by Yasmine Shemesh
How does it feel to go from busking on a ferry to Victoria to earning the $102,700 grand prize of the BC PEAK Performance Project? “Really surreal. I’m still kind of processing it,” says Daniel McBurnie, vocalist and guitarist for the 2014 winners Good For Grapes. “We’ve always just been doing our thing, from the day we started, just trying to stay true to our weird selves. The fact that that can go from the state of being such a young idea to something that people can actually get behind, it’s, I mean, I can’t believe it. I feel very blessed.”
Hosted by radio station 102.7 The PEAK, the project is designed to develop and jump-start the careers of some of the province’s most promising musical talent by way of bootcamps, challenges and showcases, culminating in a finale concert performed by the top three artists. Finally, on November 20th at the Commodore Ballroom, through confetti and tears, the Surrey folk rock band accepted their oversized cheque.
This was Good For Grapes’ second attempt at PEAK, previously finishing fourth in 2013. “We learned a lot the first year,” McBurnie explains. “Going into the second year, knowing all these things we had to do, how hard the project actually was and what it takes to even just to make it in this industry, we resolved that we were going to really make it an overall strategy to just improve and take the 12 steps to make our band stronger in every single way.”
So, what does one do with over one hundred grand? Record a new album, for starters. The six-piece had already intended on getting in the studio but now have the freedom to experiment without feeling financial pressure. “When you boil it down, a band is only as good as its songs,” McBurnie says. “It feels really good to just have that because [now] sitting home and writing isn’t a guilty pleasure—it’s like, “no, this is what I should be doing.” The money is taken care of and I don’t have to stress about it. That’s a huge relief.” The group looks forward to playing with a more string-driven sound and adding more instruments, including the pedal steel guitar, into their repertoire. Right now, though, Good For Grapes is just enjoying their well-deserved moment. “We’ve seen so many bands on this side of it and it’s crazy to think we’re that band this time. Still processing,” McBurnie laughs.
Good for Grapes embark on a Western Canadian tour early next year with the winner of the Alberta PEAK Performance Project.
Published in print and online at www.beatroute.ca, December 2014