PEI

Barbershop Sessions showcase local musicians and their haircuts

An Island barbershop is giving local musicians a boost with a free haircut and a professionally-edited video.

'Free hair cut and a video. It's perfect for a singer-songwriter's budget.'

Jordan Cameron was hired by Confound Productions to do the sketches. It took more than 5 hours to get the illustrations needed to make the 6 minute video. (Submitted by Jordan Cameron )

An Island barbershop is giving local musicians a boost with a free haircut and a professionally-edited video.

In the Barbershop Sessions videos, barber Sean Aylward talks to the musician as he's cutting his hair, then the musical guest performs with the barbershop as the backdrop.

Brendan Henry, of Minotaur Creative — a web design and branding company based in Summerside, P.E.I. — rolls on the haircut and the song, then melds them together.

The process is free for the artist — they aren't charged for the video, or for the haircut.

Henry said the idea came about after he filmed a series of music videos a few years earlier while traveling across Canada and wanted to do more. At the same time, his friend and client Sean Aylward was opening his first barbershop in Summerside.

"I loved the idea," said Aylward, owner of The Humble Barber, which now includes a location in Charlottetown as well. "I love the local music scene."

The camera rolls as Jordan Cameron gets a haircut at The Humble Barber in Charlottetown. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

"It's a good opportunity to showcase Island musicians and show off my shop as well as Brendan's skills."

"Having the cut first gives the musicians a chance to relax and get interviewed in a very personal environment," explained Henry. "By the time they have a chance to perform, they're so relaxed, they can perform naturally. It's a nice warm up."

"I try to get a feel for who the musician is, what their songs are about, what their writing style is, however the conversation flows," said Aylward.

"The video starts with them with their old look and when they leave the chair to play the song, they've got a fresh style."

"They love it," added Henry. "It's a chance for them to get a good haircut and then get a free video made."

Singer-songwriter Jordan Cameron has done two music videos for the Barbershop Sessions.

"Good luck finding any musician in Charlottetown who doesn't want a high quality video and a free haircut," said Jordan Cameron. "He showed me some samples and I jumped on it immediately."

Sean Aylward, owner of The Humble Barber, watches as Brendan Henry films the musical performance. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

"It's perfect," added Cameron. "It feels really natural it's the easiest type of interview I've ever done because when you're getting your hair cut you usually chat with the person anyways so it's a really natural format."

People have tracked Cameron down online and even purchased albums after seeing him doing his Barbershop Session.

"Free hair cut and a video," said Cameron. "It's perfect for a singer-songwriter's budget." 

Cameron predicts Henry and Aylward will have no trouble finding musicians to keep going with the sessions.

Visiting musicians also welcome

Word is spreading about the Barbershop Sessions and the team already has a few musicians lined up. They also look for visiting musicians who would suit the format and be game for some time in the barber's chair.

"We try to grab visiting musicians who are interested in the platform, someone who's suited to it," said Henry, pointing to the video with Shakey Graves that they filmed while he was on P.E.I. last summer.

It has the most views of any of the Barbershop Sessions so far and Henry hopes the visiting musicians can help bring an audience to the Island talent. The response on YouTube, he says, has been fantastic, both locally and from around the world.

Henry wants to keep going with the videos, filming one a month, and they're also talking to a couple of female artists on P.E.I. 

"We'll have to change the videos a bit," joked Aylward. "Cause I don't think they're going to want me to go at them with the clippers, but we've got some talented women on the Island so I want to showcase them as well."

After his haircut, singer-songwriter Jordan Cameron performs his song as owner Sean Aylward watches. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

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