Toronto native Scott Helman has accomplished a lot since being signed with Warner Music Canada when he was 15 years old. Five Juno nominations including songwriter of the year, a tour with both Walk off the Earth and Vance Joy, along with numerous hit singles. The 23-year-old has now about to embarked on a headlining tour that will span across Canada for the next few months including a stop in Ottawa at The Algonquin Commons Theatre on March 19, 2019.
Helman’s love of music started at a very young age, but with no musical talent within his family it was something he says, “was always in my bones.”
Helman was gifted a guitar for Christmas at age 10 and he has not stopped writing music since. “I did not have access to million dollar recording studios I only had my acoustic guitar and a notebook,” he says, “when I would listen to singer songwriters I would think to myself Oh! I can do that because I had access to the same things they had.”
A gift card he received to a recording studio for his Bar Mitzvah at 13 allowed him to start putting music on YouTube which in turn lead to a call from Warner Music Canada. “I was a nerdy kid back then, I came in with thick rim glasses and my tone was super dark, I played them six or seven songs from my notebook and they offered me a record deal.” Helman counts himself lucky that he landed with a record company that allowed him to come into his own as an artist and that allowed him to find out who he wanted to be.
His high school experience was as a pretty normal one even with the growing pressure and the busy life that comes with being signed to a major record company.
In 2015 Helman hit the road with Canadian rock band Walk off the Earth opening up for them on both their US and European tours.
“They really thought me the value of hard work and dedication. Whenever you think you can’t do something you probably can,” he says “they are making music videos on the road and writing songs and taking care of babies. So, they really thought me the value of working hard and believing in yourself.”
Helman’s inspiration for songs comes from his personal experiences and he tries to write from the heart, “every song has its own function. There are songs on my record that are really fun and I just want to make people happy and then there are other songs I write about that are really tough and are deeper and move me on a more personal level.”
His latest music video for his song “Hang Up,” which landed him a Juno nomination for best music video, was one of those songs that came from a very personal experience.
“I had a weird phone call with my girlfriend, I have ADHD so sometimes I just let my mouth run and it’s all unedited dribble and I end up not saying exactly what I meant to say and then you dig yourself into a hole and you have to dig yourself out of it and it was kind of one of those conversations,” he says “ I remember thinking man why can’t I just say what I want to say, I took that feeling into the studio and wrote about it.”
Helman kicked off his 2019 tour on Feb. 2 in Guelph ON, and he hopes the fans will be left feeling excited for what’s to come. “Me and my band have really grown into our own and we know what works and what doesn’t. We know what people come to our shows for, and we really wanted to make a show that services everybody and has all the highs and lows of a great show. We really up the stakes with great lighting and a good backdrop to make it something nice to look at and something really exciting for people,” he says “ It will make people leave feeling very satisfied and really excited about what is to come.”
Helman’s advice for aspiring musicians is “Don’t stop, if you’re writing songs you should write songs everyday if you’re a singer you should sing songs every day, just like anything it takes a lot of time and a lot of practice. Be open and be yourself.”
You can find tickets to Helman upcoming show in Ottawa at The Algonquin Commons Theater on March 19th tour here.