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Finding inspiration through song

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There’s a new artist on the Manitoba music scene, and he’s from Swan River with his roots firmly planted in Wuskwi Sipihk First Nation. Some might know him personally as Glenn Audy, but you’ll find his music under his artist moniker Played the Fool.
“I was listening to the new Cage the Elephant album when it came out last spring, and in a song called Tokyo Smoke, I kept hearing, ‘I played the fool again’,” said Audy, explaining where he came up with the unique name. “I never really thought about what it meant just yet, but I searched to see if it was taken and the rest is history. Now, I hear it in a lot of songs. It’s like buying a new car and seeing it everywhere.
“(The name) can have a double meaning to it. You can either play someone a fool or play yourself as a fool. I love that line from the movie The Usual Suspects, ‘The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist’, and that could be a meaning behind it too. I like to keep things open ended and limitless.”
Audy joked that he initially intended for the ‘t’ in Played the Fool to be capitalized, but his music distribution told him that he needed a bigger following first, that he needed to earn his capital T.
So far, Played the Fool has come out with five tracks, available on a digital EP called Healthy Boundaries released last month on various online platforms including Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Tidal and Deezer. Audy describes his sound and style as Indie/Alternative.
“It’s got some ghetto and raw stuff to it,” he said. “All songs come to fruition on acoustic, so I can really take the songs anywhere from a stage with a full band or to a porch by myself. It’s elements of music I love all mashed together, not sticking to one genre and limiting anything.
“I listen to all kinds of music, but Sticky Fingers and The Growlers are straight up my two favourite bands of all time. They’re both independent bands with no major label telling them what to do. They’ve built their business from the ground up and that’s what I’m going for.”
Audy’s influence of music came from his immediate family, with his parents always playing music in the house or car.
“When I started turning into an individual, I had a big sister who was always into the modern stuff,” he said. “After mooching off of my parents’ music, I started listening to what my sister was listening to.”
Audy managed to learn guitar at age 11 by ear and song-writing came naturally to him after years of playing other artists’ music for so long.
“(Playing and writing music) is probably the healthiest and most therapeutic thing I have going on,” he said. “Some people don’t have anything like music to fall back on, so I’m pretty lucky. That’s why you have people who are addicted to things like drinking alcohol or drugs.
“It’s really hard to find something more meaningful than a quick buzz. Making music to me is more meaningful than all those things.”
Audy hopes that people enjoy the music of Played the Fool for what it is, noting that he doesn’t make it for anything or anybody but himself, but hopes others still like.
“If they like it, that’s cool; if they don’t like it, that’s cool too,” he said. “Music has helped save my life. I would like mine to help save other people’s lives.”
The music of Played the Fool has been naturally influenced by the trials and tribulations that Audy has gone through in his 28 winters of life.
“I grew up in Wuskwi Sipihk First Nation and I always wanted something bigger and better than what life was like out there,” he said. “It was wild growing up there.
“The stuff I sing about is just being messed up in general, but I’m turning that negative into a positive. Everybody goes through things and nobody ever gets a chance to talk about it, so I’m lucky I get to sing about it. I’m hoping that if there are people going through tough times and they stumble upon my music, they can feel like it’s okay to be messed up too.”
The first single of Played the Fool, titled Needful Things, was released at the end of last year, gradually adding a few more songs to his repertoire until getting to a five-track EP.
“It still feels like the beginning stages (of a music career) even after the EP release,” said Audy. “I haven’t played my first gig yet. Not a lot has changed since the first single release, and then (COVID-19) happened so no one can play shows anymore, so hopefully someday I can get out there and play some gigs.
“Starting out seemed pretty hopeless. I’m literally a nobody. The music is made but how do I get people to listen to it. I made this EP knowing full well that it may fall on deaf ears. I wouldn’t have wanted to make a full-length album straight out of the gate and have that happen.”
Played the Fool seems to be gaining some traction, with Audy noting that he is noticing the stream counts making their way up on the various music platforms, some even listening from Australia and the Netherlands.
“It’s not a huge response by any means,” he said. “I’m all independent with no label, but that’s really the way to do it nowadays; no middle man.”
Audy explained that he is giving himself a full seven years of effort as an artist to make something happen professionally, before moving on to something else. His efforts include making music videos available on YouTube to promote the new EP.
“Any music I’ve ever discovered in the past five years was because of a music video on YouTube,” he explained. “That was always the make or break it for me finding new music.
“You get more of a connection with the artist watching their videos. If anyone in Swan River is down to make a video, then hit me up and let’s make it happen. I’m looking to utilize local talent.”
Audy’s goal is to make it as a professional musician, doing what he loves and getting paid for it, whether it be an artist, producer or an engineer. His work is currently self-produced but wasn’t able to mix and master his own music for distribution yet, so received the expertise of Derek Benjamin from Winnipeg to deliver the finished product.
He has also been climbing the charts of the Indigenous Music Countdown, which is played on radio stations across Canada, including SiriusXM and NCI-FM. From the week of Sept. 5-11, he appeared as No. 29 with his single Squeeze. To continue to promote Played the Fool’s rise on the list, listeners are invited to email countdown@ncifm.com and request Squeeze by Played the Fool for the Indigenous Music Countdown.
While Squeeze is radio friendly, Audy admits that some of his other songs are more unfiltered and explicit, but invited anyone who happens to like his music are invited to find Played the Fool on Facebook, on Instagram under @played.the.fool or at his website, www.playedthefool.com, where you can subscribe to his email list for future updates on upcoming shows, music and merchandise.

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Jeremy Bergen
REPORTER
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