Nicky Kay Orchestra “Barrier Reef”

Nicky Kay’s latest release is the debut album from the Nicky Kay Orchestra – “Barrier Reef” exclusively from ATOM Records

Barrier Reef -- the new full-length CD from the Nicky Kay Orchestra!Following the release of rockabilly classic Go Crazy Pop! and his own alt-solo full-length Into The Loud, Nicky Kay, AKA Nick Kizirnis, reunited with long-time friends and collaborators Ed Lacy (Cage, The Raging Mantras), Brian Hogarth (The Mulchmen) and Jim Macpherson (Breeders, Lab Partners, Real Lulu, Guided by Voices) to explore a new realm of “instrumental surf” music. While enjoying the chance to play instro favorites from the Mulchmen days like “Frank” and “Backscratcher”, the group wanted to focus on taking the vibe to new places.

The group recruited vilonist Liz Landis (Sleepybird), keyboardist Tom Salvetierra (The Professors), and Dennis Mullins (The New 13, Bison Studios) to expand the sound of the music Kizirnis was writing into a rich, textural moody style of surf music that could get audiences dancing and falling into a hypnotic trance at the same time.

Dubbing the group the “Nicky Kay Orchestra” Dennis Mullins and Ed Lacy began producing the group’s debut CD “Barrier Reef”. Sean Haney, who has worked with Thomas Dolby and Trash Can Sinatras, mastered the album and the artwork was once again handled by Denis Mutter and Skot Kutowski of FNHarsh Designs.

Have a listen to ”Barrier Reef” and you’ll discover that the Nicky Kay Orchestra delivers everything from full-on surf rock (“Go Commando) to strange science-fiction themes (“Barrier Reef”), while also revealing new lush and somber songs (“Absolution”) and a twisted nod or two to their Mulchmen roots (“Snake Eyes”).

Get the “Barrier Reef CD now” and watch for the next Nicky Kay Orchestra live appearances in 2013!

Crash Test Dummies – an interview with Pat Flynn

Pat FlynnAlthough he was busy getting ready for Let Go Day ( Pat Flynn was generous enough to answer some questions about some of the things he learned on his journey that led to the publication of his first book, “Let Go”. True to form, his answers really focused on inspiring others to persevere and invest in themselves on their journey to help others through their skills and talents. Thank you Pat for your time!


In “let Go” you talk about the transition to starting your own business under some extreme circumstances. What was the scariest point during that period and how did you face and overcome it?


Pat: “There were a lot of scary moments along the way, but the scariest was when I was halfway through writing my eBook, which was a product that I was creating to sell on my website to help people pass the LEED exam, a specialized exam in the architecture industry. It was then I was just a calendar’s flip away from being officially let go from my position, no money was coming in from my business because I had nothing to sell yet, and I had recently spoke to my Dad about my situation and he suggested I go back to grad school instead.


“All of those things felt like a sign that my dad was right and I should go back to school – I had never done anything like this before and i didn’t know if it was going to work out – but what kept me going was two things: Continue reading…


Musical careers launched in the key of B-school

Guy Dixon of the Globe and Mail recently wrote this article showing examples of how some musicians, once regarded as an “anti-establishment” career, are now sticking it to the man in a whole new way … by leveraging their MBA’s.

A musician with a business education was once a little suspect.

Mick Jagger’s rebellion and raunch could be undercut by pointing out his business studies at the London School of Economics. Or take Pink Floyd’sHave a Cigar, one of the many rock diatribes against moneymen (even though the band was so happy they could hardly count their success at the time).

But that was then.

Today, a musician with MBA skills is the envy of others. Musicians now have to set themselves up as entrepreneurs, within an industry in disarray – effectively, they have to be small business owners. Some business skills are essential, and a B-school degree can only help, some say.

For the Toronto-based, Latinesque singer Amanda Martinez, getting her International MBA from York University’s Schulich School of Business was part of a circuitous, lifelong path that led her to music full-time.

“Music was always in my heart, but I never looked at it as a career option. I had parents who were very adamant that I get an education and that I pursue something very practical,” she said.

Ms. Martinez had worked in sales for clients such as Cadbury and Pepsi, far from a life of performing (even though she says her knack for sales presentations helped resurrect her inner performer). After her MBA, she moved to trade finance, working for TD Bank and specializing in Latin America.

Then came “a total early midlife crisis … I realized that I had never taken my dream seriously as a musician. I took some time off, and then just went head first into music.” This was in 2000. She was in her late 20s.

Her MBA skills kicked in as her music career progressed, she said. One skill was to disassociate selling her music with creating it. Like her days peddling Cadburys chocolate bars to retailers, she didn’t take it personally if some record stores didn’t stock her album.

Another key skill is to work effectively as a team, which can mean very different things working with musical and business teams. She has business partners, even though she still handles scheduling and business details herself, which is that much harder now as a mother of a five-year-old and twins turning two.

“The last thing one gets to do sometimes is the music. If I were to do a SWOT analysis [a typical business school skill, analyzing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats], I think that’s a threat as a musician. For me, the best thing is to make sure you have a team with you to do some of that. When you try to do it all yourself, it really can be overwhelming,” she said.

But “you are still the CEO of your own business, your own life,” she added.

Ms. Martinez also found it surprising how much she has relied on business-school colleagues for help.

“When you are your own product and brand – no matter how much I am able to walk into a store and talk about myself or present myself on the phone – it’s even more important for people to give you an outside perspective and to have other people give you really honest feedback on how you are seen in the marketplace. And that’s where I go back to drawing on a team,” she said.

“People say to me, ‘Oh my gosh, what a waste. It’s too bad you did an MBA when you could have been studying music.’ … I know my parents were, like, ‘You’re throwing your life away! You’re throwing this degree away!’ But it’s funny how much I’m using it,” she said.

Read more at the Globe and Mail.