By: Heidi Hopf

If you have been paying attention to the music scene in Brantford and the surrounding area in the past two years, chances are the name Cory Mercer is a familiar one. He has quickly been making a name for himself, playing bars and a multitude of local charity events. Although his music may be new to you, he is no stranger to music.

Mercer knew that having a career in music would be his goal since the early age of 11. He was inspired after his mother escorted him to an Aerosmith concert where he was enchanted by the performance of the band as well as opening act Johnny Lang.

After that, Mercer continued with his guitar lessons at The Brantford Music Centre and played in a few bands throughout high school. But that just wasn’t enough to quench his thirst. He went on to attend Cambrian College in Sudbury obtaining his Ontario Advanced Music Diploma. Paying for his college tuition by selling the 1965 Ford Mustang he and his father had rebuilt. When he returned home he began the long journey of moving towards his career path by playing in a variety of band settings as well as solo. Two years ago he was fortunate enough to leave his day job and become a full time working musician.

Sounds glamourous enough. However, there are many challenges to doing so. Alongside booking, promoting and playing gigs Mercer has been trying to find the time and the correct approach to completing an album. This has become his biggest challenge yet.

Having approximately twenty original songs in his repertoire, some of which he has been sitting on for eight years, he has no shortage of material. So, what’s the trouble you may ask? In this day and age of basement recordings, it may seem as though putting together an album should be next to effortless. This is rarely the case. In order to have a polished product, many artists need to call in the pros. Which is an idea that Mercer has realized he needs to entertain.

Cory playing at the Duke on Park

“There is so much to recording I think that it’s nice if you can just delegate tasks to someone else. If you can just focus on the music I think it streamlines the process a little bit.” Mercer explained. “When you’re recording it all yourself you’re doing a lot of things aside from just writing and playing music. The recording aspect is a big part of it. So I’ve decided to record some of the tracks at home and send it out to someone to have it mixed properly and they can put some sparkle on it.”

The actual act of recording isn’t the only challenge he has faced. As much as being a musician may seem as though it is all sex, drugs and Rock’n’Roll, there is a lot of pressure that can come along with it. Just as it does for those with 9-5 jobs, if you will, sometimes life hits you hard. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t stop for any of us during these times and being in a creative mindset can sometimes prove difficult.

“This last year I’ve been feeling the depression a little bit and have been trying to get back into the swing of things. Ideally, you are at a point where you want to wake up and make art every day. I hadn’t felt like that in awhile and I am just starting to finally get back to that spot, which is good. You kind of have to force those creativities upon yourself.”

Although over a year has passed it hasn’t all been for naught. New songs have been written and the tracks have evolved over that time period. It’s also given Mercer time to learn the importance of staying true to the songs natural biology.

“For a little bit there I wanted to take solo acoustic songs and make them into a band production. But that’s not what the songs are at this point. They are solo acoustic songs and I think they need to be represented as such. I want to keep it more true to what I do.”

Now that so much has been learned the only difficult task ahead is choosing a track listing.

“I’ve always felt like an album should have a cohesive flow of material not just a bunch of songs. So that’s also a hard part, deciding what songs are going on in what order. I think that’s also where a producer can be beneficial, just having someone to talk to aside from me getting crazy in my own head trying to figure out which songs work well together.” Mercer said.

Mercer continues to drive forward with his album and deliver quality performances throughout the city.

Keeping live music thriving in our area is something that falls on us as the consumer.
As Mercer always says, “support local businesses that support local music.”

Join Cory Mercer Music on Facebook for upcoming shows and booking information.