Shake It If Ya Got It – Kira Isabella Interview Feature

Kira Isabella 2014 CNE HeaderKira Isabella has been singing and performing since she was a little girl. And now, all grown up, at the age of 21, she’s feeling more in control of her career, and her music than ever before.

Isabella’s 2nd album, Caffeine & Big Dreams was released in mid-October and has already produced two Top 10 hits with Quarterback and Gone Enough making their way up the charts. The entire album is a fantastic listen and we wouldn’t be surprised to see songs like Shake It If Ya Got It and Make A Sinner Out Of Me make their way into the Top 10 or higher as well.

Kira Isabella and Josh at The Rockn Horse-3147We were lucky enough to see Kira twice this year, 1st at the CNE opening for Gord Bamford and again at the Rock ‘n’ Horse Saloon to celebrate the release of Caffeine & Big Dreams. Both times, in very different atmospheres, she was able to come off as personable, charming and engaged with the audience. She knows what she’s doing up on stage and it’s that talent that is going to carry her further and deeper into her career as a country musician in Canada and the United States.

Kira is also a sweetheart who once bailed me out of a jam when I blanked on a 3rd Dolly Parton song in a trivia contest at Rock ‘n’ Horse. Her help got me through and saved me some major embarrassment! So thank you (again) to her for that.

After the launch of the new album we reached out to Kira to ask a few questions about Caffeine & Big Dreams, the state of country music and what’s on her playlist. Check it out…

Q. The new album Caffeine & Big Dreams (love the title btw) has been a great release so far, and Gone Enough is getting a lot of love from radio and fans. Do you have any goals or expectations with this record?

A. Thank you! The only thing I hope and wish for is that people make a connection with my music.

Kira Isabella at The Rockn Horse full shot-3106Q. If we were able to get a look at your iTunes right now, what 3 artists would we find on your most played list?

A. Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line & The 1975.

Q. The Bro Country movement has been popular and received a lot of press in Canada and the US. But it seems like Canadian country has been able to stay more balanced, with more female artists on the radio in regular rotation. Do you think the Canadian country industry is ahead of the curve as Bro Country calms down?

A. I keep saying, I think there is always room for both sides in country music. Canada is more into story songs right now, and the states are all about bro country but I think it will always go back and forth.

Q. You played Boots & Hearts in 2012 & 2013, have you talked to the Republic Live team about coming back in 2015 to tour Caffeine & Big Dreams and put on a show on the main stage?

A. This is the time of year when we find out what the summer will look like, so we’ll be finding out soon!

Kira Isabella Band 2014 CNEQ. If you could record a duet with a male Canadian artist for your next record, who would you choose?

A. I’d love to write something with Brett Kissel or Dallas Smith!

Q. In 50 words or less, tell fans who haven’t picked up Caffeine & Big Dreams yet why they’re going to love it when they do!

A. I wanted Caffeine and Big Dreams to be relatable to everyone. I feel like there is a track on this record if you want to have a good time and party, if you’re going through a hard time and need some sympathy or if you just love a good story in a country song. It’s very honest, it’s a big part of me & I hope you enjoy it.

Big thanks to Ms. Isabella for taking the time to answer our questions – and another thank you because Kira is going to be part of our Holiday Special coming up in just a couple weeks, so look out for that!

If you haven’t picked up Caffeine & Big Dreams yet, do it now on iTunes: Kira Isabella – Caffeine & Big Dreams!

Kira Isabella 2014 CNE Bandshell

 

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Movember Journal 2014: Day 21 – #MoChaKaTO Recap

MoChaKaTO Feature 1Well, it happened… for the 5th year in a row our friends came out in support of a great cause, had a bunch of fun, and wowed me.

Last night’s Movember Challenge Karaoke event was always supposed to be smaller than last year, it had to be – the minute 2013′s event ended we all knew that it had reached a peak for size and participation and $$$. And I think that’s what makes last night so special to me. Because while my realistic expectations had been lowered, and I had told myself that half of what we raised last year would make me happy… something awesome happened.

