SW Sounds: Joe Borowsky
London songwriter pens track about his difficult relationship with his late father
SW Sounds is a weekly feature that profiles a southwestern Ontario artist and their new music. Listen for it Mondays on Afternoon Drive between 4:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on CBC Radio One.
For Joe Borowsky, music isn't just notes and rhythms - it's a path to healing.
That's an idea he lives by as a singer/songwriter, and one he tries to teach music students in his job as an instructor.
On his third and latest album, Belief, the London artist includes "Sail," a heartfelt acoustic song that tells the story of his complicated relationship with his late father. It's a song that provided Borowsky a certain amount of healing.
How does being a music instructor influence the music that you make?
I learn a lot from my students. I've been running a music school full-time for about five or six years now, and have the privilege of influencing people as young as seven years old and even people up in their 70s. I try to help them feel the music, rather than just play or sing music. I'm very much into the healing aspect of music and try to bring that out in my teaching.
What inspired the song 'Sail?'
I grew up in a typical home, as most people do. But I had a father who, unfortunately, left my life when I was quite young, when I was about four or five years of age. He always had an issue with drinking, throughout his life. I did see him over the years, though infrequently. He was a good man, but he didn't know how to be the best father. For years, all the things that young boys and teenage boys go through...I had to learn all of that on my own, not having him around.
I never wrote about my father. Even when I was young, I would really dig in deep in my writing and would have a lot of stuff to say, but I would never speak about my situation with my father. And then, my father unfortunately passed away. He was 57, just from drinking.
'Sail' was my way of releasing my feelings. It allowed me to have some closure, and to understand that this is a part of life. It's this idea of him leaving me, but also of him leaving life. And also that there is some forgiveness in it all.
This interview was edited and condensed.
Have a listen to 'Sail' as part of Joe Borowsky's SW Sounds profile:
If you know of an artist that we should be featuring on SW Sounds, email firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out through Twitter, @cbcafternoondr.
More from SW Sounds: