Brian Byrne is a singer-songwriter who has spent over 20 years in the Canadian music industry, releasing two solo albums as well as being the frontman for I Mother Earth. His recent projects; The OCD Collective and LESSONUP, find him utilizing his ambitious desire to do good in the world through his musical passions.
What sort of experiences have elevated you to where you are today?
I think being from a small place (Steady Brook, Newfoundland) I realized very quickly in life the value of community, knowing families your entire life that you can count on and lean on at times. We also were exposed to great story tellers. For whatever reason every parent and granparent could properly tell a great story.
I know that this exists and is prevalent in many parts of the world and an important part of culture…I just think it is the one thing that always spoke to me and I appreciated.
I think for these simple reasons I was inspired to pursue music and know that I had roots and stories to share and that I should try to always stay on a path that was based on hard work , maintaining good relationships and very little ego and lots of humility.
What do you think people can do to become more involved in making a change for the better in the world?
I think in order for people to assist in changing the world for the better you need to support the things that speak to you.Things you are moved by and inspire you.
I have always wanted to help where I can but sometimes you can’t just get behind something. I believe thats human nature. We all have different backgrounds and have been affected by different people and experinces in life. So in deciding to support a cause and help with changing the world for the better you had best be moved by it so its honest and good.
What can people expect to see from you in the next few years?
I think over the next few years I hope to continue on with music, play shows and be happy making music. I have been fortunate enough to do it so I hope I can do it for a long time and share with people what inspires me…thats the dream…
my wife and I want to do things with OCD collective (www.theocdcollective.com) that involve good kind hearted people doing good things.
When did you and your Wife decide to form the OCD collective and what were you hoping to see develop out of it?
I don’t think it was much more lofty than that. We just recognize that sometimes people need support and if we can use our network of friends and family to bring light and help to something or someone that we are inspired by than great!
Right now we have been developing an idea (with good friends and partners) to bring live music lessons to people online with the support of some “celebrity” musicians and anyone else who has given their life to music and now wants to give back.
The music industry is in a terrible state and the Canadian music industry has always been a tough go for musicians to make a living. The greatest percentage of professional musicians in Canada make under 25,000 dollars a year.
Lots of these people have families and no back up plan, no health insurance, no nothing.
So through our business LESSONUP (www.lessonup.ca) we plan to pay our instructors 80 percent of what they make, they set their own rate, hours, availability the other 20 percent goes like this…it’s a dollar for dollar give back to unison benevolent! (www.unsionfund.ca) so everytime we make a dollar we give a dollar to unison. the business will only ever take the 10 percent . the rest goes back to the instructors and to a fund that they may have to access from time to time.
The only thing I can say is that every single musician out there needs to know about unison and should support it whenever they can. When I found out about it last year it very quickly became my focus. It is my heart. I believe that the people and the work of unison should be celebrated. The concept has changed my life.
If you could sit down for a one on one with anyone, who would it be and why?
I think if I could sit with anyone it might be my poppy. He passed away but I always wish for 10 more minutes with him. He was such a good guy and lots of times my moral compass. I miss him a lot.
What was it about Oliberté that spoke to you?
Honestly when I found Oliberté…it was just the footwear that spoke to me! lol!
However, when i actually read about the company and what you do…I thought….thats awesome….I need to reach out. Bravo! nice job guys! So cool!
You’ve worked with and around so many talented people, what do you feel stands out as qualities in people you choose to surround yourself with?
I think when I decide to work with people they just need to be good solid nice people….ego not needed.
I want to feel safe and happy around people. I want to know that from values to simple interests intersect somewhere.
we don’t always have to be on the same page all the time but hopefully through it all we can end up in the same place.
I’ve worked very hard to try and be mindful and respectful of anyone I’ve had to deal with over the past 20 years of doing this.
What drives your passion for the things you’ve dedicated yourself to?
I think what drives me changes sometimes…just in little ways. At the root of it all its family. First starting hoping my parents , grandparents and siblings would be supportive and proud of my work. Now its the hope that I can always make my wife and kids proud of me, my work and our family. Family is my motivation. I haven’t always made the best decisions but I try to make sure I keep those mistakes in mind as I move along and always try to be a bit better and take care of them and love them as best I can.