The Sellouts 

To give credit where it’s due, I have to tell you that the heavy lifting of this blog you’re about to read is being done by my awesome manager of the past four years - Gord Hunter.  Gord is the Branch Manager of St. John Ambulance in Kingston, Ontario. He works diligently for causes like the Light Of Day organization (amongst others) which raises money for Parkinson’s Disease research. Also, Gord Hunter is MY manager.


When I look at the growth our little team of band mates and crew has seen over the past several years, Gord is a huge part of it.  As a team, we wear our successes with pride and console each other in our losses. We are a true team.


Once upon a time, there was just me.  It was lonely and rather boring (lol) and once I formed my first band (with some people who still play with me regularly to this day), I learned that much of my success was going to depend on who I was surrounded by.  This family of sorts has help me navigate waters I never thought I’d find myself in, both personally and professionally.


When I was once on the receiving end of some not-so-nice online words as a female professional musician, I wrote a song called The Sellout.  It was recorded and a video made for the ‘YouTube’. 😉 I recently dug up some audio from my In Between album release performance of October 26th, 2017, at The Isabel Bader Centre in Kingston, ON and was moved by what I heard.  It wasn’t necessarily about MY personal performance, but the performance of the ensemble I had assembled on stage with me for that event.


Holy shit.  It was awesome.


Videographer Jay Middaugh put together a visual with his footage for that performance and I released it to my Facebook page early morning on Monday, February 11th.  At 9:56am the following email came through. It was from my manager Gord. 🙂


Gord writes:


“Tears on a Monday morning are not new or alarming. I'm an emotional dude. Years ago, I tried to be different; to take my heart from its customary spot on my sleeve and hide it but the result was pain and discomfort and uncertainty. Since then, it's been permanently attached just below the shoulder. Sometimes it’s a pain in the ass or embarrassing but ultimately, it’s me.


Today the tears were not difficult or disconcerting. They weren't the result of a tragedy or wrongdoing. They were in recognition of your accomplishments and of my good fortune to have been along for a small part of the ride.


As I watched you singing The Sellout this morning it didn't transport me back to that night. It opened my eyes to something I had totally overlooked. For me, those two nights were a whirlwind of ticking items off a list, of ensuring details were attended to and people had what they needed. My memories are filled with still pictures or flickering film clips but nothing sustained, and I was good with that. I was fulfilling a role and it gave me a deep and abiding sense of satisfaction to know I helped to create a magical 48 hours in your life.


But back to the tears. This morning I saw something that had eluded me. This morning I saw the absolute unadulterated joy as you sang The Sellout. I'm sure your mind was filled with a thousand things but what you communicated in just under five minutes was simply this - victory over the cynics.


I can't imagine the early days of your career, Em. The world is different for old white guys. I learned that before I ever became an old white guy. I watched my sisters battle the stereotypes; mom too. I absorbed so much without ever being able to articulate or understand what I was seeing. Later as I raised my daughter and my son and later still as I watched Ginette deal with the education system, I began to realize the “gift” I’d been given; the understanding that life for women is different, tougher, frustrating and sometimes, soul-crushing. I also vowed to never contribute to that.


To watch your face this morning and to hear your voice - THAT VOICE - sing your words - THOSE WORDS - it was, it is, a beautiful discovery. The first time I saw you sing this song was probably the video filmed on Wolfe Island. It was full of anger and an “I’ll-show-these-motherfuckers” attitude. And I loved that. I was cheering for you before I knew you. Later I saw a different incarnation of the song. I have this lasting image of you singing through the vaping fog in downtown Asbury Park. At that point, the song had evolved from “I’ll-show-you”, to “I’m-gonna-make-this-happen”. A subtle distinction perhaps but one that did not escape me.


This morning I saw something new again – and that’s the beauty of musical creation isn’t it? Led Zeppelin had it wrong. The song does NOT remain the same; it grows and changes and develops with the singer. This morning as I watched those smiling eyes and those welcoming arms I witnessed a song that was born in anger and furious pride transform into a song of triumph and optimism. And it wasn’t just you Emily. I could see that in Gord Sinclair’s movements and Rob Baker’s spellbound solo. I could see it in Robbie Radford’s barely contained tribal rhythm and Kelly’s pure, unbound appreciation.


So again and finally I return to the tears. I guess in the end it was a sympathetic reaction to what I see as your ascension to a different level of your career. From beer-stained nights on patched together stages in front of unfocused fans to soft seat theatres, pin-drop acoustics and an audience whose only focus is you and your music.


You did sell out Emily. You sold out that fuckin’ theatre five times in 19 months. You sold out boxes of CD’s and racks of t-shirts and I couldn’t be prouder of that if you were my sister or my daughter.


So here’s to the sell out…..and to many more down the road.


With love and pride in the name of the song,


- Gord


That’s right, everyone.  That’s MY manager. He’s a member of one of the best teams of humans a musician could ask for and I am so incredibly grateful for him.  Cheers to Gord, Jude, Margie, my band mates and everyone else on my team who wears so many hats in this life. We are The Sellouts. We are doing things unconventionally and loving every minute of it.


xo -Emily


MANAGER – Gord Hunter -

Canadian, UK & European Booking:

USA Agent/Booking: Black Oak Artists / Rae Jean Erickson -