Famously hailing from Steeltown, Hamilton-honed electronic pop star Jessy Lanza is currently Zooming in from her treehouse recording studio in Redwood City, on the outskirts of Silicon Valley. While that jumble of imagery may seem discordant, it’s also a decent encapsulation of Lanza’s music. Juxtaposing dark lyricism and honeyed vocals with calmly euphoric computer beats and an earthy authenticity, her new album has been a much-needed balm.

“I feel really stressed most of the time, even when I don’t have anything to be stressed about — and that makes me feel really guilty, like, what’s wrong with me that I can’t be appreciative? Now, in a time when I really do have something to cry about, it seems suitable,” says Lanza. “It makes me happy to think that people could listen to the album and feel better.”

“It’s funny, because I thought this year, I would be back on track”

How she wound up surrounded by Ewok forests discussing All the Time, her latest longplayer for U.K. imprint Hyperdub, is (like all stories nowadays) a plague tale. Lanza actually moved South a few years ago —setting up shop in Queens, New York while touring her presciently titled 2016 album Oh No — but was on a pre-release European run when the world fell apart.

“We played a show in Switzerland,” she recalls. “The Alps were separating Italy from St. Gallen, where we were, but they were obviously freaked out. They were making people show IDs at the door to keep people who might be Italian out. That was the first indication that this isn’t normal and is going to get pretty bad.”

They made it back stateside, but having booked a suddenly-cancelled tour from early April in L.A to October in Montréal, Lanza had let her lease expire. With New York collapsing under COVID, Lanza and her partner fled in their van, driving cross-country to take refuge with his parents in northern California. (The van would later be iconically re-purposed for her Boiler Room set.)

All the Time was already “mixed, mastered and ready to go,” so while the rollout went awry, the record was only delayed until late July. If it sounds a little different from past releases, that’s not the pandemic, but because it was the first record Lanza did long-distance, with longtime Hamilton collaborator, Juniors Boys’ Jeremy Greenspan. “It was kind of weird to work [like that] because I’m so used to us being super-close, but it was fun,” she says, adding she still drove back and forth from New York to Hamilton each month.

She was also influenced by the artists she met in New York – “I didn’t feel so cloistered away this time around,” she says – and the creative opportunities that come with being far from home. “I did a lot more on my own,” she adds. “Setting up my studio how I like it, and just experimenting.”

Lanza also got bolder lyrically, dissecting her cynicism and emotional distress, and even putting them in the liner notes, despite how vulnerable that made her feel.

“I felt like such a mess the past few years, and it’s funny, because I thought this year, I would be back on track,” she laughs sardonically. “But it’s a good lesson. You can make all kinds of plans: I’m going to put out this album, and I’m going to tour, and I’m going to like feel normal again. And that couldn’t be further from reality.”

But, she adds, “so much of my music is about feeling rejected and not being good enough. It’s such a loud feeling for a lot of people. [All the Time] is an effort to quiet it for myself — and I hope that it would work for others while they’re listening.”

With a rawer and more modern sound, Move Away, Bobby Bazini’s fourth album, is his most daring and personal one. No frills or production this time, and, most importantly, a body of songs that perfectly express his moods. The compositions have become deeper, the sound has grown richer, and, in short, there’s a fresh wind of renewal without any sampling, or other “canned” sounds. The album’s 13 songs form a compact, unstoppable suite of well-crafted arrangements.

“I need to travel before writing an album,” says Bazini. “That’s an essential source of inspiration for me. Much thought was given to the past 10 years in preparation for the writing of these songs. My life had been an unending race. That was an important journey, because expectations have always been high.”

Early in Bazini’s career, the French magazine Paris Match published an article on him, headlining that “the next Céline Dion is a man.” That’s where it all began, Bazini says today. And there was also comedian Louis-José Houde’s joke as he hosted the ADISQ Awards a few years ago: “Break out, Bobby, break out!” Bazini adds with a laugh.

“As I was not to work with any producer this time, the person responsible for the project was me,” Bazini explains. “I worked with other artists in the early stages to get the songwriting off the ground. We had a stock of some 60 songs. On the demos, I also played drums, bass and keyboards. At the end of the day, all the co-writers of these 13 songs also are the album’s de facto co-producers.”

In London,  celebrated British producer Jake Gosling (Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga), and the Brazilian musician Pedro Vito (who worked on four of Bazini’s songs), were his creative partners. “I also wanted to use strings, so we called on Davide Rossi (Coldplay, Alicia Keys), and the whole thing has been really stimulating.”

Move Away is replete with ballads that hark back to classic soul music — one immediately thinks of Al Green, and there’s a little something that betrays the year of manufacture… A display of references that are too visible, maybe? Not in the least! Bazini avoided slipping on the banana peel of that stereotypical, “oh-so-’60s”  sound.

Bazini’s whisky voice rules, moving from one song to the next without ever becoming intoxicating. There are also organ and choir passages, and the interplay of these varied voices breathes air into the music while containing the atmosphere.

“I’ve been going to London since 2015, and I’ve always been interested in the old-school sound of white British singers [the likes of James Hunter, for one],” he says. “The drum tracks of these British producers are very much ‘front and centre,’ like on Adele’s recordings, and I like that production approach very much. The title song, ‘Move Away,’ was written with Vito in mind: following his dreams to Europe. Personally, I would have written it in 4/4, but he did it in 6/8, so it’s much more rhythmic, and you can hear it on the recording.”

