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  Industry Profile




Industry Profile: Mick The DJ

— By Larry LeBlanc (CelebrityAccess)

This week In the Hot Seat with Larry LeBlanc: MICK the DJ.

At 37, MICK is one of hottest DJs on the planet.

Not only has he spun music at private parties for such celebrities as Kanye West, LeBron James, Jay-Z, and Will Smith, but he has held court at celebrity-laden events in Cannes, London, Davos, Miami, Berlin, Mumbai, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Dubai, Las Vegas, Barcelona, and New York City and worked for such major corporations as Spotify, Nike, Twitter, Yahoo, Playboy, Yahoo, Red Bull, Audi, and Ralph Lauren.

He has also consulted on projects for HBO, scored national television commercials for Adidas, and starred in a Microsoft Bing national TV commercial.

Whenever back home in New York City, MICK, formerly Mick Boogie, is often found behind the turntables at the trendsetting upscale clubs Up and Down, 1OAK, and others.

Born Mick Batyske in Youngstown, Ohio, MICK grew up in the nearby village of Poland. HE attended John Carroll University where he earned both a B.A. and MBA in marketing.

While attending John Carroll University, MICK worked as a college radio DJ, and later for Z107.9, the major urban station in Cleveland. While attending grad school, he had decided to turn his music hobby into a career. By 2008, MICK had decided that if he was to continue with music as a career that he needed to move to New York City.

As an investor, MICK has been involved with the startup of numerous companies including Localeur, and Stublisher.

You travel more than 225,000 miles a year?

It’s probably more than that. That’s the average. It’s a lot.

You manage yourself?

I do.

How do people find out about you to hire you?

It’s a bunch of different ways. I am very much a relationship guy. I treat everybody like my friend until they prove otherwise. I enjoy communicating with people. When I meet people it’s not like, “Hire me.” It’s “Hi man, what’s going on?” We develop really human personal relationships. What happens from there is that it (the relationship) just grows exponentially. People will then say, “You should meet this guy. You should know him.” Then I will meet the person, and they will put me through to their networks, and vice versa. It ends up becoming like this big spider web of really amazing contacts that all come from meetings.

There has to be more to it than that. Like the quality of your work.

First of all, I do a good job. I’m good at what I do. I am also great with the people that I do work with as well. It kind of self- propagates that way. So that’s one way (of getting work). The other thing is that I am relatively media savvy. I just started working with a PR company in the last month or two, The Chambers Group. Before that I had pretty much done everything in-house. But I have a great perception of how I should be covered, and what I should be featured on.

This comes from someone with a marketing background.

Exactly. Absolutely.

You are doing something that could be a hobby, you are able to make a living doing it, and it’s something you enjoy. So many people hate their jobs.

That’s very true. I realize that, and I appreciate that. I have plenty of days where I have the same issues that everybody else has with their jobs. Whether they are heart surgeons, plumbers, or bus drivers, everybody has those days where things are a little bit iffy. That happens on my side as well. I realize that I get to travel the world doing what I love. When you distill all of the random elements out of it, the crux of what I do is pretty fun.

Why the change in name two years ago from Mick Boogie to MICK?

Before I answer that, let me ask you why do you think that I did that because you are smart.

I thought Mick Boogie had lived out its shelf life. It belongs more to the club world. MICK is more international, and better suited to the corporate world.

I would say that you are pretty spot on with that. Mick Boogie, I chose the name in the first place because I wanted a very ‘90s hip hop sounding name, and a hip hop sounding name in general. It worked for me for that era. But as my career changed and as my brand has changed, and as my sound has changed, and my clientele has definitely changed, it got to a point where it was very limiting, and a very finite name....

And a name difficult to market internationally.

Right. For me there were a couple of things that I noticed. One was that there was a lot of open space with the name Mick. There’s only Mick Jagger. It wasn’t like my name was John.

You have MICK in caps.

