Greg MacPherson doesn't have a lot of free time in his schedule.
Between working as a self-managed musician, running an independent record label, spending time at his day job as executive director of the West Broadway Community Organization, MacPherson somehow also finds time to teach songwriting to kids in inner-city high schools.
But for MacPherson, juggling all these different elements has made him a better musician.
"My music stuff has really been helped by my working, I find that I just got better at making sure I made time for the things that were important," he explains.
"I find people who don't have a job and are doing only their art, I don't think their time is as well spent in a lot of cases. It was that way for me anyway. When I only worked on my music for a little while there it wasn't the best 'cause I was more scattered. Now I'm focused, if I got an hour to spend, I'm spending it writing a song. I get a lot done, quicker."
Greg MacPherson wears his heart on his...well...chest. (Facebook)
Growing up in a military family, MacPherson has moved 37 times in his life and even lived in a number of neighbourhoods around Winnipeg. He moved away from the city for awhile but came back in 2007 and started doing handywork at 608 Broadway, the West Broadway Community Organization.
"I started off there fixing the front steps and painting, then I got into some project coordination work and I just fell in love with it," MacPherson says.
"Someone suggested I apply for the executive director position and I thought that was hilarious and inappropriate but I did it anyway and I got the job and since then I've been running this organization with a group of volunteers and a strong group of colleagues I have there."
MacPherson has seen the West Broadway neighbourhood change a lot over the years, as young families have moved in to be closer to downtown. While the resulting gentrification brings some positive change, it has raised other issues for people who've lived in the community for a long time.
"[We're] trying to look at the changing aspects of our neighbourhood and react in a positive way," he says.
For MacPherson, the work he does every day has given him access to parts of the city most people who live here will never see. "I worked a lot with rooming houses and I always say it's like lifting the rock of the city and looking underneath," he says.
"You see some of the realities that are there. A lot of them are beautiful, a lot of them are really ugly and terrifying. I think we are making a difference, it's slow and frustrating and there's bigger wheels at play that we can't control. But we're trying to create a little wheel inside a wheel that's doing something really great."
MacPherson has also found time to record a new album, called Fireball
, which will be released in October. And while he's busier than he's ever been in his life, he's rising to the challenge.
"I've written a ton of songs, I've gotten a lot of projects going and
I've learned an immense amount about the city and about community
development and really fallen in love with that work."Catch new music from Greg MacPherson and hear him in conversation with guest host Chris Hannah on SCENE On Air. The show airs every Saturday from 5 - 6
p.m. on CBC Radio One, 89.3 FM/990 AM/97.9 FM in Brandon.