In 2011, Canadian singer/songwriter, Adrian Sutherland started his band, Midnight Shine. Together, they released four albums and achieved some success. Recently though, Sutherland had the idea to start pursuing a solo project as well. As he finds himself with some extra time on his hands, he has been able to continue building onto this project.
“Only now, since this pandemic came, have I been able to take time and be able to focus on writing for a solo album,” Sutherland tells American Songwriter.
He released his debut solo single, “Politician Man,” in 2019, which he co-wrote with Chris and Matt Gormley. Now, the three songwriters have done it again with Sutherland’s second solo single, “Respect the Gift.”
“They are brothers, from Hamilton, Ontario, and both of them are very talented songwriters and musicians who play with a number of bands,” says Sutherland. “We’ve been working together as a songwriting team for a while now, and they also perform on the track with me.”
In this inspiring rock tune, Sutherland sings the lyrics, “you can’t change the world if you don’t do your part.” These words strongly represent the feelings of this past year. Especially with the pandemic, it has become clear that even just one person can make a huge difference.
“The song is about not taking for granted the gifts and talents we have, and even more so today, not taking for granted anything at all. We must use our gifts in whatever way we can to make this world a better place.”
From teaching himself to play the guitar and harmonica as a teenager to writing songs and forming a band, music has always been an important part of Sutherland’s life. As he mentioned about this song, “we need to focus on the things that we have and what makes us happy, because that is really all we can count on right now.”
Sutherland finds solace in music during this time of uncertainty. “Music is always a good outlet for me, especially now in this very troublesome time we’re in. I live in an isolated community, called Attawapiskat, that you can only access by air, and sometimes in winter by ice road. We have many challenges living so remotely—we’re on the coast of the James Bay—and it can be tough a place to live.”
“While many things have changed this past year, music is one thing that has remained constant for me, and that brings me comfort and hope,” Sutherland adds.
Following the release of this single, Sutherland plans to share a music video on January 19th . Just as the video for “Politician Man” was, this song will be directed and animated by Justin Stephenson.
“It’s different from anything I’ve ever done,” Sutherland says. “We really had to get creative, especially since travel is very difficult right now for a lot of people. So we came up with a really cool concept, and couldn’t be more pleased with how the video turned out.”
Check out “Respect the Gift” down below and keep an eye out for the release of the animated music video:
Photo by David McDonald