GBC alumni nominated for album Escape from the Mongoose Gang
Lyndon John, a multi-talented reggae sensation and a George Brown College alumni has been nominated for a Juno award for the third time in eight years.
Music has been a consistent part of his John’s life since he was five years old. He started playing piano and violin at an early age. He didn’t enjoy those instruments as much as playing the guitar, which he started playing at the age of eight. With Grenadian parents, the music of the Caribbean has always been his principal influence.
“There’s a group called Steel Pulse, out of England, and they’re probably my favourite group,” explained John. “I just really enjoy listening to them, and other artists like Barrington Levy, Santana, and Peter Tosh, all helped me get better musically.”
When John, who is now 39, was in high school, he wrote the song All My Lovin for a school play, which can be heard on his 2007 Juno award nominated debut album, Two Chord Skankin. After John’s music teacher Steven Zerkowski heard a recording of the song, the teacher encouraged him to pursue music.
“He was the one that told me that, if I connected with artists in Toronto, my music could really take off,” said John. “A few years later I re-recorded the song, All My Lovin and that was when I started recording the album Two Chord Skankin.”
Since then, John hasn’t skipped a beat, and his quick rise in the music industry has him wondering if he’s living in a dream.
John is also a full-time structural detailer, or draftsman, for an engineering consultant doing drawings for different radio towers and the equipment that goes on those towers, a trade he learned at George Brown.
Music has always been his true love. Although he has to practice at night, the only time he can manage to do most his recordings, John gives guitar lessons to multiple students from his community around Huron East to keep the reggae rhythm sharper.
His best advice to up and coming musicians is that consistent practice and repetition make the formula for a great performance.
For John, practice is what gets all the jitters away, “it’s just you and the music, it’s not you thinking about ‘Oh, I am going to screw up coming up on bar 17’ or ‘Oh man, am I going to forget this because it’s my first time playing by memory?’ No, you practice the music as much as you can so you know exactly what you’re doing.”
The Juno Awards are considered one of Canada’s premiere music awards. The Grammy’s of the north are happening this year on April 3 in Calgary.