I write it more like a brand. I do it more as a company. I don’t use the word DJ that people will stick in front of my name. I just do MICK one word, all caps. Mick Boogie just sounded dated. I realized that as I was growing up with my personal life and in my career, and as I was moving into these other areas—I do a lot of public speaking--a lot of the times when I do those various things like the public speaking, and I’m on panels, often I find myself on panels with big marketing people at tech companies or with people from big media agencies, and everybody has their (personal) name. For me, that name would instantly diminish my credibility in the eyes of the audience because I had this kind of weird funny name. I was up there with all of these other people. We are all as smart as each other in different fields, but my name was creating a situation where it was lowering my playing field. So cleaning up the brand, and altering my name not only did it help in that regard, but it helped tremendously with my clients, with work coming in, and with my income coming in. Everything has completely grown dramatically for me.

What reaction do you get from people when you say your name is only MICK?

It’s interesting seeing peoples’ reaction when they ask, “What’s your Instagram?” I’m like, “MICK.” It’s a 20 minute loop of me telling them “MICK.” It instantly makes them think if they don’t know me, “If he has that name on Instagram, he must be doing something right. Perhaps we should be paying more attention to him.”

Having a Centurion American Express black card with just MICK would be the ultimate.

Maybe, I need to do a bunch of events for them, and put that into my rider.

How do you set your work fees?

It all really depends. I don’t really believe in set rates. I think it’s important to be realistic.

Well, I work on a scale of low but fair; medium but fair; and high but fair. Usually, you get taken advantage of working at low but fair. So I work at the high but fair level where’s there’s respect for what I do from clients.

I agree with you. I am definitely at a point in my career where the rates are very good and very fair. I have certain bench marks that I stick with. That being said, the beauty of being self-managed is that I can also evaluate opportunities on an opportunity by opportunity basis. If there is some amazing charity event, or an up-and-coming thing in a world that, perhaps, I need to make sure that I want to be in, I am able to very quickly agree to do it. It’s so similar to these start-ups in the entrepreneurial culture that everybody tries to be part of right now. If you are at Ford, General Motors or Pepsi and you want to make a decision like that, it takes three months and 200 people to make a decision. But if you are lean start-up, you can make that decision in 30 seconds, and then press a button on your phone, and that decision is done. That is exactly the same model that I apply to my career. I don’t have to go through a team of 17 people to find out if I want to accept a gig at, maybe, less than I would want or on a day that I normally would not work. I am quickly able to decide “Yes,” or “No,” and make that change. That’s a great strength for my career because it enables me to not miss out on a lot of opportunities.

How often does a potential client try to low-ball you and says, “Mick, this would be really good exposure.”

Oh, it happens all the time. That’s where my third eye comes in. I know the difference between when that is actually true or not. A lot of times that is true. There are a lot of times where doing something like that has helped me. But there are a lot of times when that is just utter bullshit.

People often want creative people to work for free or for a lesser fee.

I had something like that the other day which I had to decline. I said, “I wish you the very best with your event but flying in 3,000 people from all around the world to your event in one of the biggest cities in America, and your sponsor is one of the biggest, and this is really your budget? Either I don’t believe you or your event is so bad that it’s going to horrible.” There was no way the numbers that they were telling me equated to any of the things that they were using on their deck to promote their event.

But there are times when you will work for a low fee or no fee.

There’s also an element of giving back that I believe in. There are charities and things that I work with. If it’s something that I believe in, I will do it for whatever their budget is because this game has been very, very good to me. So, if there’s an opportunity for me to contribute back, I will. I just did something for an awesome charity here in New York, Delete Blood Cancer. They do some amazing things. I did a benefit last year for Housing Works that tries to help eradicate aids in the homeless. Things like that -- if I am available, I am only happy to donate some time. Maybe, I can’t do the whole night but, maybe, I can come in for a couple of hours, and do what I can. That’s important. At the end of the day I am healthy, I have a home, and it’s because of DJing. If I can do something to help out other people who don’t then I’m more than happy to help out.

On the celebrity circuit you are comparable to a wedding DJ in that you play records people mostly are familiar with. In clubs, you can be more cutting edge, “Here’s something you have never heard.”

Right, exactly. That’s funny that you say that because what I try to do is merge those worlds when I do events. We have all been to a million events where you hear a DJ, and you are going, “Oh my gawd, why are you playing that?” What I try to do is to find way to give people that familiarity, that comfort, and that spirit that makes them feel at ease with those situations, but I do it through my ears and through my vision. Whether that is me remixing something live, or spending some time finding the most amazing remix that nobody has ever heard from some kid’s SoundCloud page that only has 30 listens. But I found it and it’s really great and I play it. Essentially, this is the new version of digging in the (vinyl record) crates, if you will. I try to find ways to make sure that when I am at these events that I don’t sound like that (like a by rote DJ). But at the same time people walk away not realizing that they didn’t hear all of the stuff that they wanted to hear. There’s a grey area and that‘s honestly one of the reasons for my success because I am able to split the difference.

Your product is being a DJ which is also your brand, but you are expanding that brand by working with different companies. Are you moving more and more toward the business side?

I have always had a business, and an entrepreneurial mind. I have two companies that are doing really well that I did some start-up angel investing in, and I am always looking for more opportunities. I am working with Stublisher, and a company called Localeur, which is kind of a travel app which is based on how people should experience a city as a local versus as a tourist trap or over commodity type of thing like Yelp where people can pay for the use. It’s really doing well.

You don’t see doing DJing forever?

No. I don’t plan on doing this forever. Let me rephrase that. I will also do this but there will come a time in my life when that scales back down to the innocence and the creativity, and I do it for pure artistic expression versus for financial gain.

Are you talking about like your early days as a DJ in Cleveland?

I am just talking about the hip hop that I love, that made me fall in love with the form in the first place. By that I mean I get to go around the world and do all of these amazing things for all of these brands, I’m very blessed, but the gigs that I will do for like...if I get the chance to open for a De La Soul or a thousand people straight up who love music, those are the gigs that I do for my heart because those are ones when I’m 80-years-old and looking back, I will remember those.

Do you do any club residencies anymore?

Up and Down, and 1 Oak are the clubs that I will do a couple times of month when I am in New York. It’s good to way to keep tab on the pace (of club music). A lot of times when you are on the brand circuit, you are not necessarily playing the newest record that comes out the day that it comes out. You are not necessarily getting the kid who spent all day on SoundCloud that knows everything the minute that it comes out. It’s (playing clubs is) a great way to keep your ear up, and to sharpen your skills.

You had invested in Mixstream, the mixtape streaming site.

We ended up stopping that. I just really felt like that mixtapes was in a different direction than where my career was going. As a time cruncher, it was taking a lot of time, and I just want to put that time, and effort into other things.

The golden age of mixtapes was probably 8-10 years ago. Today, there’s so much social media traffic that a mixtape doesn’t have the same traction.

I agree. I’ll still put things out which correspond with big events or big things that I’m doing because it is important, but I don’t do that for fun anymore. For the most part they are calculated, and well-thought-out. But I have been able to take the business stuff that I wanted to do and expand it, and have been working with these other start-ups. Now a lot of my DJ clients are some of the biggest media and tech companies, whether it’s Twitter, Yahoo or Spotify. Those are global clients of mine, and they have become friends as well.

Nike as well.

I’ve done a lot with Nike as well as Adidas. I really love working with big brands and helping them solve first and foremost their musical problems. Sometimes that leads to other opportunities.

Other than playing product launches or conferences for these brands what other roles do you play with them?

It all depends. For more fashion and sneaker brands I have done some stuff outside of DJing, like scoring a commercial. I do a lot with EA Sports, where I curate all the music that goes into basketball video games, such as “NBA Live.” I have been doing that for several years. Now I am able to apply the thought processes that I have learned in music to help back with some of the things that I have invested in, like consulting and giving different opinions on experiences that I’ve had even though the companies that I am involved in have nothing to do with music. One is travel and one is experience or technology. I just have been around so many things that I have qualified opinions in those worlds as well. I love that.

While working at radio stations early in your career, a well-known urban artist would come by, and you’d grab them for a beat or so, and put together a mixtape. In essence, you were doing audio selfies.

Yeah, that’s an analogy. You can make that case. I lived in a market, and in a state where there was not a lot going on at the time. When anybody would come to Cleveland for anything they would have to come through our radio station.

While attending John Carroll University, you worked at WJCU 88.7, and later for Power 107.5 in Columbus, and Z107.9, Cleveland’s commercial urban radio station.

I didn’t really have access to the bigger artists until later. I used to do college (at WJCU). The Power thing was a Columbus station that I was on for only a month. Z107.9, that was the big urban station in Cleveland. I was on there for several years. I used it when I got out of college to help pay for my grad school. I was able to cultivate a lot of access (to urban artists) because when these artists are in New York and LA or Miami they had a trillion things that they needed to do. When they would come to Cleveland, there really wasn’t anything for them to do. So they would do whatever we wanted them to do at the radio station. I was able to use that to my advantage when somebody came through.

