“I am a communicator,” declares Alan Frew, singer and front man for the band Glass Tiger. The response was elicited by the question as to whether he is a singer or a motivational speaker. During GT’s hiatus during the 90s, Frew transformed himself from singer into speaker, focusing on the world of self-help. Being a self-confessed self-help junkie since his teen years, Frew felt that many of the books and seminars available were inadequate, focusing on the ‘let’s feel good’ about everything in our lives approach where choice is nearly removed from the equation, rather than a more practical ‘let’s acknowledge the bad stuff and work through it’ approach.
So what position does he play in GT? “I’m just a member of the band,” he quietly states, saying that he leaves the motivational side of his life at the door. He is not the coach rallying the team to greatness before a show; this is not his place, even though his career has excelled outside of the band, both as a song writer and speaker.
GT is a collective and he enjoys performing within its structure, having great fun singing all the songs that have molded his life to this point and provided so much texture. And he doesn’t tire of the road because there is not intense schedule of endless dates anymore. The band plays a few dates, return to the normalcy of their individual lives, and then head back to the stage energized and balanced.
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Frew entered into a publishing contract a number of years ago which has seen him working with a number of different musical artists. A product of one of these collaborations was the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics CTC Canada’s theme song, “I Believe”, written with Stephan Moccio, outlining his approach to life.
“Working with other writers has been positive,” says Frew, adding that he finds the experience both exciting and a little intimidating since the publishing house often perceives the best union and makes the connection for him.
As the conversation moves to the state of music, he appeared a little downcast. He works to articulate his emotions when someone comes up to him and openly reveals they downloaded a GT album from a music sharing web site and love it, oblivious to the fact that they have effectively stolen from him; taken his intellectual property without cost. He further considers his response and almost whispers, “What can you say?” And then shakes his head.
As a communicator, Frew is appreciative that his messages are striking a chord and evoking an emotional response, but as a musician and a businessman, he knows that this is a model that cannot be sustained.