I’ve got a mean case of dancing feet and it’s contagious. Nothing gets me two-stepping like the sweet sounds of Soul/Motown of the ‘60s. And luckily, Toronto has a gravitas to keeping us in a constant state of boogie. With a multitude of DJs and performers riding the wave of soul music, there’s always a place to twist the night away. You can only imagine my delight when the PRODUCT team decided to feature front man, songwriter, and producer – Jarvis church who, above all of his outstanding credentials, describes himself as a Soul Singer. With well over a decade of experience in the music industry, Jarvis recently released “Soul Station”- a collection of covers and originals dedicated to the one and only, Sam Cooke. Let’s take a moment to take in this awesomeness. Jarvis has withstood the challenge of time and continues to engage in all aspects of the music industry, making him a Canadian music icon. In this exclusive interview, I got the opportunity to ask Jarvis all about his music career and his relationship with the handsome, Toronto – then and now.
I understand that you’re originally from Jamaica and then you moved here, to Toronto.
I was a kid when I moved [to Toronto] and I remember thinking what a cool experience it was to move to such a diverse city. When you’re surrounded by people who appreciate your culture while celebrating their own, it really strengthens your sense of cultural pride. [Living] in Toronto made me appreciate my Jamaican heritage even more.
Did you always want to pursue a career in music?
I’ve loved music since childhood… so, definitely. I was singing at 10 and in my first band at 14.
After numerous successful years as a member of The Philosopher Kings, you decided to go solo. What are the perks of being a solo artist versus being in a band?
Being in a band is really like being in a family. Sometimes you’re all on the same page and other times, you want to do your own thing. Like a family, there’s no better feeling than coming together again. Being solo, you have the opportunity to really shape your music on your own creatively. In a band, you can bounce [ideas] off of each other and create something together. I enjoy both.
Rumor has it that your name is derived from two parallel streets in Toronto – Jarvis Street and Church Street. What is your attachment to the area?
I lived in that area and loved how vibrant the people were. That’s how the name was born.
I know that you split your time between living in LA and Toronto but when you’re here, what places do you like to visit?
Such a big list, it’s hard to narrow it down, especially with the city constantly changing.
You also have a production company called Track and Field. Is there a story behind your athletic reference?
Music has always been more my thing. The name had originally come from what we do, produce tracks.
You have a slew of names under your belt of people you have produced for Nelly Furtado, Esthero, Stacey Orrico – just to name a few. You must be very proud.
Canada has so much talent, working with a team to showcase that talent is always humbling.
Outside of producing, you’ve recently been promoting your latest album. What’s next?
I am currently working on the next volume of Soul Station. Volume 1 came out in October and the response has been really great.
What do you think of the current Toronto music scene?
It’s not always given the credit it’s due. There is major talent right here in Toronto, but sometimes it takes a while to see it.
2013 seems like a BIG year the music industry with the release of a number of well respected North American artists. As a music lover, I am incredibly excited. Are there any albums you are looking forward to?
So many I probably can’t name just one.
Who are you listening to right now?
I’m enjoying Sam Cooke, again. I’m such a fan!