Who Do I Sound Like & What Kind of Music I Make.

I have some musical hero’s and I try in my way to qualify playing on the same team but it isn’t for me to answer if I am worthy. So when the question “who do you sound like” comes up, as it often does;  I should have an answer.

I used to say “emotional music” or  “issue driven music”. The person asking looks back at me as though I didn’t answer. Could my answer have been any more lame or confusing?

Nowadays, I try to say my work is simply run-of-the-mill easy listening. Nobody knows what to do with that plus I get to enjoy looking at them as though I answered them….and I did.

There is so much humiliation in the business of trying to get by as an artist that one should maximize all opportunities to laugh, unless you are at US customs. If the border guard/ customs agent asks “What type of music do you play?” it is a very good sign. It means they are satisfied with your responses to the first questions which were

– Where do you live?

– What’s the purpose of your trip?

– What do you do for a living?

If by chance they smile and ask “What type of music do you play?”  then you’re in.

They never ever smile off the top and they might not smile at all. They might just say pull your car into that bay on the left and then they go through all your stuff and make you wait 30 minutes and act grumpy. But if they act nice, it is a dead giveaway that they are satisfied and now they might take a chance to be polite and ask about your music. It is no time to joke about Barry Manilow.  By the way the correct answer is  ” I play country” and then they respond  “Ok, have a nice time in America.”


  1. Could you somehow change “the Canadian Tom Waits” which makes no sense to “the Canadian Randy Newman”? It is still way off but a little closer at least.


  2. Like a good neighbour, Wiseman is therrrrrrrrrrreeeeee..


  3. True story – US border airport guard between Montreal/ New York in 2001 -I was working in St. John’s as a choir director at the time & was getting grilled for saying I’m a “musician”. I assumed the guy was pulling some homophobic card, or I didn’t look the part. I can’t remember my haircut or the shirt I was wearing.

    -” Really, YOU? You’re working with a CHOIR ? You do WHAT ?! That’s your main job right now? A CHOIR DIRECTOR!!?”

    -“Well, yeah.. umm. yes, sir…I direct.. a CHOIR! They’re there to sing, and they gotta learn, & they pay me to teach them….. Our next practice isn’t until Thursday, so I took the week to see New York City. I’m meeting my boyfriend there. ”


    – “Hold on – wait… what? A CHOIR?…..really?… Now, is there ENOUGH money in that?”

    – No, the money isn’t THAT good, I mean – I work between 7-10 hours a week for them – That covers my rent and bills and food, so I hold on to that during the year. The music isn’t that difficult, but they’re there to sing…. Honestly, you’re in charge, and everybody around you is FRIENDLY to you ALL the time. ”

    ( pause)

    – “Hell.. now THAT job seems really nice….Listen, you GO have a good time in New York with your boyfriend, you hear me?” ( *STAMP* )

    – ” Thank you, sir, I will. ” ( I stop sweating)


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