Simon Henley Opens Up!

Hi Everybody,

I’ve had a few interviews lately and every time I wish I had done things differently. Communication is a big skill to have for someone like me. I guess I’m learning as I go. Here are examples.

I had an interview with Monica Brinkman and Kerry Hall from It Matters Radio. Monica gave me the best compliment saying that I make my guitar speak. WOW! THANK YOU! But then I did not answer back, did not stop to thank her and moved on to the next question. I had trouble hearing them because I was using my phone to Skype. I hope you know now.

Also, I’ve been talking about my path as a musician. My influences, my schools, and mentors. Well, they are many, yes. But the clear untold story is that I learned to play the basics of guitar on my own and having fun with friends starting around the age of 12-13. Before this, I had my father and uncles as models. My father used to play for us when I was very young and family gatherings were always filled with a bit of live music too. In my life, I’ve had 2 major guitar teachers. One was classical around the age of 16-17 the other was jazz around the age of 30. While studying Classical, I had an affair with the blues and the Rock. I was introduced to Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith very young, but It all started when a record seller strongly recommended Stevie Ray Vaughn. I had a blast imitating his solos, riffs and even the singing parts.

Folk is very natural for me and I’m not sure why. Acoustic guitar players were everywhere back in the 90’s and some of them passed by my mom’s house from time to time. Apart from the guitar playing, these guys had something to say. They had a lasting impact on me. Remember when the young Forrest Gump had a private “meeting” with Elvis Presley in the movie? When I saw this scene, I could relate so much!!

Growing up in Quebec City, listening to the radio and watching Musique Plus, we had the choice of 80’s one-hit wonders, American and Canadian rock stars like Bryan Adams and the like. But the 90’s were more exciting for me. Our original music band was a quartet called “Perceptions of Reality” and in around 1995 we played the legendary bar called Le D’Auteuil in Quebec City. I was 17 years old. It was a mix of Metal and Rock. Yes, metal music was also a big thing for a while. Today I still listen to Deftones, Tool, COC and even old Metallica. At the same time, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, Bush etc… were brought into the limelight. Rage Against the Machine was a main player for me. I was the lead guitar of a tribute band called “Rage It” in 1997. We also played Le D’Auteuil. Mix all this with regular live rock shows at the Dagobert, my education was well on its way.

The mix of Jazz and blues combined was part of my adult schooling. I was part of a duo called Jazz Fiasco for some time and Susie Arioli and Jordan Officer were our main gurus. Even if my first jazz introduction was made by the music of Sting. In 2008, while playing in Jazz Fiasco, I decided that I too could create and develop my own thing. Well, almost 10 years later I’m looking back, and I feel like I won my bet.

There is one last thing I’d like to correct or improve. This happened more than 10 years ago. I was jamming and exercising on my guitar as I usually do, and I specifically asked to be guided. I had my acoustic guitar and started playing the foundations of what became many years later “Calling Upon You”.  This song’s intention was to attract my future Soulmate. Well, long story short, I found her, or I thought I did. But life made it impossible for us to stay together.

And that’s about it. It’s great to be able to express myself correctly. Thanks for reading everything!

Here’s a live cool instrumental tune on my album.

Simon Henley

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