Monday, September 5, 2011

Aaron Huey: America's native prisoners of war

I am deeply sorry for not posting anything of significance lately, but I do have something I would like to share with you.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Test of Metal 2011, June 18, 2011

This is my second year in a row photographing the Test of Metal, and it proved even better than last year's race. Some of the World's best racers were on hand, Max Plaxton, Chris Sheppard, Catharine Pendrel, Marty Lazarski were some of the many Elites that were racing. The race is held in Squamish, BC and the race has been held since the early 90's. The race loop is 67km of uphill and downhill riding.

Last year at the TOM it was my first time in Squamish and I really had no idea what the course was like and came ill prepared for it. But since my dismal performance from last year I was never going let it happen again. I had a year to prepare myself for this event and I was going to get some excellent photos in 2011.

Arriving a day early this year I brought my offroad motor bike so I would be able to ride the TOM course the day prior to the race and know exactly where to go on race day to get the photos that I wanted in an adequate amount of time.

This year instead of sleeping in my vehicle and in a tent the Rosser family offered me their spare room with bed to stay in. Ron & Sherry Rosser who's daughter is the World Jr Female DH Champion Lauren Rosser, and they are some of the nicest people I have ever met. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank them again for their hospitality and gratitude.

The night before the race it rained in Squamish right until around 7:0oam on race day which made trails muddy in spots. One thing you should know about Squamish is it could rain everyday for a week and then have one day of dry weather and it would dry up that day. The ground there sheds the water quite well.

Like last year I was in the pace car that would lead the racers to the single track through town. It is an exciting feeling to be leading out 1118 racers off of the start and taking their photos. The lead was constantly changing as riders were jockeying for position and to lead for a bit for bragging rights.

                                                                Colin Kerr

After leading the riders to the single track we waited for all the riders to enter the singletrack and then we headed back to the start/finish

                                                                    Marty Lazarski

When passing through the feedzone it would be the first time the riders were going through it, and I realized I would have a little bit of a wait at my photo taking spot I had lined up.

                                                                   Neal Kindree

After about a 20min wait the racers started to come through the Plunge, first was Chris Sneddon and right behind him was Chris Sheppard.  I only stayed at the Plunge until Dre' Hestler came through and then I had made my way back to the finish.  The Wednesday prior to this race I had separated my shoulder and collarbone from wiping out on my dirtbike.  My collarbone was still pretty sore from the ordeal and carrying the camera bag full of camera gear was not the most pleasant of things to do.  Getting the top riders was my objective and is why I opted to go back to the finish/start so early.

Chris Sheppard

Chris Sneddon

                                                                       Max Plaxton

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The BC Bike Race 2010

If you’re a Mountain Biker, or someone that thinks they have skills on a mountain bike, then this race is for you. You might realize that you are not as good as you thought you were, but by the end of the week you will far exceed your expectations on the bike. In the beginning, there were people walking their bikes over the 3 inch roots on the prologue, but by the end of the week they were dialed in and riding most of the technical stuff. Sure, you will have your good days and bad days. Maybe have a bad day because you didn't eat enough the day before, or because you hammered too hard, but most will make it through the tough week. There were teams from Australia, South Africa, Belgium, England, Wales, Japan, and United States just to name a few of the countries that people had arrived from.

Dave Howells

I would like to say that I am a firm believer in living by flying off the seat of your pants (not a big planner, just winging it; advice from my mentor and teacher Zoriah Miller). I did not scope out any trails, or have any insight really about what to expect from the BCBR. The only place that I had really planned to photograph was the ‘Powerhouse Plunge’ descent in Squamish. The only reason I had this planned is because a week prior to BCBR, I missed the trail turn-off point at the ‘Test of Metal’ (as well as some good photos) in order to find this particular trail. In other words, Squamish is the only place that I had any knowledge about the trail.