Between donations to buy into the rotation, awesome challenges, banned songs, raffle tickets and our Tilt campaign (still open, make your donations if you’d like) we raised $1790 for Movember at #MoChaKaTO.

That $1790 brings our 5 year total to nearly $7300 and makes everyone involved (yup, I’m speaking for everyone) very proud.

Note: Check the bottom of the post for pics & the Jason Rolland singing Celine Dion video!

Here’s the part where I say my thank yous.

First, to my teammates Sean, Terri-Leigh, Mike and Michel – you’re all awesome! Thank you for being part of this thing with me again and I hope we’re all able to participate in 2015.

Next to Jason Rolland for hosting our karaoke fundraiser for the 5th year in a row and for being a good pal. And to Sean’s lovely wife Erin who has always helped us with raffle tickets, decorations and the general smooth running of #MoChaKaTO every year.

I also need to thank our raffle prize donors…
Moustache Growers Union Local 416647Dila
Terri-Leigh
Sean & Erin
Michel & momondays
Jay Chan
Jason Rolland
Huely Socks (congrats on the launch of Series 2)
burfurt Art
Woodbine Racetrack
Mazz Salon (5 year sponsor!)
I’m sure I’m forgetting someone and I’m sorry!!!

OH WAIT!!! The Marquis of Granby, our venue hosts for 2014, have donated a bar style, Guinness branded, Foosball table and we will be auctioning that bad boy off on Twitter next week. Keep your eyes on the #MoChaKaTO hashtag for details and bids. The winning bid can make their payment to our Tilt campaign and will be able to either pick the table up themselves or (in the GTA) have Jason Rolland deliver it to you because he’s an awesome guy.

Movember 416647 2014And lastly, I need to thank everyone who came out last night and supported us + everyone who donated to the Tilt campaign + everyone who tweeted best wishes to us + everyone who posted photos and videos and the people who liked them and really I just want to thank everyone!

It is incredibly humbling to be part of something that does good for other people with the help of amazing people that I’m lucky enough to know – and to think that this is the 5th year we’ve pulled this thing off, with an awesome collection of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas, makes me very, very happy.

If you’ve got a few minutes take a look at Twitter and Instagram to see how #MoChaKaTO looked and please, if you can, make a donation to Movember and help us change the face of men’s health: moteam.co/moustache-growers-union-local-416647

Thank you to everyone one more time. I hope you had as much fun as I did.

Be awesome!

A photo posted by the2scoops (@the2scoops) on

A photo posted by the2scoops (@the2scoops) on

A photo posted by Rachel MacKz (@rachelmackz) on

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Movember Journal 2014: Day 15 – Whoa, We’re Halfway There

Movember 2014 Day 15We’ve reached the halfway point of Movember 2014 – and I finally feel like I have a real moustache on my face.

Thanks to my dad and my cousin Scott for their donations so far – here’s hoping that there will be more thank yous to come between now and the end of the month. I believe in you guys!

This week has a been a fun one with more details coming together for Movember Challenge Karaoke Toronto.

We can now announce that we have raffle prizes from ->
⋆ Huely Socks
⋆ eOne Entertainment Canada
⋆ our friend Dila who is donating a sweet You Gotta Eat Here prize pack
 Mazz Salon who has been great to us every year
 Woodbine Racetrack and…
 Jason Rolland who will be donating VIP jumper cards for the hardcore #LoserKaraoke enthusiasts in the crowd

If you want to be part of #MoChaKaTO but can’t make it out to the Marquis of Granby on Thursday the 20th – I’ve got good news! We’ve got a Tilt campaign set up so you can donate to challenge host, Jason Rolland to sing Celine Dion (which he will hate) for a good cause. Click the link to donate and make everyone (but Jason) smile: 

I’ve also been lucky to have some Movember fun at the office with a campaign there and some photos from around the office.

