Allan Reid has come a long way from the Kelowna boy who had to scrounge money to buy his first record, Paul McCartney & Wings’ Band on the Run. His first job was at a Kelowna radio station, followed by nearly two decades on the road with Universal Music Canada, looking for new talent as the head of artist and repertoire. During that time, he discovered the likes of Jann Arden and Sam Roberts.
Now based in Toronto with his wife (singer Kim Stockwood) and their two sons, he runs the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), MusiCounts—Reid calls the music charity the most rewarding experience of his career—and the JUNO Awards, which air live from this year’s host city, Hamilton, Ont., on March 15.
How many days do you spend on the road?
I’m [usually] travelling a couple of times a month, but as the JUNOs get closer, the trips pick up.
What sort of impact do you think the JUNOs have on the city that hosts them?
The JUNOs bring $10 million to their destination every year, and it’s great to watch an entire city transformed by music. The excitement is palpable whether it’s Winnipeg, Regina or Hamilton.
What do you think of Hamilton’s music scene?
A lot of people see Hamilton as a steel town, but [the city] really used music as a lynchpin to be one of the cultural drivers for that area. Many artists moved there, and, all of a sudden, coffee shops and restaurants started to flourish.
I always have my iPhone and my House of Marley headphones. Flying is the best time for me to catch up on my listening. There’s nothing better than looking out the window to the earth below while listening to your own private soundtrack.
I’m a fan of all kinds of music, but I love singer-songwriters, so I listen to artists like You+Me, Royal Wood and Bahamas.
My dad’s a sculptor and he always said, “Find something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” The music industry is a business of passion.