I had an eye opener when I saw the trails in Cumberland, and all of the other venues for the BCBR. This year the destinations were: North Vancouver, Nanaimo, Cumberland, Powell River, Sechelt, Earl’s Cove, Squamish, and Whistler. I had never seen such beautiful trails with lush forest and such awesome single track. The only place that was significantly different was North Vancouver, which was an excellent place to have the prologue. The North Vancouver trail had lots of exposed roots, which were pretty high off the ground on the second half of the trail. The trail was pretty dry which gave the riders the ability to go fast. If you haven’t had much experience riding roots, this was going to slow you down, and the slower you go, the harder they are to ride. Some of the riders were walking the gnarly parts, and some riders hammered right through them. You could tell who the locals were on the prologue; they had the hometown advantage for sure.

One of the enjoyable things about the BCBR is that everyone is so friendly and excited to be there. Not just the racers, but the volunteers and staff as well. The food was great for the most part, aside from the day they served buttered chicken, and a curry dish as I am not a fan of foreign, or spicy foods. There was always ample supplies of water, and coffee for people that needed it. Sleeping in tents wasn’t all that bad either, and there were extra foam mattresses if you needed to soften up your bed.

The only thing that I would complain about it is waiting for the bathroom. Not something people like to do when they really have to go. As for the showers, I would shower before bed at around 9:00 pm because by this time everyone had already showered, and there was plenty of hot water. As for Internet access, there was always a Starbucks accessible except for in Cumberland. But the friendly people of Cumberland didn’t make that an issue. I had parked my vehicle in front of a house that was in front of the BCBR venue and was sitting in my car uploading photos onto my Mac. I had noticed that the house I was in front of had people out on the deck. I rolled the window down and asked if there was a Starbucks in Cumberland. “No Starbucks java around here unless you drive to Courtenay, but there are some local java shops if you need a fix.” I had replied that I wasn’t looking for coffee, and that I was looking for Internet. “Well just come on in and use our Internet if you like.” So there I was, uploading images to the Canadian Cyclist on a perfect stranger’s Internet while sitting in his living room.

I have taken a look and sorted the photos, etc., but I am my own worst critic. I tried to raise the bar and reach for the moon with the race photography at this event, and I was able to get some great photos, and photos that you and I will remember forever. Another event under the belt, many friends made, and a lot of great people met. I would honestly recommend attending this event whether you plan to race, support, volunteer, or anything else you can think of to do. It is great event to be a part of, and I am looking forward to it again next year. I already have some different things planned for my arsenal.

With not having a pot to piss in, or much $ in the bank (actually none), I had a lot to risk, and a lot to lose by going to the BCBR. If payment didn’t come through on time, etc., I wouldn’t have been able to get home, and would have been stuck in BC with no money. Things have been tough for me since late last year, and I figured that this was my break, my chance to change things for the better. It was not an easy task to get on with the BCBR as Media, but I am very grateful for the opportunity that I was given. I would like to thank the BCBR, Andreas Hestler, Dave Howells, Rob Jones (Canadian Cyclist), Dave Silver (Dave Silver Photography), and everyone else that was involved with me going to the BCBR. It was great!!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Test of Metal

Squamish is a former logging town that is on an inlet 45min north of Vancouver that now relies on tourism instead of logging. Squamish is mostly known for its rock climbing and is sought by climbers from all over the world. Squamish also is known for its trail system has some of the most epic trails in North America. Squamish has the largest piece of granite that is on the east side of town, which has housing development built on top of it. A saying in Squamish is “In Squamish you are either up or down”. The people of Squamish are very friendly, easy to chat with, and easy going.

Geoff Kabush/ Max Plaxton on right

The Test of Metal has been around since 1991 and is still the most popular Mountain Bike race in Canada (also the largest). The racecourse is 67km of double track, single track(37km), and some pavement. The race starts at the Recreation centre and goes out into the outlying area of Squamish. This year’s race sold out in 24 minutes, and has 900+ racers racing in it. One of unique things about this race is it is all community operated. And the whole town of Squamish gets involved in organizing and running this Epic event.

9 of the previous winners of T.O.M.

