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Artist Profile

music to chill out to

music to chill out to

Cliff first started expressing himself musically when he started studying piano at the tender age of 8. Despite having a piano teacher who was more interested in the neighborhood gossip than producing a child prodigy, Cliff managed to make it through to completing Grade 8 Royal Conservatory Piano and took on a couple of students at 15. In his early twenties, he struggled to break free of the rigidity of his classical training and after answering an ad in the Georgia Straight hooked up with a guitarist, Spencer Toyne, who was a student enrolled in Capilano College’s jazz program. Their first project together involved composing an instrumental entitled Ethnic Jungle which received an honorable mention in Billboards 2nd Annual Song Contest. Cliff and Spencer formed a duo called Chartreuse, made a 3-song demo and set out to find a label that was as excited about their stuff as they were. They impressed Johnny Jet Records enough that they were given a few hours free studio time, but their unique form of jazz/pop didn’t fit into their plans of turning the boys into the boy band they had been searching for. They continued gigging around Vancouver and eventually became a trio with the addition of a lead female vocalist. In 1999 the duo evolved into a 4-piece-band called Red Velvet Swing and they released a CD entitled Paramours in the fall of that same year. With Paramours they had developed a cool retro-lounge sound that was designed to capture audiences that truly appreciated swooning harmonies, refined grooves and intelligent, thought-provoking lyrics. Some of the successes that Cliff enjoyed with the band included winning a semi-final position on VTV’s Dreamseekers as well as a featured spot on CBC radio’s afternoon show for a province-wide food bank fundraiser where they also had the opportunity to play with Rene Worst, a well-known jazz bassist on the Vancouver scene. In 2001, Red Velvet Swing disbanded but Cliff continued writing and gigging as a solo performer. That same year Red Velvet Swing and himself had their songs featured on a compilation CD entitled the Beautiful EP available at gallerylounge.com. Working with former Red Velvet Swinger, bassist/engineer Shaun Lester, Cliff has redefined his sound once again with the addition of electronic beats and a greater sense of intimacy, both lyrically and vocally. Cliff released a 5-song EP Fantasy/Reality in the fall of 2007. Look forward to more cool, mellow downtempo vibes in the near future.

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