Interview with Wesley MacInnes
(Photos by Phil Crozier)
1. I know you, but some people may not.
So could you please introduce yourself to the world?
"I am a musician, actor, director, producer, writer and overall creator. The longer I’ve spent in the entertainment business the more hats I’ve found myself wearing. I think the common thread is a mixture of storytelling and the act of converting my imagination into something tangible, ideally that makes people feel something. I feel the most at ease, and happy when I am making something. I like the idea of finding the things in life that make you feel powerful and inspired. And for me I get that feeling most when I am creating something. I’ve been fortunate in my career to be able to work with and create things with some really amazing folks. From the A-List moments touring with Shania Twain or acting alongside Liam Neeson, to the quiet behind the scenes work I do with my best friends, many of whom are writers, producers, artists and other creative people. My enjoyment of any of it is not really fixed to how big of a deal something was or is, but more in relation to the creative thing I’m working on, the joy I get from that process, and the fun of working with people I love. There is a Willy Nelson lyric: <The life I love is making music with my friends>… that really resonates with me."
2. What was your first job in the music industry?
Also, what did you do before that?
"Within the music industry I’ve always been an artist. If you mean my first paying gig in music, arguably that would be when my next-door neighbour, Davis, offered me and my band 10 cents to play a song for him. We were 13. I guess that’s the first time it was my job… since then I’ve been paid both more and less to do all kinds of things... I’ve also worked as a bartender, landscaper, and in a political office."
3. Did you study music before getting into the industry?
"I don’t have a formal music education. I played the violin and the drums as a kid. My dad taught me to play guitar when I was 11. I did a number of musicals growing up. I took guitar lessons further as a teenager. But my knowledge as a songwriter, producer, performer and artist is really all just from doing it.. I think that is the thing to accept in this business and likely anywhere… you just have to start at some point and accept that you might suck at first. In fact you likely will. I certainly did. And that is okay. Everybody you’ve ever seen that is good at something likely sucked at first. I try to remind myself of that often in creating new things. It’s unfair to compare your early work to the work of those people you look up to in its final form. It’s like taking your half-written song and comparing it to a Beatles album and just giving up because the gap between seems so big. I think it's important to just getting going and realize that as with most things you will find it along the way."
4. If you could work with anyone you’d want,
who would that person be and why?
"Likely John Mayer. He is a real musician’s musician. Loves the craft inside and out, is absurdly talented and really seems to take great joy in the work he does. And he strikes me as a total weirdo goofball, which I like."
5. What does a normal day in your life look like?
"Hmm.. I don’t know that I have a normal day. On the boring side I wake up, make breakfast, do emails and computer work for a few hours, eat, go for a walk or run in nature, eat, read my book, sleep... Maybe on the more exciting ones I wake up, write a song, record it, go audition for something interesting, work on writing a film, see my friends and go to an escape room game (love those!), go swim in the ocean, laugh and cry watching a sad movie, realize I’ve eaten nothing all day, eat cookies, sleep... I think the appeal of this job for me is the variety. It still has a lot of mundane time but I take pleasure in knowing that I’m not chained to the exact same thing every day."
6. Where is your favorite place to be and why?
"At my cabin. There is no greater joy for me than walking in the door to that little place in the middle of nowhere in the mountains. Swimming in the lake, watching the sun set over the mountains, writing, and just breathing in the clean quiet air. I am at peace there."
7. If you could, what would be the one advice
you would want to give to your younger self?
"Do and say the things you really want to do and say. Don’t go around it. Say the big things and the hard things and chase what you are most passionate about, rather than trying to make anyone like you or make things easy on those around you. Take up the space you need to live."
8. What is the best advice that you’ve gotten?
Who was the person that gave it to you?
"Deric Ruttan is a highly accomplished and successful country musician and writer, and a rad dude. He has written some number 1 hits in the US and I am lucky enough to know him through the music world. I was stressing out about a number of things one day and he told me that when facing a difficulty, he tries to ask himself if the thing he’s stressing about will matter to him in one year. If it will, then perhaps it is worth the concern. If not, then maybe it is something not worth worrying about. I try to apply that in my life when I can. He is a wise dude."
9. What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
"Touring with Shania Twain for a few months is likely the coolest thing on my resume. I am a huge fan of her work and her. Getting to sing Party For Two every night with her during her set was absolutely sublime. There was a night in London, Ontario when we finished the song and I took out my in-ear monitors to hear the crowd and it was the loudest sound I’d ever heard. She put her arm around me and we waved to the sold-out arena, and I think that moment is the highlight of my career to date. Being shaken down by Liam Neeson was pretty neat too."
10. If you could be on a stage any anywhere in the world,
where would that be and why?
"Part of me just wants to name a very big stage here like the O2 Arena, as that would likely mean that in this fantasy my career was at a fairly stratospheric place. But in honesty, if it is really about the stage, I would have to say the Coca-Cola Stage at the Calgary Stampede. It is my hometown and I remember all through school going and seeing free concerts there of some of my favorite bands growing up. As an adult I’ve played at the Stampede on the Nashville North stage, which is actually larger. I’ve also played on many other stages in my life that are bigger than it. But there is something magical about it to me and I would love the chance to play on that stage. Bucket list item."
11. Is there anything you can disclose about any new project?
"I’m developing two shows about space. I have a new song I’m wrapping up that will come out in the summer. Follow me at @WesMackMusic for the latest… shameless plug in the interview…. How uncouth of me…"
12. What is the best part about being a musician?
"Playing my guitar is something I’ve always found very cathartic and a lot like meditating. Making music takes me to a place where I feel the most happy and powerful and at ease. I would also go back to that Willie Nelson song again… making music with my friends. Doesn’t get much better."
13. In the end, is there anything you’d like to say to the people who support you?
"I really appreciate anyone following along in this life of mine. There is no massive wall between me and the people who support me. I’m just taking this whole thing one day at a time, likely working through a lot of the same insecurities and struggles as anyone else. So, I really do care about and appreciate the people who have taken some time out of their lives to follow along with me. I hope that my work inspires and makes people feel like chasing their dreams and living the life they want... Thanks for taking the time with these questions!"
Wesley MacInnes also known as Wes Mack, is a musician. He dropped his latest single "Just Getting Warmed Up", from his album SOUL on January 24.
Mack’s latest album Soul, which was co-produced by Mack and Jordan Orbek (George Canyon, Chris Buck), dropped in 2019, make sure to check it out. - https://ffm.to/wesmacksoul
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