Blade Creative Branding Movember 2014I’d also like to take a second to thank my Moustache Growers Union Local 416647 teammates, Sean, Terri-Leigh, Michel, and Mike for being awesome. They are doing a great job of supporting the cause and changing the face of men’s health!

Check them all out and give them high-fives, either in real life or virtually.

If you would like to donate to my moustache, I would totally be okay with that – and you can do so by click this link -> www.mobro.co/phjoshua <- it’s that easy!

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2014-15 NBA Season Preview!

2014-15 NBA LogoIt’s early days of the 2014-15 NBA season, the Toronto Raptors are sitting at the top of the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, and we’re excited for basketball.

So to help me kick off the new season, here’s Allegra to answer some of my hardest hitting, and most random questions pertaining to the new season on the hardwood.

1. I teased you that I was going to put this question in here, so why not start with it… Rank your top 5 Spanish players in the NBA.

Allegra: I still think this is an unfair question and it hurts my heart to have to even think about it. I guess I measure this by how devastated I am when they get injured (they are so delicate, Josh!)

Jose Calderon and Ricky Rubio Espana1) Jose Calderon (forever a Raptor in my heart at least) – I road-tripped to Montreal to see him play in the preseason as a Knick and he injured himself earlier that week.
2) Pau Gasol (whom I can now OPENLY cheer because he’s no longer a Laker) – He is basically a perfect enormous man. Between advocating education for young girls in refugee camps, his Sesame Street stint, and his interest in pursuing medicine after he retires? I’ve been looking past the purple and gold for years.
3) Ricky Rubio (the Spanish Zach Efron) – He followed me on Twitter for three seconds by accident. As if I didn’t already love him enough! I got super upset when I heard he’s out for two months after the Wolves game in Orlando. Hopefully this means the return of his #staypositive recovery videos and tweets!
4) Victor Claver – I’ve never been especially excited by Portland as a team but their bench has this dude! He doesn’t get many minutes anymore (though he started for them a few seasons back while Batum was injured). He’s always seemed innocuous to me, even in his dunks and missed threes.
5) A sack of wheat dressed in Team Spain’s Eurobasket uniform – Because I have a completely irrational dislike of Marc Gasol and didn’t want to include him. Eff that dude. I don’t even care how many tea parties he has with terminally ill children.

Josh: I have nothing to add here. Always liked Jose, have a soft spot for Ricky… and I would rank the Gasols in the same order Allegra did.

2. On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are the Toronto Raptors to repeat as Atlantic Division Champs… and why?

Toronto Raptors 2013-14 Atlantic Division BannerA: I think there’s a really strong possibility! Not only are the Raps the best they’ve ever been (and they have a VERY impressive record so far and they seem to only be getting more cohesive) but also the competition isn’t especially fierce. Let’s disregard Philly and the Knicks entirely (sorry Jose! This isn’t your fault!) and focus on Brooklyn (boo!) and Boston (meh). Brooklyn tried to buy a championship team last season by signing big names to expensive short-term contracts and it bombed when they had to face Miami in the second round. Now they’ve got the bare-bones team (Joe Johnson and Deron Williams being the only players they have who can shoot outside the paint) that MAY make the finals again but in a lower tier… again. Boston? Welp. They’re SOMEONE’s problem, but not ours.

J: I’m all in on a division repeat this season! I don’t think that any of the teams in the division have a chance to win on a consistent basis like Toronto can. And I don’t think that any of them have to depth to match the Raptors either.

Bring on another banner!

3. Last season I asked who you thought the Raptors MVP would be at the end of the season – let’s ask the same question for this year!

DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry Toronto Raptors 2014-15A: Lowry or DeRozan are the obvious answers. DeMar is about five minutes or play away from smashing Bargnani’s record for most franchise points scored; he is SO CONSISTENTLY SOLID and Lowry is just gonna turn into a triple-double machine now that he’s broken through that barrier.

