little while, I went back to it and immediately found there was a distinct lack of tempo songs on the album,” Bryan says. “I don’t quite know how I missed it but I immediately set about writing songs like ‘Standing By You’ that had a little more kick to them to help balance things out.”
Bryan first rose to prominence as a member of the Northern Pikes. Together, the band earned numerous gold and platinum albums while relentlessly touring Canada, the United States and Japan. Hits like “She Ain’t Pretty,” “Kiss Me You Fool,” “Hopes Go Astray” and “Girl With A Problem” were mainstays on Canadian radio and on Muchmusic, solidifying the band a dedicated following in an age long before words like the internet and YouTube were a part of our daily lexicon.
In 1993 however, Bryan reached his breaking point with the Northern Pikes and, after a show in Penticton, B.C., informed his band mates that he was stepping away from the band.
“I simply told the guys that it was time for me to move on, whether it was just for awhile or permanently. And truthfully, the idea wasn’t met with much resistance. There were a lot of personal issues within the group at that time. I think people often underestimate how incredibly difficult it can be retain a sense of harmony and keep everyone focused.”
Bryan’s next musical venture would take him from the stage to the boardroom. He joined Polygram Music Canada as an A&R representative, responsible for signing new talent to the label. But sensing that personnel cuts would be imminent after Universal Music acquired Polygram around the turn of the century, Bryan willingly relinquished his position with the label to help facilitate a return to music.
In July 2000, Bryan made good on his departure from Polygram, releasing his solo debut Heartbreakthrough. Although reception to the record was overwhelmingly positive, promotion of the album was, by Bryan’s own admission, not as extensive as it could have been. But there happened to be a very good reason behind that.
“We got a call from the band’s former label, telling us they were looking to put a hits record together and wanted our participation with respect to the liner notes and song selection,” Bryan says. “It proved to be the re-entry point for the band as, up until that time, we really hadn’t been in touch with each other. Before we knew it, we were back on the road having a great time.”
In addition to the release of a live album at the turn of the century, the renewed Northern Pikes cut two studio records in the years that followed the 1999 release of Hits and Assorted Secrets.
And so there are indeed perfectly good reasons why it took the better part of 14 years for Bryan to finally release his sophomore solo record. He places a significant amount of importance on the quality of the songs he releases as opposed to releasing anything and everything that leaves his head.
“I have been writing songs for a long time but honestly, I think that keeping your crap detector finely tuned is ultimately what separates the pros from the amateurs,” he laughs.
“The fact of the matter is, I have never written or made music for business reasons. It is has always very much been a cathartic, go with my gut kind of thing. I don’t make records for any other reason.”
What: Bryan Potvin with The Stogies and Secret Broadcast
When: Saturday Aug. 9, 9:00 p.m.
Where: Plan b Lounge, 212 St. George St., Moncton