Obviously, the bigger the artist the less you are going to get, but what was very fortunate was that a lot of the guys that came through got really big after the fact. So whether it was someone like 50 Cent, G-Unit who blew up, or rappers like the Clipse, all these people, when they first started, they would come through and we would be very fortunate. There’s a lot of lightening in a bottle. They ended up becoming some of the biggest names in the past 10 years.

You did “The Pre-Up” mixtape featuring Eminem in 2006, “The Graduate” with Kayne West in 2007, “1988” with Adele in 2008, and “UknowBigSean” with Big Sean in 2009. Not all mixtapes you have done were back then, though.

No, no. The Big Sean was more recent. The Adele thing was quite awhile ago.

The “Dilla-Gence”mixtape with Busta Rhymes was back in Ohio?

I’d like to say that was ‘07 or ‘08. It was right before I moved to New York or when I moved to New York.

In the urban community a mixtape is a business calling card. That’s how Drake got known for example.

Oh yeah. It’s an audio business card. You mention Drake. Before he blew up, he used to listen to my mixtapes. He has said that in interviews. He did an interview with XXL Radio a few years ago where he mentioned a mixtape I did (“And Justus For All”) with a real awesome group called Little Brother that broke up. But they all went onto individual things. 9th Wonder (aka Patrick Douthit) is a Grammy-winning producer, Phonte (Phonte Coleman) started (The) Foreign Exchange, and I think also got nominated for a Grammy. Before all that they were in Little Brother, and I did a mixtape with them, and Drake has mentioned in interviews how that mixtape was his favorite thing, and it had really inspired him on his career. He told me that when I met him. That was kinda cool. It’s interesting know that how big he is, and how iconic he is, that when he was starting that he was listening to something that I put together and, if that influenced him even remotely , even slightly, that’s just cool.

When you do anything like that, and I don’t do it much anymore my career has changed drastically over the years, but from that era of time, I put a lot of time and effort into those (mixtapes) and you never know who is going to hear them. That goes from everybody from Drake to Coldplay to Gwyneth Paltrow, who has put songs I did on her cooking site. Even with so-called regular people. I have been on many airplanes, and people will tell me that they heard something on a mixtape I did, and they will show it to me on their phone. It never gets old (hearing that). I take that as a compliment that somebody would take the time to take something that I did, and put it on and enjoy it.

You attended the Grammys and saw Jay-Z and Coldplay performing “Lost” formatted to match the version you did on a mixtape.

Yeah. We added a verse, and he came out, and did it. I was at those Grammys and it was crazy. It was surreal. It was when social media was really starting so we weren’t really able to get as much traction from it as we wanted to. I would have definitely had made that a lot better known today.

While you had Drake coming up to you and singing your praises, you have been able to collaborate with some of your boyhood heroes like producer Jazzy Jeff, and hip hop legends GZA, Buckshot and Bun B.

Absolutely. Jeff was the first DJ that I ever heard, and it (“He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper,” the second studio album by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, released in 1988) made me want to explore this culture, and this art of DJing. It was the first cassette that I ever brought with my own money. I still have the cassette. For us to be not just collaborators but friends at this point, it’s pretty cool. It’s a great example of life coming full circle. If you work really hard, and be a good person, and try to do the right way, stuff sort of works out.

Some of the mixtapes by people like DJ Green Lantern (James D'Agostino) are incredibly creative.

Oh yeah, he was a big influence on my mixtapes. What I liked about the mixtape culture—and I haven’t talked about this stuff in years—there were like two schools of thought for mixtapes. People who put stuff out really quick like the DJ Clues of the world, and then there were people who put stuff out creatively like the Green Lanterns of the world. What I tried to do was try and find that sweet spot right in the middle where I could be creative, but I could also be fast. I might not be the fastest, and I might not be the most creative, but I was the guy who was creative and fast.

Also on the fast side of providing mixtapes was DJ Drama.

Yeah, yeah. Actually, that is even a better example. He created the idea of the artist doing the tape, and being the creative force.

