The Ali Hugo Fanclub hopes that its members have started 2022 thriving towards achieving their high-fly ambitions. That’s how the new year began for Hugo. Hugo was determined to increase radio airplay of his music and fans subscribing to his music in the French Canadian city of Montreal. However, the fact that the Montreal music market is highly competitive and Hugo’s non-instrumental music is anglophone has made it difficult for Hugo to achieve those two goals. But It 2020, things look positive. Hugo’s song “Land of Confusion” has started receiving airplay & Hugo was recently interviewed by Jaqueline St. Clair, host of the art-centric French podcast “Bouquet de talents” b*** is the English transcript of the Interview.
[Dear listeners Welcome to another episode of the “Montreal Talent Bouquet” morning show with your host Jacqueline Saint Clair. In previous years we have featured musicians of different music genres and from all over Canada. We start our first episode of 2022 with our interview with Canadian singer-songwriter Ali Hugo. Many people in Quebec and perhaps even Canada may not be very familiar with the success Ali Hugo has achieved for himself. That is because Hugo is one of those rare artists who have achieved international success outside of Canada and although his music rights are protected by SOCAN, Ali Hugo fans still need to order vinyl copies of his music as imports.
Q-Welcome to the show Hugo
A- Thank you for inviting me, Jacqueline
Q-You’ve mentioned that the last time you were in Montreal was in 2005, what has kept you away for so long?
A- I love Montreal and it’s one of my favourite cities in the world, but as you mentioned in your introduction, I have a large following outside of Canada, which means that I’m always travelling abroad trying to increase the numbers of subscribers to my music, recently I have been based in the Middle East doing promotional work and building a loyal following one fan at a time through the Anghami streaming platform.
Q- I read an article where you compare yourself to artists like the Backstreet Boys, Tina Turner and Randy Crawford, there’s a generation gap between these artists, what do they have in common and how do they fit into that comparison?
A- Well Tina and Randy started their careers in the United States but no one could have foreseen the kind of success both these artists would achieve in Europe where the UK and Germany have been the recording hub for Randy Crawford, for example. I personally refer to Randy as a silent gainer because, throughout her career, she has built a loyal following that will consume anything she puts out, and although she hasn’t released any new music or done any tours, in 2018 her Spotify streams were at 18 Million streams and, according to online celebrity net worth sources, her net worth for 2021 without releasing any new music or touring was 2 Million Dollars, and that’s not bad for a lady who topped the Billboard charts in the late seventies with “street life” by the Crusaders.
Q- No that’s not bad at all
A-On the other hand, Tina’s European success propelled her Global stardom and packed stadium tours, like her world record concert in Brazil.
Q- Okay and how do the Backstreet Boys fit into this explanation?
A- Well, by launching their music career in Europe before the US, the backstreet boy redefined the term “ British Invasion” reserved for British artists invading the American music market, for example, the Beatles. What the Backstreet boys did was make a European-sponsored invasion of Americans invading the American music market similar to the French, coming to the aid of the Americans during the American Revolution.
Q- And is that what you see yourself doing in the long run, creating an invasion of the Canadian music market?
A- Well It’s no secret that I want to be big in Canada. Winning a “Juno” would be great, but I have always had this vision of going back to my high school reunion and sharing my success with people I grew up with. It would be great to say to my friends in Toronto” hey guys, I’m playing skydome or the Rogers Center and you all have front row complimentary tickets.”
Q- So then impressing your Canadian family and friends is still important to you even though you have a big following in Europe the Middle East and Latin America?
A- Canada is always at the back of my mind no matter where I am in the world
Q- Hugo, in an interview with the Global podcasting network from the UK in 2015, you mentioned something about doing a French album. Is that still in the works?
A- I think I was a little naive about the realities of what such a project would require, I think I’m still naive about a lot of the demands of the music business.
Q- Do you mean that making a French album is naive?
A- Oh not at all, it’s just that; when I did the interview with the podcasting network, I was excited about the possibility of adopting the DIY approach to music because the tools available to indie artists were on the rise. Now I know that I have reached as far as possible as an indie artist and that I can’t go any further without the support of a records label, A Manager and investors, and all those entities will not support, a full French album which may be expensive to record and produce, without me having a large global francophone following. But maybe producing a French single if I can find the right team and studio in Montreal to back me, is more realistic.
Q- What other parts of the Music business were you naive about?
A- well, when I released my instrumental NGF album in 2015, I had maybe 2 listeners in every continent of the globe and if I wanted to stop making music, it would not be a big problem, but today; the Ali Hugo Fanclub membership has grown and I can’t just disappear. My fans are loyal and they are always waiting for the next release. It’s great that we are in the electronic age because I would not have space in my house for all the fan mail. Direct messaging is the best invention for successful artists.
Q- let’s turn to a question from one of our listeners, Jean-Marc Champonte from Sudbury asks on Meta: “Ali, I love the Afrodisiac EP concept and the first single “Pita”. Did you record that in Italy? The Mandolin was beautiful and when can we expect to hear some more music from Afrodisiac?
A- Thanks for your question Jean-Marc and thanks for supporting my music, the concept behind “Pita’s” music production and especially the Mandolin was inspired by the nights I spent feasting on great Italian food at La Taverna, a small Italian restaurant on the Island of Zanzibar, So no, I did not record the song in Italy but, I did have an Italian music consulting agent who was pushing the song and video promo in Italy and I’m certain that Fernando’s support helped me reach the number one spot on the Western European charts with that song.
Q- So Hugo When Can Jean-Marc Expect More music from Afrodisiac?
A- Jacquiline, the truth is that After the release of “Pita”, I was exhausted, I couldn’t go on with the “Do it yourself” approach any longer, I mean, I wasn’t getting enough sleep because Entertainment lawyers are expensive and I have a gift of dissecting contracts, so I was spending long nights dissecting and crafting up contracts and looking at the legal side of the business, so a vacation was necessary for me to continue to work effectively in the music business. So now before I can make any new music, I need to build a bigger team that can independently take care of the business side of things. That team will be making sure that I prosper financially, while I just focus on making and producing music. So to answer Jean-Marc’s question, hopefully soon and thanks for your patience, Jean-Marc.
Q- Ali thank you so much for coming to our show, dear listeners. Join me next week when we look at how the French in France are trying to bring global attention to Marie Antoinette’s garden in her private palace.
Interview fades out
Q- So Hugo, your next interview is in the states?
A- yes I’m going to be a guest on a show called “Rock never dies” ]
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