Matt Hadley

The race starts at 11:00am with 925 racers that showed up for the Test of Metal. The forecast was +21 and the trails today would prove to be the fastest ever. At the start line you could feel the energy as the racers were lining up. In the background you could hear the bagpipes and the Natives with their drums, it was an interesting contrast, where else would this happen besides at the TOM? (Test of Metal). The start line had Max Plaxton, Geoff Kabush, Neal Kindree, Carter Hovey, Chad Miles, Ruedi Shnyder, Andrew Kyle, Rickt Ferereau, and Michael Pruner who were all past winners of the TOM. Other notables at the start were Stefan Widmer, Marty Lazarski, Andreas Hestler, Kevin Calhoun, Jeff Neilson, Evan Guthrie, Corey Wallace, Kris Sneddon, Matt Hadley, Thomas Skinner, Greg Day, and up with the men was Catharine Pendrel (current World Cup leader) and Catherine Vipond (current Canada Cup leader).

Out of the starting gate

Off the start and until the single-track entry the lead riders were taking turns up front and jockeying for position, but no one was able to hold the front all the way. Strategy for the road section was just to hang on until the single track. As the riders get closer to the single-track the road gets steeper and steeper which puts some separation in the group of riders. The group has really strung out as we crest the top. Watching all of this from the back of the pace vehicle while taking photos puts a different perspective on it. It wouldn't be fair to cheer for one rider when you know half of the Elite field. You can see the faces grimacing from the pace that they are going at.

Near the top before the first single-track section there was lady in her mid 50's that was racing, she pulled aside and got off her bike and had looked like she was going to quit. One of the racers that was coming up from behind stopped and said, 'don't quit now, we can do this race together'. She wiped the tears from her eyes and mounted her bike. At the finish I did see her come in, and she did complete the race. It is things like this that make the TOM so special. There were stories of people giving other racers CO2 cartridges, tubes, help changing flats, spare chain links, and overall support for one another. The TOM isn't just a race, it is an experience.

View of Squamish

The first section of road after the single-track there was quite a large crowd of spectators, about 200 or so on the street sides. Geoff Kabush was in the lead and at this point Stefan Widmer was only 1:39min behind. Both Stefan and Geoff were off to a good start. At this point Catharine Pendrel was in the lead for women, and would be for the whole race.

The next stop was at the pump station, but with all of the spectators and racers it was difficult to get there in time for the lead riders. The TOM is not the most spectator friendly race, there are only a few points to see the racers, and the spectator spots are far out of the way. Aside from this the race was a huge success with Catharine Pendrel and Geoff Kabush winning their categories. (Elite Women & Elite Men)


At the finish all of the racers had smiles on their faces, you would think after such a sufferfest that they would have the look of dismay or defeat. It was all smiles and no cries, the TOM is a race that brings people together and it doesn’t matter if you have a $10,000 bike or a $1000 bike, there is mutual respect and camaraderie between everyone.

Would like to thank Paul Demers, Cliff Miller and all of the organizers and volunteers. Without them this race wouldn't be so special as it is. Also the TOM is the largest race in Canada.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Zoriah Miller interview

Hello Zoriah, I would like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. We know how busy your schedule is.

1: Too start off with could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a photojournalist specializing in documenting the human side of conflict, crisis and disasters. I have been photographing on and off since I was 15 years old and have been shooting professionally for about seven years now. Before getting back into photography I was in the field of post-disaster humanitarian aid.

2: Could you tell us what a typical week is for Zoriah Miller?

That is pretty easy in that there really is no such thing as a typical week in my life. I have had periods in which I have been through seven countries a week, and other times where I might be in one location for a couple of months. The most noticeable difference in my schedule is between times when I am shooting and times when I am editing. When I am in the field shooting I am usually wake up around five in the morning and shoot for several hours as the sun is rising. Depending on the project I may shoot indoors during the harsh daylight hours. I shoot again for several more hours around sunset, transfer my images while having a bite to eat wherever I am staying and then go to sleep so I can repeat the cycle again.

