Making a living as an artist is not an easy thing to do but most of the time the rewards are amazing. As a writer I understand that money is not the big motivation to write. Most writers in this country just get by. However, even if the monetary rewards are not great I find there is a lot of satisfaction in being able to work at something I have a passion for. I believe that is the case for most artists whether they are writers, visual artists, performance artists, dancers or musicians.
Every time I write a column or a story I enjoy the process of creativity. When I start to put words to screen or paper I have an idea of what I want to cover and it makes me feel great to move ahead one word at a time to produce a bit of writing where there was nothing before. When I see my work in print or online and there is a public reaction to it then that makes everything worthwhile.
I know a lot of artists and in general I have heard them make similar comments when it comes to producing their art. Recently, I had the chance to chat with a young friend of mine, Wesley Martin, who is a musician from Six Nations. Wesley reminded me of just how privileged anyone is to have the life of an artist.
I met him immediately after he had returned from a tour through Ontario and into Quebec with his band, OL’CD. He was so enthusiastic and still beaming with stage lights in his eyes when I had coffee with him. He talked about how great it was to hit the road in a van with his fellow band mates. He had great stories about going down the road, setting up the equipment in the various gigs and then rocking the night away for wild crowds of young people.
Over the years I have come to know many artists and a lot of them are musicians. Wesley is my favourite for the simple fact that he is so intensely devoted to and passionate about his music. I recall first hearing him play guitar and sing when he was just a little boy. At that point he was in a group called Breaking Wind that performed in the Hamilton area. I could see then that he wanted to be on stage, singing and playing his heart out. He kept at it over the years and never gave up the dream which led him to taking a music program at Fanshawe College in London. Over the past few years he has been honing his skills as a singer songwriter and guitarist. His recent education has also provided him a solid foundation in terms of what it takes to make it in the music business. He has studied everything from sound recording, management, creativity to performance staging.
Like most things in this world things had to be right for Wesley to be free to follow his passion for music. Lucky for him, his parents Chris and Luanne Martin provided the fertile ground where he could access musical instruments and find encouragement to play and sing. His dad Chris has always been a natural on guitar and Wes’ brothers Chris Jr. and Glenn also play instruments and express their creativity as writers, musicians and actors. With all the support over the years Wes has developed a no fear attitude to reaching for the stars with his music. His grandparents John and Norma Bradley, all of his immediate family and his extended family on Six Nations have all played a part in turning a determined little boy with a guitar into a blossoming musician with hundreds of fans at his back.
Wes and his band OL’CD are all about good solid rock n roll. They are focused, tight, original and they know how to entertain a crowd. Right now they are preparing for the big release of their LP titled Choco Moloko. OL’CD cranks out some amazing rock n roll. My favourite tune is Now’s The Time and it very much describes the band’s philosophy when it comes to making music and life in general. Wes has found his soul mates in OL’CD members Cam Hilborn, Richard Stewart and Brad Picard. These guys have it all. They are the real thing when it comes to crafting exciting original tunes, they can play tons of covers when the crowd demands it, they are sophisticated musicians and at one with their instruments, they are hi-tech savvy and they know what it takes to get their music out and about.
Wes, who is proud of his Mohawk ancestry, hails from a vibrant First Nation that has produced many prominent, artists. Two of its most famous sons Robbie Robertson of The Band fame and Graham Green a world famous actor have long been role models for Wes over the years. Right now he is running down many of the same trails these two powerhouse artists once trekked and he’s enjoying every minute of it. The time for OL’CD is now.
You can listen to their music and get to know the band by going to their website at: www.olcdmusic.com their facebook page at OLCDmusic or the twitter page @OLCD_music If you are a First Nation community, organization or group looking for exciting live music, contact the band.
Xavier Kataquapit is a Cree writer whose stories tell of the people on the land in the area of Attawapiskat First Nation were he was born and raised. For more information see his website at www.underthenorthernsky.com