What you and others were doing with mixtapes five years or so was still underground. We have since seen DJs like David Guetta move up to being a global mainstream artist. Still mixtapes are part of your heritage.

Yeah. My career started to shift by that point, but what I’ve always tried to do is to keep a toe in the world that I have come from. The world that I came from isn’t a world that is going to pay my bills the way that I want them to be living in a brownstone in Brooklyn but one thing that it does is that it keeps my heart and my soul and my spirit very much even keel.

What led you to deciding to come to New York?

I finished grad school, I think in '05, and DJing was what I was doing up to that point. Then I decided just to give it a little more time, and I thought, “If I’m going to do this. I’m going to have to move to New York because that’s the only place to have a chance to grow this.” So it (moving) was great vitamin into my spirit. I got married in 2008, and two weeks later we moved.

When you came to New York you didn’t start out at the bottom as a DJ. If you had come from New York, you would have. It may have taken another 4 or 5 years for you to breakthrough.

I agree.

You arrived in New York as the digital social world was taking off.

Exactly. For me it was a perfect storm of my career doing well, and I was able to move here. I was in a very happy place because I had just got married. There’s a real confidence and assurance that come from knowing you have that part of your life got of locked down.

And to be working in the city where people never sleep.

I was able to come in with much more of a business focus because I wasn’t worried about girls or partying. That helped. That was a little bit of help. All of that kind of played a part. Then I realized a few years ago that being the DJ really isn’t even my job. My job is the other 22 hours of the day. I didn’t even want to have a small business anymore. It’s a real legit business and my product is showing up for a couple of hours every night.

Does your wife Rana get involved with your business?

She does when I need her to help. The best thing that she does for me is it’s not like where I say “I’m running late, book this flight” or “I can’t go to the bank.” She will do that stuff too, but the best thing for me is that she is just an amazing sounding board. We will go at it. I will be dead set on one idea that think is the best in the world, and she will think that it sucks. Sometimes I’m right, and sometimes she’s right. Most of the time the truth ends up being somewhere in the middle. We do a great job of balancing out things on our own.

What work does she do?

She does a lot of stuff in the fashion world like fashion production, behind-the-scenes stuff. She’s kind of a jack-of-all trade.

Did you meet at grad school?

We met after I finished grad school. She lived in Detroit, and I lived in Cleveland. She happened to be in town for a basketball game, and I saw her there, and we got married one year from that date.

With a birth name like Mick Batyske, you are of Polish extraction?

Yeah, my dad is Polish. We used to go to a lot of polka things when I was little. I remember a guy called Happy Louie. We went to many an amusement park, and watched polka as a kid.

How did you get from Youngtown, Ohio to traveling worldwide while working in era where you have to be an artist, a platform, and a brand? You are a brand now, right?.

Yes.

You never thought this type of career would develop when you started out DJing?

Definitely never. Like every musician, every DJ and every artist, at least when I started--I think that it’s slightly different for this generation--but I started out very innocently. In my bedroom practicing whatever I was doing. Your goal really is to just impress your friends. People in high school think that you are cool for doing it. That’s a victory. That’s a win.

It also gives you an identity in high school as well.

Yeah, exactly because not everybody is going to be the smartest guy in the class or not everybody is going to be the jock or the cheerleader. It gives you other opportunities to do something that is cool. So that was music for me.

You weren’t a jock for sure. You were a fat kid....

I was very fat.

You have no athletic ability of note.

That’s what my wife tells me.

I read the story of you trying to throw basketballs to impress her on your third date.

That was our third date, and I was lucky I got a fourth one.

How do you protect your ears if you have earphones on most of the time? What earphones do you use?

I use a bunch of different earphones. Truthfully, I’ve gotten to the point now where I am DJing most of my events without earphones. I have perfected using wave forms on the laptop (computer) to line up the songs. I use headphones, maybe, for two gigs a month, if that.

Have you ever been scared about hearing loss?

No. I don’t turn my monitors up very loud either. I’m quite sure that my hearing is not as good as it should be for my age, but I am very cognizant of that. So I am not trying to do anything to blow my ears out. Not saying that using earphones does that. (Laughing) I’m waiting for somebody to pay me to use their earphones. Until that happens, I’m cool without them. Also I find it a challenge to do it without earphones.

Do you still work with vinyl?