During times when I am editing I usually stay up most of the night listening to music and working on the images from my last project. I sleep late, exercise about two hours every day (which keeps my body ready for the next project) and eat lots of good food. It is so wonderful to slow down and edit after an exhausting project, but it quickly gets boring and I find myself excited for the next adventure.

3: In previous posts on your blog at you had stated that you listen to “This American Life” which is hosted by Ira Glass, which is on PRI (Public Radio International out of Chicago). Can you tell us what inspirations you get from this broadcast and what your overall opinion is of it?

Ira Glass is probably the best storyteller and journalist that has ever lived. He has come up with an ingenious way of educating people and bringing news and critical social issues to light . By letting individuals tell their own stories, he has effectively brought a human face to issues that we may otherwise remain completely detached from. Every episode of his show is filled with emotion, humor, information and life. He is a perfect example of the right way to teach people, he makes things interesting, even those things that we would rather turn our backs on. It inspires me to try to do the same with my own work.

4: Can you tell us about some of your experiences in Iraq, both good and bad?

The situation in Iraq when I was there was so incredibly difficult. The death and misery was beyond measure. I learned a lot in Iraq, probably more than anywhere else I have ever worked. I learned a lot about people, both their good sides and their ugly sides. I think the most important thing I realized there was how similar all people really are to each other. We think we are so different but in reality we are all striving for the same thing, a good life for ourselves and those who are close to us.

5: What approach do you use to be able to get up and close personal photographs of your subjects? What allows them to trust you?

I think I just try to be human. Experiencing things with your subjects, showing them that you care about them and what they are going through goes a long way in gaining their trust. I often live with the people I photograph, spend my days with them, eat with them and their families, share stories and experiences together. I think the main thing they don’t want is some guy to drive by in truck and shoot a picture out the window for their assignment. Everyone has seen this kind of thing, and of course it is one way of going about journalism, but I am more interested in going beyond that and really capturing people’s lives and struggles.

6: For a person that is an aspiring photojournalist what advice would you give them?

There is probably a lot of advice that should be given to someone making this decision. I think the most important if for people to really consider the lifestyle they are choosing. It is more than just a job, it becomes your life. I think aspiring photojournalists need to also accept that it might be different than what they picture in their minds. It is hard to really imagine what it is like to do this job, even for someone with a pretty good imagination. You wont know how it affects you until you actually do it.

I also urge people to keep themselves in check. There is a lot of unhealthy behavior among photojournalists, alcoholism, drug abuse, sex addiction, lots of failed marriages and relationships, PTSD, depression etc. I think people should have a life outside of the world of journalism. It seems that those who live completely in this world, with all of their friends in the same industry, end up a bit closed-minded and jaded, but that is just my opinion and of course there are many examples that prove otherwise.

7: What we do defines us, what do you think are some of your most definitive actions in your life?

I think the fact that that I don’t steer away from controversy has had a major effect on my life. In the short term it makes life quite difficult, sometimes nearly impossible. But in the end, if you stand by what you believe in, it seems that people respect your decisions, even if they may not agree with them.

When all is said and done I would hope that my most definitive action would be my decision to help people. I hope that the photographs I take are able to educate and inspire people and that in turn benefits all humankind.

8: What kind of equipment do you use? Also what does a person need to start out as a photojournalist?

All you need to start out as a photojournalist is any device that can take a photo, including cell phone cameras, disposables and budget digital cameras. I started off my professional career with a 6-megapixel consumer camera and you can still see many images I took with it in my portfolio. People need to spend more time working on their skills as photographers and less time buying equipment. Once you start making money with your pictures, go out and buy the best gear you can afford, but until then, don’t blame your camera when your shots don’t come out good.

9: Who was your mentor growing up? Who inspired you to be who you are today?

My photographic mentors have been Chris Walton, Ami Vitale and Chadwick Tyler is now helping me with a new direction in my work. I think we should all have as many mentors as we possibly can, and be mentors to as many as we possibly can.

10: What was your first camera?

