Johnny Reid’s Juno Award-winning music career could have been a genetic probability.
“My grandma was 87 and partied like a rock star,” said the Scottish-born singer, who performs with a bevy of artists, including Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster, on Saturday, March 5, at Red Deer’s Centrium.
“She probably wanted to be a rock star …”
If that’s so, then his granny would have been over-the-moon about Reid’s music video for Honey Honey a song from his latest album, What Love Is All About.
Filmed in a Toronto-area nursing home, the video includes footage of seniors discoing, playing air band, and partying up a storm after the facility’s security guard doses off one night.
The elderly revellers, who break-dance and neck in the broom closet, are played by younger actors in makeup, as well as seniors residents of the home who donned disco finery to become extras in the video.
Look closely and you’ll see Reid, himself, sporting grey hair and wrinkles.
“No one knew that was me in makeup! Even my own Mother didn’t know me,” said the 41-year-old, who took four-and-a-half hours to be made to look four decades years older.
“I said to her, ‘Mum, look deep in my eyes.” She looked, then took a step back. She told me, ‘It’s strange to look at your own boy aged 40 years!’”
Reid made the upbeat music video in part to “have a laugh,” but also to shatter the stereotypical notion that seniors are all quiet and conservative. Older people are the same, inside, as they ever were, he said — which means once a partier, always a partier.
“Maybe your grandma is waiting for you to leave, so she can get it on with Uncle Ronnie!” he said, with a laugh.
The singer, who lives with his wife and children in Nashville, is excited to return to Red Deer — this time with special guests MacMaster, as well as Alberta singers JJ Shiplett of Calgary and Aaron Goodvin of Spirit River.
While many of his fans know MacMaster, this is the first time many will hear the music of Shiplett and Goodvin, whom Reid calls gifted artists. He’s bringing them on tour because “I think it’s very important to pay it forward … I remember how my career really opened up after I had opportunities to open for Martina McBride and Brad Paisley … and Kenny Rogers …
“There’s so much great talent in Canada,” added Reid, who wants to do his part to boost rising artists. Juno Award-winning Quebec-based Senegalese singer/songwriter Élage Diouf is also going on tour as a member of Reid’s band, who will also sing a duet with Reid on a song collaboration.
The new album, What Love Is All About, sprang out of several international songwriting sessions. Reid said artists from across the globe asked him to co-write music with them after Joe Cocker covered his song Fire It Up, making it a European hit.
Reid collaborated with various songwriters in Los Angeles, New York, London and Zurich. He noticed “here were these people from all different cultures, and the one thing they all had in common was wanting to write songs along the same theme — of love.
“It made me realize that we may all live in different places and speak different languages, but in the end, we were all the same. We’re interested in love.”
Tickets to the 7 p.m. show are $40 to $80 from Ticketmaster. Reid is donating a dollar from each ticket sale to MusiCounts Canada, a charity that aims to ensure that every Canadian child has access to music education thorough schools or community centres.