The Fireside Chat with Randy Lennox and Daniel Glass, part of Canadian Music Week’s Virtual Voices Series, Dec. 14, turned out to be Lennox interviewing his long-time friend and colleague, the founder of American label Glassnote, not the other way around, or a bit of both. The pair met over 38 years ago and are apparently famous for their hugs.
At the start of their conversation, Lennox — who went from running Universal Music Canada in 1998 to Bell Media in 2015 to his new gig this September, as executive chair of Elevate — made the point that Glass “is really, and has always been, a great friend to Canada,” but made sure the hour-long interview was well-rounded, even asking him about running marathons, a metaphor he surmised for his career (Glass has finished the New York City Marathon 26 times and 33 overall).
Lennox then went “chronologically” with Glass because “it’s sort of fun,” he said, hearkening back to 1983 when Glass was just a few months at Chrysalis and came to Canada for the first time. Lennox was also in the lower rungs at MCA, which Ross Reynolds then headed.
“You gave me four names…none of us had heard of them,” Lennox recalled of the acts Glass wanted MCA to break: Billy Idol, Sinead O’Connor, Pat Benatar and Huey Lewis & The News, then added Spandau Ballet, and Ultravox.
“Your tenacity taught us a lot because we were young, we didn’t know what we were doing, and you helped us break those acts by giving disproportional attention to Canada,” said Lennox.
Glass also talked about the Canadian acts he’s signed since forming Glassnote in 2007 — Half Moon Run, Strumbellas (for the rest of the world), Justin Nozuka, and William Prince, and revealed his latest signing, Taylor Janzen. “I want the Canadians in the room to understand that you not only walk the walk of coming here, but you actually sign artists here,” said Lennox.
Glass had mentioned Nozuka earlier in the interview, but here he went through the other four, on how they came to his attention.
Half Moon Run was a CMW story, Glass said. He asked BMI’s Brandon Haus to do him a favour and check them out because he was busy with meetings and panels. He reported back, “They’re amazing. What a show,” Glass said. “I went to see the next show, blown away, one of the best live bands in the world.”
Of Strumbellas, he said it was about “a hit record,” referring to Spirits. “I got a tip from a radio station in Canada. An old friend called and said, ‘the phones are blowing up for this record.’ And coincidentally, [Universal Music Canada’s] Ryan Shepherd, legend, I called him and he said, ‘Yeah it’s blowing up,’ and various other people I checked it out with.”
William Prince got signed after Glass attended the 2017 Juno Gala Dinner & Awards because “my dear friend Randy Lennox was being honoured” with the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award. “I’m in the room and when he sang ‘Breathless,’…that was one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen in my life. Walked over to William, we had a great run together. I adore him.”
Glass then mentioned Janzen, who is from Winnipeg and co-managed by Chris Woltman, and Daniel Rubin (Twenty One Pilots, and half•alive). He calls it a “full circle” moment because he mentored Woltman when he was at Ohio State University.
“She’s a great artist, just starting out. Hopefully, next year she’ll start spreading her wings.”
He added, “We love the Canadian market. I hope we do more A&R and more signings.”
Watch the full interview here below.