Adrian Sutherland digs deep for debut solo album

The Attawapiskat musician and founder of the Midnight Shine band’s debut solo album drops today (Sept. 17).

When The Magic Hits has nine songs and covers a variety of themes. Some are about his mother, past trauma and coming to terms with it or fighting demons. Other songs are about his wife, family, community or longing for someone.

“There’s something there for all the people I’ve touched in my life: my friends, family, certain people. I really tried to dig deep in this album, writing and preparing for it,” Sutherland said. “A lot of heavy and important stuff for me. And I’m absolutely proud of this album.”

In Big City Dreams, Sutherland sings about his childhood dream of playing on the big stage.

Nowhere To Run was inspired by his mother.

Sutherland describes his childhood as tough and traumatic. As a boy, he felt it was his responsibility to look after his siblings and his mother, who’s a residential school survivor. He’s been carrying that responsibility throughout the years to this day.

“There were times my mom wouldn’t come home for long periods and I didn’t know if she would ever come home. I was just very worried about her all the time,” he said. “That’s where the song was inspired by, my mom.”

It can be scary putting yourself out there and being somewhat vulnerable, Sutherland said, but he’s learned to keep his head up above the water. Whether it’s writing lyrics or working on his memoir, it feels like therapy.

“It’s allowed me to think and reflect on some of those things. In a way, it feels like a healing journey for me, getting that stuff out and moving beyond it,” he said.

For the music video of Right Here, a single about being there for the people that you love, Sutherland took over 1,600 selfies.

Walk With Me, co-written with Serena Ryder, is about coming together as individuals and as a country.

“At a small scale, just finding common ground and truly appreciating each other. And walking together,” Sutherland explained. “In a lot of ways, it reminded me of reconciliation in this country where it’s kind of been tossed to the side a lot.”

Make Me Better is a song for Sutherland’s wife Judy and his family, whom he misses when he’s away from home for too long.

His top three songs from the album are Big City Dreams, Walk With Me and Magic Hits.

Seven of the songs were produced by Colin Linden. Two other songs, Right Here and Make You Better, were produced by Tim Vesely.

Co-writers on the album include Jay Semko, Serena Ryder, Colin Cripps and Chris Gormley.

Sutherland said he’s happy with how the album turned out. He plans to have a big year in 2022 in terms of holding shows and having his memoir published.

“There’s been so much interest in the album leading up to the release. I just couldn’t be happier with the support we’ve been getting,” he said. “I want to say thanks to everyone who crossed my path and took the time to talk to me, people that I know, friends and family. This album is for all of you and all those people that touched my life.”
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