Saturday, February 19, 2011


Everybody needs them. Nearly any success story that you have ever read or aspired to follow will have that 'success story' having had a commanding influence in their life and on their life. Mentors are those that we find on our path that are inherently necessary to reach the next level, to push beyond where we think we can go, because they see in us a potential that generally we can't see ourselves, or are to sacred to take the chance too reach. They are great teachers.. they might not specifically be teachers in a professional sense, but they are teachers nonetheless.

Luke Skywalker had Yoda...
Leonardo Da Vinci had Verocchio..
and..Justin Bieber had USHER!!!!!!!!!

All i have learned is that there are certain people i have come across that have inspired me and taught me great priceless gifts.  You can learn from nearly everything in life, i learned today at the Royal Ontario Museum that in the 1780s, boys before the age of five wore dresses with small pantaloons. However, facts and figures are useful, but real mentors give you inspiration (that may well come from facts and figures.. but inspirational in their application). I have been fortunate over the last few years to get a real KICK UP THE ASS by a few people, especially a great Acting teacher in Sydney called Annie Swann. Any aspiring actor/artist out there should get over to Newtown in Sydney, Australia and see her, and in one hour your life will be totally changed and pointing in a much more fruitful direction.

My current singing teacher is also a constant inspiration and source of advice. Little gem's like 'there is no up, and there is no down'.. 'don't think too much, god, what are you thinking for, just do it!'.. 'just the good bits dear'... and just the giving over to the natural process of development. We are all born with a voice, and then go and give it a whole lot of problems and agony (well some of us over the years anyway). As my teacher says, you already got the voice 'kid', you just don't know how to use it properly yet.

The other big mentor in my life, who probably would never describe himself as a mentor, is the producer of this Album, Dave Thompson. The guy is a fucking genius. But also a real person. He probably knows deep down he's a genius, but he just gets on with it. He expounds truth from every angle. Truth is 360 degrees around that guy. If you are putting shit on, or not being genuine, then get the fuck out of the house. We now have a sign on the studio door which says "CROONER FREE ZONE". He's trying to beat the fake and bring in the real Alex Hopkins. It's a daily challenge, but one which he continues to undertake day in and day out tirelessly.

There is one common link between all three of my major mentors. They all have a wealth of experience in so many different facets of life. They have a universal grip on the ways of the world, but would always admit that it's impossible to have a universal grip on anything, as the more you know, the more you have to learn, and the better you get at something.. well you can get a whole lot better at it than that! They keep searching for truth, honesty, and integrity in the pursuit of life.

Leonardo Da Vinci's goal in life was to search for Truth and Beauty, he never found enough it, not even one iota of as much as was out there (he admitted that on his death bed), but he spent everyday trying to be better, more knowledgeable and trying to find more truth and beauty in the world. Not a bad way of living really...

May the force be with you!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chasing The Dark

It's been a while since I've written anything. I have been meaning to write, and every time i sit down to, something else comes up which distracts, usually something useless and not fruitful, nevertheless distracting.

But here i am. Just got back (a week ago now) from a short contract doing piano bar stuff for Disney down in LA and Mexico on one of their cruise ships- The Disney Wonder. A few immigration scares that could have put a real dampener on my future career, but other than that it was a good chance to get away and get some space and breathe in some warmer air. Again a stark reminder that playing in a lounge is not really what i feel i am destined for long term. However, it is still a cool thing to get paid to play music and see places, and have your washing done, and meals provided, etc. etc, so it could be a hell of a lot worse. However, every time i go down there i come back as loungey as ever. I have to sort this out. Do i want to lounge or do i want to create an organic Alex Hopkins sound and msg. In my heart i want this, but it's scary, with nowhere to hide. I have come to this conclusion.

The lounge gig for me is being in my lounge room, chilled in front of the TV, not simply going through the motions because i give 100% everytime i go on, but really it is something now that is within my comfort zone, time or place- doesn't matter, i'm at home living in the world of other people's songs and the 'is anyone really listening or does anyone really care beyond a nice sound and a few beers' kind of atmosphere. Dare to be bigger.. it is important to think that, and bigger doesn't mean better. Better is a state of mind, and to be honest the lounge might seem better to me one day.. you never know.. unlikely but it just might.

So the Winter lives on here in Toronto. Ebbs and flows between -15 and 0 here and there, depending on the hour or the day. And it's time to get this ALBUM DONE.

We just put down some ideas for Song number 8, which is a lyric/theme i wrote many years ago in my bedroom while finishing my degrees in Ottawa. It's about being stuck in that state of mind that is unhealthy, and breaks down your spirit and soul. It's not self indulgent, but it's that you are too scared to face the unknown and what it would be like to be happy and to be home.. to be home with yourself. The chorus still needs words, but i like the metaphor of being home at last.. safe with yourself, that feeling of.. fuck, i've been living out of a suitcase for so long man, living just all over the place, clinging from thing to thing, idea to idea, pain to heartache, to dreams, all over the place, i just need to be home. Home can be anywhere, but it's a place of peace, or some degree of certainty, or accountability to yourself. You can't run away from this home that i am talking about. It's not where your parents live or where you grew up (it might be that, if that is the place where you feel at home with yourself), it's just that place that your true passion and spirit needs to fly out of. And i think it's inside... it has to be, it's your center.

If you find home, you find who you are.

And Song number seven that i am really excited about is on the surface about my fear of flying.. but serves as a msg to all control freaks out there that you gotta let go at some point, you will not always be able to control things to survive and keep going.. and in alot of ways we are chasing the dark through our lives. Keep going and going and striving, and do we even know what we are heading towards?? Is it forever??

Is it the Disney Happy Ever After where the woman meets the prince?? Yeah the chick's self sufficient and usually appealing, however she only gets to the happily ever after line when she meets the prince that allows that happen.. who the fuck says a prince is necessary for the chick to be happy ever after. Belle could have been just fine reading Jane Austen, Marx, Freud, John Grisham, Richard Dawkins for the rest of her life.. guarantee they will fulfill her more than the singularly layered prince.

This concept of chasing the dark is a cool thing to me, not sure if it resonates with anyone else. But i took off from Los Cabos mexico, and you are flying against the Earth's rotation, away from the sun, the warmth, and from the light, into the darker time zone, and you are just flying, 600km/h totally out of your control towards this ominous dark ahead... and the sunset comes up and tempts you into a little bit of warmth, and then you keep going and it's pitch fucking black and you are totally out of your control in a capsule flying into the unknown. It seemed like a metaphor for life in general for me.

Whatever your dark is, and whatever dark means to you. To me it means all the questions i want answered about the world (which will NEVER be answered most likely.. but it's still good to ask them), all the questions i have about myself, about people i know, about situations, about why F maj to F min resolving to C gives a depression into a positive release.

Anyway.. that is Song Number 7.. chasing the dark, and also a possible name for the album as a whole. All these songs reflect the journey i'm on, and the situations i've encountered and been faced with on that journey.. and let's face it, i got NO idea where that journey is going..

So i am certainly CHASING THE DARK

Hope everyone has a great Valentines Day.. if you believe in it!