“It comes from the heart and it is made to be received with the heart,” says Philip Sayce, whose album <em>Spirit Rising</em> to be released on Friday.
April 18, 2020 4: 00
Philip Sayce : Guitar hero at the height of a man
Philip Sayce would never have imagined to launch an album in full pandemic. Not serious. The author-composer-interpreter, to which it has already awarded the title of guitar hero — stays cool and keeps his goal in mind, a few days of the release of Spirit Rising, due Friday.
“It is a privilege for me, he said. My intention in life is to come up with something that comes from the heart with my music. I think that, now as ever, people need music, be it mine or that of someone else. I have the chance to offer something that can maybe bring a little light into their day. It comes from the heart, from my side, and it is made to be received with the heart.”
A native of Wales, but transplanted with his family to Toronto when he was just a toddler, Philip Sayce is now installed in Los Angeles where, like almost everyone, he is confined to his home because of COVID-19. It compensates (a little) in interpreting his music on the social networks in an idea to keep in touch in these times of isolation. “There are no tours. Then we go out how? Everyone is in the same boat currently. I’ve always wanted to play music and I’ve always done in a desire to do good,” he says.
If he now carries on his solo project, the singer-guitarist has done in his classes with the late Jeff Healey, before making the world tour in the band of Melissa Etheridge. Recruited by the record company Warner, he has released 2015 album Influence, and then a live album the following year. Not so in a hurry, but determined to stay true to his style and his message, he returns with Spirit Rising, an album of blues-rock, roaring guitars, on which he pays tribute to some predecessors, but also made peace with the difficult experiences that he experienced, and who have made “gaining wisdom”.
He recalls the ups and downs of the music industry, who refines his art with a philosophy to the height of a man.
“To quote my lawyer, it is a game of snakes and ladders, picture-t-il. Some of the things going on behind the scenes can do harm. Sometimes, we rely on the good faith of the people. You can shake hands or sign a contract… and Then realize that the contract is not worth more than the paper on which it is printed. It is necessary to pay attention. Even in front of people who you are supposed to have confidence. I browse in there for a long time.”
Sayce also mentions the loss of his father, who had died suddenly. “Mourning is something special,” he observes. It expresses itself in different ways, it’s back when we do not expect it. It influences the way you see life every day. I trudged through it and I saw that in my family was to me as a person, but who also understood the message that I am committed to bring in my life and in my music.”
This period is emotionally charged, Philip Sayce has had the desire to shoot a music that’s authentic and honest, that keeps this in mind sometimes a little more thought of the benefit to the public. “I especially love the old recordings where you know it goes live, he notes. It is an energy that happens only once and you want to capture this moment as best as you can. Sometimes we can make a few taken with that in mind and then choose the one that gives us goosebumps. For several of these songs, it was just me and a drummer in the recording studio. You pressed the button and it played! It’s like it’s happening in the show. We wanted to approach it with the same kind of intensity and integrity.”
Tribute to the idols
In addition to the original creations, three times were included on the Spirit Rising of Philip Sayce, who wanted to pay tribute to musicians who have influenced her art : Jeff Healey, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Magic Sam.
“For me, it is very important to continue to honor the music of my heroes,” he says. I grew up listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jeff Healey, Eric Clapton and all these great guitarists. And they have spoken to musicians that have influenced them. It allows you to look through their eyes, in any way, and to be able to say : “Wow! Magic Sam… It’s cool!” It is one of the best bluesmen in history.”
Ditto for Lightnin’ Hopkins, “which has greatly influenced our musical vocabulary,” says Philip Sayce. About Jeff Healey, the tribute came even more from the heart, as he has worked with. “It was really done with love, gratitude and respect,” he says.
Between the past and the future, Philip Sayce is confident to see the scene that he cherishes both remain in good health and continue to renew itself. “It is super vibrant. There is a huge movement of young guitarists who arrive. It’s inspiring,” says the one who says it is still keen to learn and improve.
“I feel like a student every day,” he admits. When one speaks of Jeff Healey, you can listen to it for five seconds and say that we would need 10 lives to play like him. […] Every time I hear Albert Collins play the guitar, I go back in the rehearsal room. If Sidney Crosby, the best hockey player on the planet, practice every day, I will definitely continue to practice.”
Like what, even in Los Angeles, Canada still finds a place in the heart of Philip Sayce. “Always!” he said in French.