Nikon FG

11: If you were a Sports Photographer, what sports would you like to photograph?

I am not at all a fan of sports, except the more exotic ones which I like to participate in but really don’t like to watch. I enjoy skydiving, scuba diving and motorcycle racing but have never photographed any of them seriously.

12: You use a Mac or PC?

I can use both but I own Macs and recommend them to anyone and everyone.

13: Who are some of your favorite Photographers of today, and who are some of your favorite Photographers of the past?

My favorite photojournalists are Nachtwey and Salgado, for art/fashion photography I adore Merkley??? and Chadwick Tyler. I like contemporary photographers much more than those who shot in the past. Although there are some amazing photos taken over the decades, I think photographers now are much more prolific and produce much more interesting work.

14: In your opinion what would bring peace between Westerners and groups like ‘Taliban and Al Qaeda?

I think the whole “Do unto others…” way of thinking may help a lot. Generally speaking, war does not usually bring peace.

15: You have seen some amazing things in your travels, what are some of the most impressive things you have seen?

Probably the most impressive thing that I have seen and continue to see is the kindness and generosity of those who have absolutely nothing. Seeing people take care of their neighbors when they are in need is so inspiring. I think there a lot of important lessons that have been lost in western culture.

16: You have seen some horrible things in your travels as well, what are some of the things you have seen?

Death, violence, anger, revenge, hate. I think watching people starve or people stuck in impossible situations is the worst. There are so many horrible situations that in my opinion are worse than just going in and killing people, hunger and lack of medical care being the worst and most unacceptable in my book.

17: Once you arrive in a country what is the most common way your travel?

Once again, it is different with each project. Mainly, once I am actually where I need to be, I just walk. I think being on your feet and just walking around for hours is the best possible approach to photography. You miss things in vehicles and they separate you from your subjects, both of which are counterintuitive to taking good photographs.

18: Do you stay in hostels, or do you stay with locals?

I often stay with locals, in refugee camps and for the past two years have been very active with the project, which I cant recommend enough. Of course I do stay in hostels and guesthouses too, but usually the more local ones not the tourist spots.

19: When you wake up in the morning what motivates you to keep being Zoriah the ‘Photojournalist’?

I have tried being Herman, Melvin and Oliver but none of their clothes fit so I usually just end up being myself. I am half kidding there, but the other half would like to point out that I really don’t know how to be anyone else. I think my motivations are capturing images that change and effect people. I want to produce art that makes people aware and hopefully inspires them to be better people, this is my biggest motivation.

20: Are you a five-year planner type person? If so where do you see yourself in five years? Or are you the fly by the seat of your pants type of person?

I am more of a five-minute planner type person…on a good day. I think it is important to have goals, but also to realize that things change, we change and things change us. It is good to be flexible and follows ones heart, wherever it may point that particular day, week, month, year etc.

At the moment my goal is to continue my photojournalism, but merge it more with art, fashion etc in order to make it more interesting and accessible. I have always thought of my work as more art than journalism, and I want to continue in that direction and explore new ideas. When all is said and done I hope that I have left something behind that is truly unique.

21: We know that you dignify yourself with showing the truth with your photos, what made you decide to be different and not like everyone else?

I think most photojournalists goals are to show the truth, at least they should be. For me it was more a matter of showing what was important to me instead of what was important to a publication which exists as a commercial enterprise. Usually what I find in the field is far more interesting than anything I could have thought of on my own, so I try to just go and document what exists, not my preconceived ideas.

22: What are some of your favourite publications that you like to read? (Online or magazines)

I don’t read any print publications regularly. I look through the pictures when I am on an airplane and that’s about it. Online I explore lots of different sites and like to just explore all things new and interesting. I will usually have a favorite for a month or so and then find something else I like. During the last year I have really enjoyed visiting the PhotoPhilanthropy site. They have done such a good job and it seems like every month they are expanding their boundaries and doing new and amazing things. I recommend that anyone who has not yet visited the site go and spend a couple of hours exploring it.

23: If you had to do it all over again would you change anything?


