Candian Eric Bolton recently talked to ai love music via email about his musical inspirations, his influences, and the release of his recent single “Genesis (Let There Be Love)”. Eric Bolton is a Canadian singer and songwriter, both as a solo artist and as frontman of the rock band, Shy Harry. After releasing two full-length Shy Harry albums and a Shy Harry EP, Eric decided to begin to develop the catalog of his own personal music.
Find out what personal aspect of Eric Bolton’s story is portrayed in his newest single. Also, find out what he wants listeners to take away from the song. You can also listen to it down below while reading and let me know what you think!
Please introduce yourself. What got you into music?
Hello Ai Love Music, I’m Eric Bolton from Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. I am a solo performing artist and also lead up a rock group called Shy Harry. I also own and run a music school where I teach guitar in non-performing or recording hours. I’ve loved music my whole life but it never clicked creatively until I picked up my brother’s guitar…which he rarely played. I was 14 and without knowing how to play guitar I started combining sounds together and curiosity took over from there, I haven’t been able to put it down since.
I’m a lover of most music styles but find myself in some strange blend of rock, folk, neo-soul, and a bit of blues. I have always loved emotive lyric writing in artists like Glen Hansard and Damien Rice but also find myself regularly wanting the drive and power of 90s grunge like Pearl Jam or Soundgarden.
I also very much value really technical instrumentation, especially guitar work, so guys like John Mayer, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Page, Mateus Asato, Tommy Emmanuel, and Jimi Hendrix steal my heart and motivates me creatively.
How has 2021 been so far?
It’s been busy but exciting! I’ve released three cover tune EPs with a fourth on the way, created and released new original solo music with a whole other EP of original tunes being recorded next month, made a couple of music videos, launched a new online music lesson membership program, and I have a writing week with my band coming up this fall.
It’s also been my first full year learning to just celebrate my life and who I am without shame (I came out last year) and every day growing in confidence and joy. So so so good. In many ways, this feels like my first year.
Let’s talk about your latest single “Genesis”. What is it about?
Jumping off the tail end of that last question, ‘Genesis’ was/is my coming out song. A song of reaching a breaking point, knowing that there’s more to your life than what you’ve felt free to give. It’s a celebration of self, of love, and of new beginnings. It’s about beginning to build a world that is colourful. It is not just for me though, it could be about the colours of love and orientation, of skin or culture, of health and journeys, and so much more.
7 years ago, I came out to my family, at the same time I left the church. On May 24, 2020, I received a message from some of my family asking why I’m still not getting active in church when I’ll get my act together really, and reminding me that my life should be lived for God and the church and that people like me weren’t to have love or families but should take our orientation as a call to be celibate and just serve God more. I had been depressed for years with an inability to keep up with everything and putting myself down my whole life, very unsure what to do.
Then on May 25th, I replied to that message and for the first time ever stood up for myself. The wave of freshness inspired me to write this song that same day and I’ve been on a beautiful journey of rediscovering life ever since.
You mention that this song is the start of a “whole new chapter of writing”. Could you explain more about this?
Ever since writing that song I’ve found the confidence to come out publicly. It’s been such an eye-opening time as I keep finding layers of myself that have always been held back or beat down, and with each layer, learning to stand up a little taller and take that much more ownership of my life. It’s inspired so much writing and whole new energy. I listen back to old songs of mine and they were all hopeful, ‘maybe one day, dreamer kind of songs from someone who is struggling…now I feel I can live and write about those dreams coming true and the newfound excitement for life.
There is a sense of acceptance, freedom, and being who you are in this song. How did it feel writing this song? How did it feel to put something like that out in the open?
Oh man, learning to share my story has not been easy. I have learned though that owning my story is a huge part of learning pride. It’s not enough to simply tell people you’re gay, you gotta embrace the whole journey and learn to ditch shame and nervousness. It has not happened without a lot of questioning of self and I’m grateful for people who have given me space to share.
Actually gotta thank Music Gateway, Andy Parker specifically, as they were so attentive to my story and immediately helped me learn to put it out there.
So in my music school, E-Bolt Music, I also have a small recording studio that is run by a talented friend of mine, Zach Gerber… he goes by ‘Skytrack Studios’. He operates out of my space and has produced so many amazing acts from there. He’s produced my band’s latest EP and all of my solo stuff to date. It’s been great to have that space throughout this pandemic, as Zach and I would just regularly meet there and record while things were otherwise locked down.
For this song. we gathered a couple of talented friends, Nathan Bulla & Cameron Earnshaw, to join on drums, bass, and keys, and laid this song down over the course of 1.5 days. Great to work so much out of my own space.
What do you want listeners to listen for in your music?
Well, I have to say I’m a lover of raw instrumentation. I’m not huge on crazy effects and relying on digital stylings. So in the music, I put out I’m usually looking to show off great guitar work, great drums, all that. I want people to listen and think, ‘these guys can play.. .and truthfully, I believe we’re better live than in-studio. I also want people to hear the message and to be empowered potentially even as they adapt their own stories to the lyrics.
Any future plans?
So much. This feels like a new beginning so there is a whole bunch of new writing coming from me and also from my band, with a bunch of shows to celebrate the music. Very excited for the next year!