The Doc Project

'Plump and sexy' and other stories from unlikely songwriters

Welcome to Davenport West — a vibrant, diverse, evolving neighbourhood in Toronto's west end. The Davenport Songbook is a community composition project where people with no formal musical training write, perform and produce original songs. Listen in as songs take shape alongside personal stories.
WATCH: Arts4All mega-mix! Diana, Dave, Wilan and Ken are all from Toronto's Davenport West neighbourhood and they partnered with community group Arts4All to record their own songs 2:37
Welcome to Davenport West — a vibrant, diverse, evolving neighbourhood in Toronto's west end.

For over 16 years, Arts4All has brought artists and residents together to celebrate the stories of people who live here, through theatre, film, art and music.

In 2015 professional musicians and Arts4All facilitators Lisa Bozikovic and Johnny Spence started The Davenport Songbook, a community project where people with no formal musical training write, perform and produce original songs.

Step inside the creative process of four Davenport West community members and listen in as their songs take shape and unfold alongside their personal stories.

Plump & Sexy by Diana Sexi

One night in my dream, I write this song called Plump and Sexy.

Is a story about a man, he's lonely, he lost love, and he think he's lost his life, his love. He's so depressed he doesn't know what to do.

I tell him there's still hope in life, and I take him with me with my motorcycle, I take him with me home. And he starts feeling there's another person in his life, and from there starting, I tell him, 'I'm sexy!'

And then this guy gets emotional at the same time and we start from there.

You Gave Me Life by Ken

At age 5 until age 18, I became a ward of the province of Manitoba. And for the first five years of my life I ended up living in and out of the hospital.

At about age 15 one of my social workers I had in Winnipeg, he even told me that at one point my mom had actually put me into a garbage can.

And I had also been told that at birth I almost died, I almost killed my mom. She had a hard time giving birth to me. But, she did give me life. Her and my dad.

​He was Wounded by Wilan

Ya man! Up and running. This is X Soldier. 

In Toronto they call 'em Wilan! So we are bless up Shanchoy, Michelle, Kimberly and the Art4All crew. And me and Johnny 'pon the Toronto side. Bless up! Up, up and running! Yeah man.

So when you hear me up on the radio, we have a whollupa things in store. Alright, not say nothing. Set it. Bless it.

Candle in the Window by Dave

I have a song that is on much, much larger than standard paper, in my big block printing style. It's — oh, it's massive.

I've got an intro, a bridge, then we do the chorus, first and second verses they sing along. Then I've got my third and fourth verses are me screaming at this chick, Janet. That's how the song started originally — and I've got an extro. So, I've got the makings of a real good song.

I never kept a candle in the window for her. No, I never did. I'm sorry. I can't afford that many candles! But the feeling is there — to light a candle for a love that's gone away.

About the producer

Johnny Spence
Johnny Spence is a musician, composer, radio producer, sound artist, and community arts facilitator.

Johnny's compositions and performances have been featured on a number of critically acclaimed recordings and he has toured internationally with both high profile and more independent acts. He produces radio documentaries on his own as well as one half of JustBeCuz. Past radio work has aired on BBC, CBC, ABC, and among the waves of the Bay of Fundy on Red Clay Radio. Johnny has had the honour to work with Arts4All since 2015. His heart is fuller and life is better as a result of getting to know everyone involved in running and attending this amazing program.

Special thanks to Lisa Bozikovic, Liz Rucker, Arts4All and the Davenport Perth Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre