Posted On 16 Apr 2019
Get to know the Newfoundland singer-songwriter Tim Baker (formerly of Hey Rosetta!).
Check out his single “Dance” here- https://youtu.be/0jCe2QmIQsM
In February of 2018, Tim traveled across Canada solo to play a handful of intimate shows (which sold out immediately) in some of the oddest venues: a book store, living rooms, a ski lodge, the rink bar during a curling tournament and a hotel room Tim lived in for a week. This intentional, unconventional approach allowed him to distill the purest elements of these songs by road-testing them in the most challenging of circumstances – alone in front of silent, small, attentive audiences. All delivered from the heart and either by piano or guitar and most of which will comprise a 5 song live video EP/doc style mini series entitled “The Side Door Sessions.”
Baker is best known as the front-man of the JUNO Award-winning and Polaris nominated band Hey Rosetta!. In 2017, the band announced their hiatus and Baker began writing his first solo album. The result is Forever Overhead, 11 timeless songs that are as connected to classic 70s songwriters like Harry Nilsson and Cat Stevens as it is maritime folk. Forever Overhead, with its sweeping piano ballads, acoustic meditations, and dynamics arrangements, is a fresh addition to the recent crop of contemporary songwriters like Father John Misty, Tobias Jesso Jr, and Andy Shauf moving the craft forward while mining its past. Forever Overhead will be released via Arts & Crafts on April 19th.
Connect With Tim Baker here- Website
Learn more about Forever Overhead in the following All Access interview here-
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you?
I am in Toronto today, in my apartment, computer screens in front of me, blustery day out the window to my left.
Now that we are well into the 3rd month of the new year, how has 2019 been treating you so far? What are some goals that you have for this year? How are those New Years Resolutions going?
Well 2019 has been very exciting thus far. The dream of the last couple years has been coming into fruition and its all on the ground running now. I have never been a particularly goal-oriented person. I heard an interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and apparently he always wrote down his goals – he wanted to be the strongest person in the world, he achieved it, then he wanted to be a movie star, he achieved it, then he wanted to be a powerful politician, he achieved it. So perhaps i should. But I always go with what’s in front of me and just navigate by intuition.
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
Growing up I played music all the time, took piano lessons from a young age and really connected with music. When you are a kid, it is just another thing you are learning, like walking or speaking. Only later do you realize that not everybody does this. At some point, I realized I was fairly good at it and enjoyed it. I don’t remember actually deciding that this was going to be my career. It happened over time with Hey Rosetta! The shows got bigger and bigger, then tours, record labels got involved and here we are today. I definitely questioned it at times, in the back of vans on long tours, thinking “Is this is? Am I supposed to be doing this?” but it’s always seemed like a gift, thorns and all, the right thing to do for me anyway.
Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else? If you weren’t a musician today, what could you see yourself doing?
I enjoyed going to university. I have degrees in Sociology and Creative Writing and I thoroughly enjoyed learning that world, so I would probably be a lifelong student/teacher.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
The biggest challenge I have found in my 12-13 years of being a musician is that it can be very tiring. Maybe that is just life, I don’t know? The touring schedule we had was very spiritually and physically draining, so I struggled with my health for a while. As for a welcome challenge, knowing when a song is finished is a difficult one, but fun.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live now?
On this record more than ever, the lens was turned on to St. John’s and Newfoundland. Perhaps because I recently moved to Toronto from my home, and like any good Newfoundlander, the minute you leave is the minute you begin to pine for it.
Let’s talk about your newest single “Dance.” What was the inspiration for this track? How does it prepare listeners for your upcoming album, “Forever Overhead” due out later this month?
“Dance” was probably the first song that I knew was going to be on the record. I like that it’s very stripped down. A lot of the record is full band arrangements but “Dance” stands on its own (although there is a fairly deep and sophisticated band part to it). We released it first because it felt to me almost like an invitation to people to come and listen. It was written from the point of view of someone outside of the action, which I suppose I have been for a couple of years. I always imagine the song being sung by someone convalescing and wanting to connect.
What was it like making the music video for “Dance”? How creatively involved were you with the overall process of making it?
It was a whirlwind but great fun. I was very involved with it. My friend Jordan Canning and I came up with the idea for it and did the writing, casting, location scouting, everything all together. She is a master.
What are some other songs on this forthcoming collection that you are excited to share with the world? How did they get to be on this album?
“All Hands” is out now as well, and that is one of the tunes that looks back to Newfoundland and to my growing up there. It is hard to pick a favorite, but maybe my favorite right now is “Don’t Let me Go Yet.” I connect with it right now because it’s sort of a song about a new beginning and a metaphorical party ending and not wanting to leave. And so for me, as I’ve been playing it on stage, I’ve sort of been singing it to my old band and all our fans and supporters over the years.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
My favorite way to connect with fans is in real life, at shows. Of all the platforms though, I appreciate the simplicity of Instagram.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Influences and favorites include Feist, Paul Simon, Ron Hynes, Angel Olsen, Sufjan Stevens, Dion. A bunch of this record was inspired by Dion’s record “Born To Be With You.”
Where can fans see you perform next?
Tour dates are here: https://timbaker.net/
If you had an unlimited budget and your schedule was free, what would your dream music video look like?
That’s a whole brainstorming session in itself. At this point I’m very cognizant of how much videos cost so that’s hard. I feel like I just made my dream video with “All Hands” because its basically a montage of all the people who made the record possible and had an impact on my life. All my people together.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island, what musical item would you take with you and why?
I would take a piano with me. A hard thing to pack, but I could probably sleep under it too.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
I hope that, as with any sort of successful art or music writing – I hope that people feel connected with something or someone that is like them. And feel the soft release of that in the middle of their day.