Former soulDecision star Trevor Guthrie hits right note with Grammys

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Jane Stevenson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:52 PM ET

Chances are you’ve heard of high profile 2014 Canadian Grammy nominees like Toronto rapper Drake - with a leading five nominations - and half-Canuck and R&B-pop crooner Robin Thicke (his dad is Alan Thicke) with three nods.

But what about North Vancouver-based dance recording artist Trevor Guthrie?

You may, or may not, recall him singing lead for pop-R&B group soulDecision, who had a No. 1 hit in Canada in 2000 with the aptly titled Faded, given that’s what happened to Guthrie’s career when the group’s second album in 2004 stalled and they broke up a year later.

Now Guthrie is back – and up for a Grammy – with a huge dance song, This Is What it Feels Like, recorded with Dutch deejay Armin van Buuren. The tune will be vying for a best dance recording Sunday night (8 p.m. ET/PT, CBS-City) along with those by Zedd and Calvin Harris and Florence Welch, among others.

“I wrote all the lyrics, I wrote 90% of the melody and Armin did all the production,” said Guthrie, 40, who points out a total of five people are listed as writers on the song.

“Then we hit No. 1 in 31 countries around the world. We were getting platinum and gold records and everything was working. And I did a Portugal tour in early December and I was coming off stage about four in the morning and I get this text message from my lawyer and he’s like, ‘Grammy nomination! Well done!’ And I’m like, ‘What?’ ... At this point, we’re both just happy we were even nominated. For me, it’s a lifetime achievement, kind of, I don’t want to say a vindication, but it was a relief that I chose what I did in the last 20 years to struggle and retain some sort of career in the music industry to get the nomination. I’m like, ‘Wow, I’m glad I stuck it out.’ And it gives me a little confidence to move forward and keep writing.”

We caught up with Guthrie down the line from Vancouver recently to talk about his first meeting with van Buuren and who he plans on taking to the awards ceremony Sunday night.

What happened after soulDecision split?

I went to Australia in 2010 trying to get things going for myself ‘cause I was having a hard time getting anyone to take me seriously as an artist coming out of a marketed boy band... It took seven, eight years for someone like Armin to not care about that and just work with me.

How did the Armin introduction happen?

A friend of mine was working with (Germany’s) Markus Schultz at the time who was the No. 10 deejay in the world. This is going back two years now. It was actually Jenson Vaughan who’s a co-writer on This Is What It Feels Like.

And then you were subsequently introduced to van Buuren?

We wrote a song for Armin and he accepted it and I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m two for two,’ and then Jenson’s like, ‘I got another song for Armin and it’s just some chords but we can write on it.’ At the same time a friend of mine got diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and he had seven weeks to live. (He’s now survived another two years although recently checked into a hospice). So I was kind of dealing with that and I had to write this song and I just took the chords that he sent me and I just kind of picked them out and put them on the piano and just This Is What It Feels Like is the song that came out. ... Armin loved it and got behind it and produced it, shot the video, put it out and I’ve been on this crazy ride ever since.

Will you and Armin both be at the Grammys?

Oh, hell yeah! We’re in India (in Mumbai) the day before so it’s going to be a nightmare trying to get there on time but we’ll be coming offstage at six in the morning in India and I think an 8 a.m. flight, we’re going to fly all night to get there.

And who will be your Grammy date?

A: My lawyer/slash/manager. I figure he can do a lot better for me than if I actually brought a date with me ‘cause I’m sure my manager’s going to be on the red carpet trying to drum up more connections.

Twitter: @JaneCStevenson

Jane.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

 


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