24: What are your top 5 photographs that you like? (Doesn’t have to be your own photographs)

I would have a hard time choosing five photos. If you take a look at the photographers I mentioned about, you will find at least five from each of them that I truly adore.

25: What are some of the most difficult photos you have had to take? (Emotionally or physically difficult)

Photographing people who have just lost loved ones is always very difficult, as is photographing people who are dying. Physically every project has difficult physical aspects to it, from trekking into remote regions to navigating rubble and dangerous areas.

26: What do you have planned for your near future?

I am teaching several workshops in the fall and have a few projects of my own that I am working on. There is never a lack of work or ideas for new projects, so I will just continue to follow my heart.

27: Why are you a Humanitarian Photographer? Besides making a living at it, why do you do it?

Well I sure don’t do it for the money! I think I would probably make more working at McDonalds than I do doing this, if you look at how much time I put into it and how much money goes into plane tickets, equipment etc.

I do it because I believe that it makes a difference. I believe that the people I shoot know that I am there to tell their stories and to help them, and they find comfort in that. I also think that people are affected by the images. I get a lot of emails and positive feedback that people are affected by what they see…this keeps me going.

28: Have been met with so many obstacles that you feel like giving up?

Yeah, sometimes daily actually. In the end though it seems like too much work to give up, then I would have to do a bunch of interviews talking about why I quit. For now it is easier to just keep going. Ha!

29: What is the most disgusting thing you have ever had to eat?

Oh, I think people are most grossed out about the partially formed duck fetuses they have in Asia. Sometimes I can eat them with without problems but the last time I tried I gagged and threw it in the street.

30: Where is your favorite place to eat?

Well, they just went out of business a couple of months ago, but Doyers in NYC was always my favorite place. I was lucky and ended up there on their last night in business and took a bunch of photos of the owners and everyone that worked there. It was like home for me, even when I went away for two years straight once they had my table for me when I came back and remembered my order.

I also like Rice a lot in NYC. They have some of the most unique, delicious and healthy dishes I have found anywhere.

I would like thank Zoriah for taking the time to do this interview, and I wish him all of the best for his future endeavours. To read more about Zoriah goto

Friday, February 19, 2010

Interview with Alannah Myles

Since I have started my blog I have focused on athletes of both genders. I have started to mix it up and add a legendary musician.

Hello Alannah, I really appreciate you doing this interview. To start off could you tell us a little about yourself? Where did you grow up, where are you living now, etc?

Alannah Myles Bio

Alannah Myles is grateful to have been lauded by many as a powerful influence for singers, songwriters and recording artists - touring internationally, winning a Grammy for best rock vocalist and selling millions of records. Alannah has met every challenge an artist can be dealt with a great tenacity and love for the music that continues to motivate her.

Alannah was born and grew up in Toronto listening to FM radio stations which introduced her to more ecclectic styles of music. She studied to become a graphic artist, splitting time in Buckhorn, Ontario where she learned to ride and spent her early years competing as an equestrian on the Ontario A Circuit, competing in Canada's prestigious Royal Winter Fair prior to deciding that music was her calling. Acting & modelling income paid for early demo tapes attempting to get signed but prevented her from being regarded as a recording artist so she independently financed her first 3 songs with the help of collaborator Christopher Ward who helped manage her career to international success.

The '
Alannah Myles' first self titled album (1989) produced four Top 40 hits, “Love Is”, “Lover of Mine”, and “Still Got This Thing”, as well as the number one international smash, “Black Velvet”, which she won a Grammy award for best female rock performance, along with several Juno Awards, a Diamond award for sales in excess of 1,000,000 in Canada - the only artist who still retains this status for her debut record. ASCAP awarded the song a 'Millionaire Award' in 2005 for over 5 million radio plays of “Black Velvet” in the USA. SOCAN awarded the songs, “Black Velvet” and “Lover Of Mine” each with an award for over 100,000 plays in Canada in 2006 with her #1 hit song “Instead Of A Kiss” to follow.

