Music 'integrated' in N.L.'s culture, says guitarist and YouTuber Ewan Dobson
'I wanted to get out to a place where music was more integrated into the culture,' says Ewan Dobson
A professional musician from Ontario with millions of YouTube viewers is now making his music in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Ewan Dobson, 34, is a fingerstyle guitarist who moved from Toronto to Paradise about a year ago.
"I was kinda done, you know, living in Toronto and I wanted to get out to a place where music was more integrated into the culture," Dobson told CBC's St. John's Morning Show.
One of the signs here that music is a bigger part of the culture is that in some of the bars and clubs there's no televisions.- Ewan Dobson
During a previous visit to the province he played at The Ship Pub, The Rose and Thistle Pub, as well as hosting a guitar clinic at Long & McQuade.
He said that's all it took for him to get hooked on the place and make the big move.
While he's slowly fitting in, Dobson said he's happy to be in a place that is rooted with music.
"One of the signs here that music is a bigger part of the culture is that in some of the bars and clubs there's no televisions," he said.
"That automatically says that they're going to be paying attention to the musicians."
When he was eight, Dobson's interest in music was sparked by a Motley Crue music video, as well as the scene in Back to the Future when Michael J. Fox plays a Chuck Berry solo.
Over the years, Dobson has become an accomplished guitarist and won numerous awards, including the top honours at the Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Competition in 2009.
His style of music, he said, is a combination of styles that has evolved into what he called "acoustic metal mixed with trance."
After listening to guitarist Leo Kottke, known for a fingerpicking style, Dobson said he knew fingerstyle was for him.
"Someone told me that it was called manic, fingerstyle shred," Dobson said.
Dobson has millions of shares on his YouTube channel with one video reaching more than 21 million views, and calls that success a "pleasant accident."
He attributes having millions of viewers to a phase when he used to wear costumes while performing.
"During that time in my life I was experimenting wearing certain costumes and stuff on the videos and so I wore this particular hat, and people associated it with a character from a video game, Raiden from Mortal Combat," Dobson said.
"For some reason people just kept on re-posting this video and it was shared on a lot of high traffic websites, and it was just shared and re-shared and that's kind of how it went."
Dobson has previously released four albums, and added he has been writing and recording music inspired by Newfoundland and Labrador culture.
His next live performance is Feb. 27 at The Levee in St. John's.