“Then I moved to Berlin to be able to continue my collaboration with him, because he lives there, and I like the quality of his writing,” Bazini continues. “We recorded Some & Others in Berlin. From the studio where I was, I could see how grey that city was. The studio was cold and old, and the heating was provided by a tiny radiator. And there was a 5:00 p.m. curfew, so we couldn’t waste any time!”

Obviously, working in this open-pit mine of super-catchy tunes hasn’t been a breeze, but on this album, Bazini hitting the nail on the head, piece after piece, without ever easing up.

To complete the picture, Bazini travelled to the Los Angeles, where he’d worked at the start of his career, in order to polish his recordings. This time, however, the producers weren’t the same. Studio time was booked at the request of Universal, his record company. These sessions have a more pop sound, and “Choose You,” the album’s second track, is the perfect illustration: “I wanted to try new things, to move out of my comfort zone,” Bazini explains.

While Bazini no longer had the wind in his sails following management changes, this new album is a first step toward his true identity. Who cares if the world has changed around him? Here’s the elegant Bazini in top shape.


While the COVID-19 pandemic has stalled the careers and work activity of so many of his peers, Joey Moi has never been busier or more successful. The Nashville-based Canadian producer and songwriter explains that, with the lockdown, “we closed our office on Music Row and I moved my studio into my house to work from here. With all the artists off the road, they want to make music.

“That has put our record company [Big Loud Records] and our songwriters into overdrive, and we’ve been trying to get music out from everybody. Rarely are the artists as available as they are right now. Everybody is here, and they all want to cut records! They all get to be more involved in the recording and production process, and that has been fun. I have been kept super-busy.”

Since re-locating from B.C. to Music City a decade ago, the award-winning and platinum-plated Moi quickly transitioned from producing and writing for such hard rock acts as Nickelback, Theory Of A Deadman, Daughtry, Hinder, and My Darkest Days, to producing hits and becoming a music industry entrepreneur on the country side.

Right now, Moi is on a major roll. Back in August, he topped Billboard’s Hot 100 Producers all-genre chart with four production credits to his name. These comprised three hit tracks by rising star  Morgan Wallen, including the record-setting smash, “7 Summers,” which Moi solely produced, plus Hardy’s “One Beer” co-produced with Derek Wells. As a producer, Moi has had 10 No. 1 Hot Country Songs, and in 2013, 2014, and 2016, he was ranked as Billboard’s No. 1 Hot Country Songs Producer of the Year.

After moving to Nashville, Moi quickly struck platinum, producing hit acts Florida Georgia Line and Jake Owen. Florida Georgia Line’s Moi-produced catalog has exceeded more than eight billion digital streams, selling over four million albums.

Moi then branched out on the industry side, helping to establish the Big Loud Records label in 2015. He partnered with Seth England, songwriter Craig Wiseman, and Canadian Kevin “Big Chief” Zaruk in what has become a very successful venture, with a new imprint, Big Loud Rock, now launched.

Moi loves being part of a label team. “This is what I dreamed about as a young producer/entrepreneur,” he says. “It’s the best-case scenario, as we get to sign the artists we fall in love with, then cut the songs and make the records we love. I get to be a part of building a strategy all the way through, and every artist is a passion project for us.

Joey Moi’s SOCAN Awards

  • 2010 – International Song Award – “Gotta Be Somebody” – performed by Nickelback
  • 2011 – No. 1 Song Award – “Life After You” – performed by Daughtry
  • 2011 – No. 1 Song Award – “Gotta Be Somebody” – performed by Nickelback
  • 2011 – No. 1 Song Award – “Something in Your Mouth” – performed by Nickelback
  • 2011 – No. 1 Song Award – “When We Stand Together” – performed by Nickelback
  • 2014 – Pop/Rock Music Award – “When We Stand Together” – performed by Nickelback
  • 2014 – Country Music Award – “Nothing But Summer” – performed by Florida Georgia Line

“If you’re a freelance producer, like I was for the first 15 years of my career, you don’t get to see how the sausage is made!” he laughs. “You don’t necessarily see the amount of work, commitment, and input of the marketing and promotion teams. I have learned so much in the last five years.”

The Big Loud Records roster includes Canadian MacKenzie Porter, while Moi continues his long and fruitful working relationship with Canadian country star Dallas Smith. ”Dallas is a day-one guy for me,” says Moi. “He was the first artist I ever recorded that got played on the radio. Nickelback came after that.”

Moi actually first went to Nashville as songwriter, after landing a publishing deal with Big Loud Shirt Publishing in 2010. “That early investment in songwriting definitely helped me as a producer and in helping an artist A&R their record, identifying great songs, as opposed to OK songs,” he says. “Unfortunately, writing has taken a back seat as my production deadlines have become more intense. I’m good for about one cut a year now.”

Moi remains a man in love with the process of making records and boosting careers. “The most fulfilling and exciting thing for me is making that first record and seeing that artist gain momentum,” he says. “That never gets old. If it does, it’s time to hang it up, go back to my boat in Vancouver and float around,” he adds.

Don’t look for that to happen any time soon.