Her follow-up album;
Rockinghorse, (1993) received a Grammy nomination for it's title track and three Canadian Juno Awards. After the sale of over six million records, Alannah concluded her alliance with Atlantic Records signing on with Miles Copeland's Ark 21 Records to release her fourth record Arrival (1997), which had the top 40, hit Bad 4 You. She also released THE VERY BEST OF ALANNAH MYLES (2000) containing hits from all four albums including the beautiful, newly recorded Linda Ronstadt cover Long, Long Time.

After an eight year songwriting hiatus
Alannah has re-emerged, with a newly recorded album entitled Black Velvet in order to re-connect with her millions of fans. Black Velvet contains brand new studio recordings along with Black Velvet 2009, a new studio recording with a contemporary arrangement of her classic hit. Executive produced and financed by Alannah, produced by A Rival co-producer Mike Borkosky with help from gifted Veronica Ferraro in Paris, France and mixed by renown producer Terry Brown, Black Velvet was released in Europe and Canada in 2008 and in USA, 2009 receiving accolade from both new and established fans around the globe.


“A good song lives on til well after we're gone. It has the power to inspire others and move hearts without their even being fully aware."

"Though I never realized it until years later, my art had become a direct reflection of the way I felt about instant fame. Though I was and still seem to have been lauded respect for the accolade my music created, I sure had
alot to learn that I was in too much of a hurry to hear. I eventually I learned to use what fame brought me as a weapon against all that is false and low."

God put me on this planet to accomplish a certain amount of things.

"Right now, I'm so far behind, I can never die!"


To get started I would like to ask you what got you interested in music?

As a small child of 5 I always sang. It came naturally to me and I envisioned thousands of people watching and listening tome sing. I picked up my mother's classical guitar at 11 and taught myself to play. At first I could not play bar chords and because it was difficult to learn other artists songs, I wrote my own.

For me, I learned to play the guitar as a child and my Uncle was my inspiration. Who was your musical inspiration, and why?

Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, early Elton John, Beatles, Stones, Lovin' Spoonful, CCR, Mavis staples, The Staples SIngers, Aretha Franklin, Anne Peebles, early Tina Turner, Sam Cooke, 4 Tops, AC/DC, T Rex, Jennifer Warnes, Linda Ronstadt, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, it is a very long list and it continues to grow.

Could you tell us what happens on a usual day for Alannah Myles?

I am self managed. I have an assistant who answers regular fan requests but it is I who must respond to no less than two or three hundred booking requests per year. Only 10 - 20 of them actually materialize from clients, promoters or agents who are legitimately interested. I have suffered trauma due to spinal injury from
chyropractic abuse and have been healing holistically without medication for the last 6 years. Miraculously, with a great deal of physio therapy I am able to walk and my health is slowly improving. My voice has never been stronger.

What is your type of music you listen to for enjoyment?

I listen to no music when I am not creating my own. I surround myself with silence. I prefer the sound of oceans or wildlife & nature to
anyone's expression of music. There is alot of music out there and most of it is unfortunately derivative and uninspiring. I must turn to my memory banks and call on the inspiration of my favourite artists that are filed somewhere in my brain. I live a very quiet life in a very beautiful place overlooking Lake Ontario in Toronto, Canada. This, and my vast touring experiences are what inspire me.

Have you seen any good movies lately?

I've seen many movies. I am a movie freak. I subscribe to pay television in Canada and see all of the movies released to cable. Thank God for movies and their makers who respect the use of music in them as imperative, otherwise I would suffer stagnation.

Do you have any interest in sports? Are you watching any of the Olympics?

I am an equestrian and have enjoyed showing hunters and jumpers since I was a young girl. Presently I am not in the position of being able to afford a horse but eventually that will change and I will live on a farm surrounded by horses.

I have enjoyed watching the Olympics.
IMAO I believe the U.S. male gold medalist for figure skating Evan Lysacek was totally worthy of his win as it was the strongest and least flawed performance of them all despite how many times he twirled on the ice. It is a tremendous misfortune that the lack of snow and warm climate has made for such flawed slopes for the downhill skiing events.

