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Greg Orrē (pronounced: greg ory) is an artist living in Saskatoon who expresses his creativity through songwriting, poetry, visual art, video and design. As the lead singer & keyboardist of Too Soon Monsoon since the end of 2016, Greg has released one LP, three EPs, and performed at Breakout West, Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, Winterruption, Big Winter Classic, and Ness Creek Music Festival (as well as a planned 2020 JUNOfest headlining show). While Too Soon Monsoon continues to work on their sophomore album and plans to release new music in 2021, Greg Orrē is beginning to establish himself as a solo artist.
After Greg and Too Soon Monsoon drummer Nathan Henry finished writing Waves: We Provide What We Absorb, We Absorb What We Provide in the spring of 2018, Greg began to teach himself the guitar. As his fingers slowly callused and he became more familiar with common guitar chords, Greg invited himself to write songs only using the acoustic guitar. This new style of writing and singing led to a prolific period of creation, and the start of a new solo project titled I Am In It. As a classically trained pianist, Greg had relied on his piano for songwriting since the age of 16, so writing music on the guitar was a welcome challenge. During this period between spring 2018 to spring 2020, Greg also wrote a lot of poetry, much of which will be shared as a part of the I Am In It releases.
Following the release of the Waves LP and the Western Canadian tour in support of the album, Greg purchased a 8-track recorder and found a beautiful second hand guitar for sale. In the fall of 2019, he travelled to Arlington Beach Camp to attend a “Songs 4 Nature” songwriting camp. Greg returned to Saskatoon a few days later inspired by his time in nature with like-minded songwriters, and more confident in his ability to write and perform music on the guitar. Two of the songs Greg wrote while on the beach at the songwriting camp are included on I Am In It: Volume One: “Yesterday” and “Always Carry”.
Prior to the upcoming release of his debut album: I Am In It Volume One, the first introduction to Greg Orrē was on May 29/20 with the release of Be Nice Be Sad Be Free. The EP was called “an exercise of mind over matter” by Cups n Cakes and received play on CBC Radio One Saskatoon. It includes three songs found on I Am In It Volume One. Greg's debut LP was released August 28 2020. Listening to the new recordings, it is evident that Greg enjoys harmonies - mixing multiple layers of vocals throughout each song. Improvised piano is sprinkled behind steady rhythmic guitar and pulsating organ lines. The songs are sparse, but never empty, leaving room for Greg’s jazz-influenced vocals to shine. Some tracks begin with a simple fingersnap layered with a singing bowl and chanting rhythmic vocals, while other songs are full-blown productions featuring acoustic guitar, piano, organ, synth, percussion and dynamic vocals.
Most of the LP was crafted by Greg in the apartment he lives in with his partner Kristen. Sounds of the apartment are captured in the background of vocal tracks: like Kristen's rhythmic sneezes on "Will I Be Sad in Summer?" and the dogs barking in time on "What Does I Am In It Mean To You?". Kristen also contributed other performances on "Be Free With Love", "I Am Tuning In" and "I Got a Call from God (2020 New Visions)". Greg also worked with Josh Palmer on three tracks, Josh mixed track 2, and engineered & mixed tracks 3 & 4.
The I Am In It project will consist of three full-length albums, two poetry companion books, plus video projects for each album. Greg is currently in the process of preparing to release his first poetry book (October 2020), complete a children’s book with his partner Kristen, record a Christmas EP (Nov 2020) and finish recording Volume Two (Spring 2021 planned release). The two poetry companion books will be shared in between the three album releases: I Am In It: a collection of poems includes over 80 poems and associated sketches & images compiled from May-Sept 2018, and another poetry book tentatively titled I Am In It (isolation) includes over 30 poems written and reflected on during the thirty days of...
Greg Orrē, lead singer of Too Soon Monsoon, releases his debut solo album
September 2, 2020
I Am In It Volume One explores the power of consciousness: how the thoughts we repeatedly tell ourselves (and the belief in those thoughts) form our reality and can lead to our wellness or illness. We are much more than what we have been taught: (I am aware I am awareness, I am conscious I am consciousness…“I Am Tuning In”). Spiritual reflection: largely guided by various texts, podcasts, meditations, mantras and yoga practice allowed Greg to further reflect on the root causes of the belief systems that were blocking him from fully being able to accept and let go. The tracklisting reflects the order of the chakras: the energetic centers of the human body that allow for our energy to flow, keeping us balanced or unbalanced (flowing from the root chakra vibrations of the opening songs all the way up to the crown-chakra-charming final track).
Most of the LP was crafted by Greg in the apartment he lives in with his partner Kristen. Sounds of the apartment are captured in the background of tracks: like Kristen's rhythmic sneezes on "Will I Be Sad in Summer?" and the dogs barking in time on "What Does I Am In It Mean To You? (Interlude Three) ". Kristen also contributed other performances on "Be Free With Love", "I Am Tuning In" and "I Got a Call from God (2020 New Visions)".
As the album was nearing completion in the spring Greg found that the opening three tracks: “Yesterday”, “I’ve Learned (I Was A Fool)” and “Always Carry” called for something a bit more elevated than what he was able to mix on his own 8 track recorder. He had previously been in conversations about recording with Josh Palmer and finally jumped at the opportunity once “personal bubbles” in SK could expand. Josh’s studio - equipped with a vast array of keyboards, synths and other analog recording tools that Greg doesn’t understand or know the names of - brought an instant smile to his face. A Hammond B3 Organ/Leslie Amp combo and Yamaha CP80 Electric Grand Piano are featured on tracks 3 and 4. Josh mixed track 2 and recorded, mixed & co-produced tracks 3 and 4. A natural easy chemistry flowed between the two during their few short afternoons together. This collaboration, which is hinted at on this LP, will continue further on 2021 LP I Am In It Volume Two.
Drawing on the artistic tendencies of many of his influences (like Fiona Apple, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Fleetwood Mac, Amy Winehouse, Prince, Alanis Morissette, Jack White, Joni Mitchell, Feist, Emily Haines… to name a few), Greg relaxed into the joy & freedom of self-recording and worked to create an album that could be placed amongst his favourite records. The album is intended to be a demonstration of what it is like to be “In It” - to be within the thoughts of Greg. Greg’s favourite albums are ones that he can throw on when he is writing, reading, painting, or relaxing but also albums that draw the listener to new subtleties on each successive close-listening experience. This project is an expression of Truth, as Greg continues to develop confidence in his ability to express himself without fear of how others will react. After healing from another concussion - this time from a skiing accident in early 2020 - Greg developed an even deeper appreciation for the gift of life (previous concussions stemmed from diving into a shallow pool and from having his head smashed into plexiglass during his teenage years as a defenceman). Greg invited himself to be open to presence: recording vocals & instrument tracks in one full-take whenever the feeling to sit down to record struck - pushing himself to own any “mistakes” and mix the naturally recorded track into the song.
It is evident Greg enjoys harmonies, as he often mixes multiple vocals through the tracks while improvised piano is sprinkled over steady rhythmic guitar and turbulent organ lines. The songs are sparse but never empty, allowing for Greg’s soulful vocals to shine. Some tracks feature a simple fingersnap layered with chanting rhythmic vocals, while other songs are full-blown ...