J: Can’t go wrong with either of those choices – and I don’t think there’s anyone else to pick. This team will go as far as DeMar and Kyle takes it, 1 of them will be team MVP.

4. And what about the entire NBA, who’s going to be MVP?

A: DeMar or Kyle, of course! ;)

J: Haha. I’m going to be a little more practical here. With KD hurt it looks like the MVP is LeBron’s to lose. It’s going to take something really special from someone else to come in and swipe it. But if anyone is going to do it, I hope it’s DeMar!

5. Hot or Not: The Raptors 20th anniversary jerseys?

Kyle Lowry Raptors ThrowbackA: SO HOT. Everybody in the world looks good in dark purple. I love the cheesiness of the older logo. I love watching the team play in them looking so proud to be a part of it.

J: 100% agree! I know there was a time when we all hated on the purple and the silly dinosaur logo, but now that’s it’s back and we can look back on the early days of the franchise I’m happy to see it.

6. Sad question time… scale of 1 to 10, how much does it suck for Steve Nash’s career to (potentially) end with his current back injury?

Steve Nash 2 Time NBA MVPA: 6, but only because he can retire with dignity, albeit as a Laker. I understand a stubborn love of one’s career, I really do… but it’s been a long time since Nash’s body has been more than a broken clump of knotted rope.

J: For me it’s more of a 9. Nash is a two-time MVP and one of the greatest non-hockey professional athlete’s that Canada has ever produced. I’m sad to see him go out like this… maybe he should have hung up his sneakers instead of signing in LA.

7. Be honest: Is Kobe still a top 10 player in the league?

A: Blehh. Maybe top 10 in the west. It’s hard for him to shine while playing on the sloppiest, tanking-est team in the league right now.

J: The Lakers are so bad that Kobe has a chance to put up top 10 numbers this season… but they’ll be artificial because who else is supposed to score in bunches every night for that awful team?

8. The West is Best – we all know it, so who do you think is going to win the Western Conference?

A: With OKC essentially sidelined with injuries and the Spurs showing their age a little, it’s anybody’s title. Most of the teams to have a postseason last year look really good. Will it be the Clippers? They do better every year and the unfortunate ownership issues have been resolved. Houston is on FIRE so far and even Memphis went undefeated for an LA Clippers Logounreasonably long time. It’s silly to judge this kind of thing from the standings so early, but they’re all playing with a cohesiveness that goes beyond individually talented players.

J: With the Thunder struggling and the Spurs aging (and committed to resting players during the season) I’m going to have to say the Clippers on this one. At least in the regular season. Memphis is intriguing, but I don’t know if they have the stamina to be the best over 82 games, same with Golden State.

9. And who is going to be worst team in the league at the end of the season?

A: Oh, I am giving this to LOLAL. I am a notorious Lakers hater, and their downward spiral is bringing me serious schadenfreude. The 76ers are going to give them a run for their money, though. And while they’ll never be the bottom team, Indiana’s fall has been LA Lakers Logolike a train derailment! Who would have thought that Paul George was THAT important?!

J: My vote goes to Philly. They want to be bad. They don’t care. The Lakers are going to lose a lot of games too… but Kobe will win some on his own if he’s able to drag the team with him.

10. You don’t drink coffee, but I do – and I want to know which NBA head coach you would want us to sit down with for a hot beverage and basketball talk.

Coach Casey TorontoA: We have the most emotional investment in talking to Dwane Casey, of course, and he seems like he’d be an excellent conversationalist. I’d buy Jason Kidd a coffee just to spit in it.

J: Coach Casey would be my #1 pick purely for homer reasons… I’d love to talk to him about the team and what he would like to see them accomplish. My 2nd choice would be Gregg Popovich. Pop seems like he has a ton of personality to let loose in the right setting, and I’d love to see it firsthand.