I use the vinyl when using Serato, which digitally controls my music. I don’t do a lot of gigs where I play out with vinyl without the computer anymore. I still have all of my vinyl.

You are the guy who scratched your mom’s music collection because you worked the turntable with no mat underneath.

I messed her records up. I ruined them.

What music did she have?

She had some cool stuff. What I loved about hip hop growing up was that they took samples from so many different things. I distinctively remember early on in high school, when Run-DMC made their comeback, and they had Pete Rock doing a lot of production for them. They had this really great song that Run-DMC, Pete Rock and CL Smooth did together called “Down with the King.” To this day if you listen to the instrumental of that song it sounds very angelic. There are choirs and strings. Even if you don’t like hip hop, if you heard it, you couldn’t deny that the beat is very moving. I remember that I would look at the single, and try to figure out what the sample was. It was from the “Hair” soundtrack, and my mother had the “Hair” soundtrack. This was when I was first figuring out how all of this went. That was definitely one of the records that I messed up. I would play it—and I didn’t understand how all of this works. When Pete Rock produced it, he slowed it way down; he boosted the bass; and he chopped it up. There were things in it sound that sounded amazing the way that I heard it. Then when I heard her (“Hair”) version I was like, “What the hell is this?” But then I found that I needed to figure out how much work that people were putting into these hip hop beats. A lot of times you are just stealing music, you didn’t realize that musicality had to go into taking one sample, and changing it into a million other things.

Of course, the Puff Daddy era came out, that was like we are just going to rap over an entire Diana Ross song. But sampling, when it’s done at its best, is impressive.

It’s like listening to great jukebox selections.

You know what was great about that was that I firmly believe that when people were really sampling a lot--before the rules got really regimented and restrictive--it enabled people who had curiosity to learn and discover so much music that they had no business learning. I didn’t really come of age to listening to music until the ‘90s there was no way that I was going to learn all of this obscure stuff in the ‘70s, and ‘80s.

You weren’t hearing that music anymore on the radio.

No I wasn’t, and my parents weren’t music professors or hippies or people that had enormous record collections. When I would listen to A Tribe Called Quest, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy and all of that stuff, I would scrutinize all of the samples. It was like a whole hidden society. Who were all of these bands? From there, you would discover something else. “Oh, I really like Sly Stone. He was inspired by these guys.” That was such a fun time. A lot of those artists that got sampled—they were definitely right to say that we weren’t getting enough money for their contributions, sure--but what they didn’t realize is how many people like me learned because of that. I would never heard of a Blood, Sweat and Tears, Rare Earth, Steely Dan or any of these groups if it wasn’t for hip hop.

You’d hear Prince sampling Joni Mitchell’s “Help Me” in “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker” or using her “A Case of You” for “A Case of U.”

It was so interesting things like that. The best example for me Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique” (1989) and De La Soul’s first album, “3 Feet High And Rising.” The level of cleverness of what they sampled you couldn’t make those albums out today. I don’t think they could legally put out “3 Feet High And Rising” because of the samples on that. I don’t think they could put it on iTunes, the amount of samples on that. There’s some weird things going on there.

Do you have friends over to the house socially, and you have to keep playing music saying, “You gotta hear this.”

Oh yeah. My wife and I were in just in a restaurant. The music was really good and my ears are just so trained. We were outside sitting on a patio and she couldn’t hear it. I was like, “Did you hear that?” She says, “No.” I say, “They are playing this really weird Biggie Smalls’ B-side.” I am really stroked that they are playing this at a family restaurant. I was like, “This is awesome. And you don’t hear it?” I was like freaking out, “You don’t hear it?” I’m slapping the table, and she’s like, “Dude, I don’t hear it.” It just how my ears are. I absolutely hear it.

Larry LeBlanc is widely recognized as one of the leading music industry journalists in the world. Before joining CelebrityAccess in 2008 as senior editor, he was the Canadian bureau chief of Billboard from 1991-2007 and Canadian editor of Record World from 1970-89. He was also a co-founder of the late Canadian music trade, The Record.

He has been quoted on music industry issues in hundreds of publications including Time, Forbes, and the London Times. He is co-author of the book “Music From Far And Wide.” Larry is the recipient of the 2013 Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award, recognizing individuals who have made an impact on the Canadian music industry. He is a board member of the Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia, Ontario.

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