Are you computer savvy, if so do you use Mac or PC?

Do birds fly? I may be a bull in a China shop but I am proficient enough to accomplish all that I need to on my Mac, personally supervising all of my online accounts.

What is on your bucket list?

That's a tall order. I have already accomplished, in one third of my life what most wish for in a whole lifetime. Good health privacy and and peace of mind are most important to me. Though I have not ruled it out as a possibility, I gave up on finding the man of my dreams a long time ago.

What is one of the best days of your life so far?

Learning how to stand up for myself by
guiltlessly saying No!

What keeps you getting up in the morning everyday?

I am a very enthusiastic and energetic person but it's usually my not so little, 9 month old Bengal kitty, Gabriel that either keeps me sleeping through my mornings, or up really early jumping on my head to play fetch the Q-Tip.

What musical instruments can you play?

Acoustic guitar, very poorly.

Do you have any preconcert rituals?

Yes, I like to remain quiet and calm and do not like meeting anyone until after I've played so that the energy I deliver to my audience is my own. I take baths in, or burn lavander, geranium and eucalyptus essential oils in a lamp to sooth my vocal chords and miraculously prevent any possibility of losing my voice. Then I warm up my vocal cords in a very low key to songs like Amazing Grace while putting my make up on in my hotel room.

If you were a bag of chips what kind of chips would you be?

Popcorn or sour creme & onion Quaker Oats rice puffs or Cheetos Cheesies.

Do you really think that KD Lang has a striking resemblance to Wayne Newton?

Ha, ha, you've been reading my blogs. Yes, in fact I do. Particularly in that white tux worn by all of the men in the Canadian Winter Olympic parade. I do, however recognize her profound passion and technique as a singer but her voice does not touch my soul in the same way as perhaps Justin Timberlake's did in his version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah which both of them recently performed live in North America, or Susan Boyle for that matter.

Where has music taken you in the world?

I have been almost everywhere including Brazil but not the rest of South America which I would still like to see and south Africa, India, Turkey or Malaysia.

Do you have any pets?

My beloved blue fish George died after 2 and a half years so I replaced him with my Bengal cat, Gabriel. He should last for 20 years and has become more like a scrappy little racoon or a dog. I cannot eat a meal without setting a place at the table for him or it becomes a stressful meal with him crawling all over me. He loves human food.

Do you have any new endeavours for the near future?

I am in no hurry until I find the right collaborators creatively as well as financially to record a 1920's styled jug band blues record with pop & jazz overtones. Ideally, I would like to win a lottery, law suit or an inheritance and finance it myself so I am able to work without the stress caused by record company interference. Since the beginning I have A& R'd my own records alone or with the aid of my collaborators.

Do you anticipate any new albums or songs coming out?

I have been working on a video for Trouble, a song from my currently released CD called Black Velvet. It will usher in my blues record quite nicely and give audiences a very clear idea of what I am about to embark on. I'm sure it will also attract all the right elements to enforce what I envision creatively.

We all make mistakes in life. Are you one that looks at tomorrow, or someone who dwells on the past?

No time to dwell in the past. Learn from mistakes but quickly move on to more positive things.

For me if I am having a bad day I like to eat vanilla icecream. What helps you get through a bad day?

Sheer determination, iron will and a voluminous spirit. If all else fails, shopping.

If you had to do it all over again would you change anything, or do it all the same?

I accept all that had to happen to get me where I am today, even though I admit I am guilty of having sabotaged my efforts on more than one occasion.

The program ‘Own the Podium’ has proved to be a success for the Canadian athletes in 2010 Olympics. Do you think they should make a program for musicians like ‘Own the Music Charts’?

The music industry is in serious danger of becoming a circus. It needs all the help it can get!

I would really like to thank you again for doing this interview. If you have anymore that you would like to add, feel free to do so.

You're most welcome. All the best and thank you for your intelligent questions.

Alannah Myles