11. Last question: What are your expectations for this 2014-15 Toronto Raptors team?

2014-15 Toronto Raptors Starting 5A: I want better defence than in previous seasons, and I think they’ve really been working on that. I want us to use our assets a little better. I want to see our rookies clock more minutes. I want Terence Ross to get his confidence back. I don’t think I’ll be at all disappointed. I think that we’ll be smarter about fouling. You can see how badly they want these wins. It’s beautiful. I’d be shocked if we didn’t make it to the second round of the postseason at least.

J: I’m looking for consistency from this team. The defensive effort needs to be there every night – and the team can’t rely on a big 2nd half to win games every night. If they can do that and players like Terrence Ross and Jonas can grow while DeMar, Kyle & Amir do their thing and the bench chips in, these Raptors could be a round 2 playoff team.


There you have it. NBA predictions from Allegra and I.

If you’ve got different answers, or you like ours so much that you feel a need to tell us – do it in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter.

Enjoy the season.

Be awesome!

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Movember Journal 2014: Day 8 – Cowboy Up!

Cowboy MovemberIt’s been a big week for country music news in this neck of the woods – and it’s also been a big week for my face. My bare cheeks have been subject to the cold winds for the first time in a year and my moustache has been doing its best to sprout for Movember.

So today, on morning 8 of Movember 2014, I’ve got a journal entry that pays tribute to some country music cowboys.

#MoChaKaTO Update! 
Super excited to tell you that we have prizes for the Movember Challenge Karaoke Toronto raffle coming in from Huely Socks, Woodbine Racetrack, eOne Entertainment Canada and more! Keep up to date on the #MoChaKaTO happenings and RSVP for the event here: Movember Challenge Karaoke Toronto - the 5-time, 5-time, 5-time, 5-time, 5-time edition!

Okay, let’s look at some ‘staches!

Alan Jackson MovemberAlan Jackson
Alan Jackson’s golden moustache has been part of country music for more than 2 decades and is revered wherever steel guitars are played. Look at it sitting there perfectly on his upper lip, shielded by the brim of his white hat and looking magnificent!

Mr. Jackson, you sure do know how to grow a Mo.

Kix Brooks MovemberKix Brooks
Formally of Brooks and Dunn, and now award winning radio host, Kix Brooks’ moustache has been thrilling fans for a long time. Whether his microphone is on stage or in studio, he’s a voice that country music fans know and love – and a moustache that is perfectly recognizable under that sweet black hat.

Usually the bad guys wear black hats, and this is one bad ass moustache – but we’re pretty sure Kix Brooks is a good Mo Bro!

Tim McGraw MovemberTim McGraw 
We had to go back to the mid-90s to find this moustachioed photo of a young Tim McGraw… but it was worth it. Look at that ‘stache creeping down the sides of Tim’s mouth like a wild vine. He may not have kept it, but remember this – he had that moustache when he landed Faith Hill!

Tim, if you’re reading this, bring back the ‘stache!

Brad Paisley MovemberBrad Paisley
Now it’s clear to see that this Brad Paisley moustache is a fake. In fact, Paisley is doing his Ron Burgandy in this pic… but we don’t care. Look at that dark hair residing under that white hat, it’s glorious. Hopefully Brad has seen how great he looks and has decided that it’s time to ditch the goatee and go with the ‘Mo.

Good luck in your moustache growing efforts Mr. Paisley. Can’t wait to see you at Boots & Hearts 2015!

Joshua Cowboy Movember Day 8 2014Joshua Murray
Okay, so I’m no cowboy country singer… but I sure would like to be. And for the 6th year in a row I’m growing in my moustache to raise some money for Movember Canada. 8 days in I’m pretty happy with how my ‘mo is growing and I’m optimistic that by the end of next week I’ll have a real moustache to show off to the world.

If you would like to donate to my face and help change the face of men’s health, visit my Mo Space page at www.mobro.co/phjoshua and give whatever you can. Every dollar is appreciated and helps a good cause.

Thanks to everyone who is supporting Mo Bros and Mo Sistas around the world!

Be awesome!

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