Guest blogger | Toronto Song Project host and director: Steve Diguer
I had just moved back to Toronto from Los Angeles after spending two years studying and working in the music business. I landed some TV contracts and already felt invigorated and anxious to start something new. When I heard about TV1, I jumped at the opportunity to pitch them Toronto Song Project. When TV1 gave me the green light, I called my friend Marie Masse, an experienced TV producer, and we got to work on finding singers. I knew we had to get two things absolutely right: the singers and the songs. So we started looking everywhere. We used social media, we called and visited choirs, churches, homeless shelters… we asked everyone we knew if they knew anyone with a good voice and a good story. We combed the GTA as best as two people could.
To be honest, the whole idea scared the heck out of me. It was a big job – auditions, interviews, schedules, contracts, cameras, crews, musicians, rehearsals, studios. But mostly, when I stopped to think that these people were trusting me with something so important, so personal and intimate, and that I had to honor them with a good song that they would be proud to sing – it terrified me. The only way to take it was one day at a time.
We met so many fascinating people with great stories and amazing voices, it was truly hard to decide who to work with. I talked to people on the phone, on skype, and travelled to meet many in person. The whole experience was so rewarding. We already knew we were on to something. Through that process we found our four singers: Maddie, Martha, Kevin, and Russella.
Now that the shows are done, I have one goal which is to put a spotlight on the four wonderfully talented singers who took a risk, put their faith in me and the project, and made it what it is. I love their hearts, their souls, and their courage for sharing their lives and their most intimate memories, both beautiful and painful. The best way I know of doing that is to put them in front of an audience who I know will give them the praise, encouragement, and applause that they have richly earned. Nothing would make me happier than to see their lives improve and their dreams come true. And I would love for their stories to inspire others.
My dream for Toronto Song Project? To turn it into the Motown of Canada. I want to meet fun, lovable, passionate people, make their songs happen, and send them out into the world.
On Twitter: @SongPRJ
Watch all episodes of Toronto Song Project now on TV1!