Name: Grant Lawrence
Occupation: Host, CBC Radio 3
Location: Vancouver, B.C.
First Job: Dishwasher, Big Scoop Restaurant, Horseshoe Bay, BC.
Best Job: Lead singer of The Smugglers from 1988 – 2005.
Greatest Professional Challenge: Achieving career advancement within the CBC.
So, how did you get this awesome gig anyway? Back in my early years with the Smugglers, I was invited to call in to a late night, national radio show called Night Lines with David Wisdom. On that show I would tell tour stories from the road… wild, crazy road stories. I would never hold back. I would eventually tell those stories on a show called Real Time as well, and the host of that show, Leora Kornfeld, convinced the producer to hire me on as a researcher when the Smugglers were having a quiet year due to a surprise baby within the band. That was in the fall of 1998 and I’ve been there ever since. 14 years!
What do you like best about your job? I love discovering an amazing song or artist and being able to share my excitement for that artist with our audience. That feeling of discovery, whenever I hear a great new track, is as fresh as it was in 1998… and I’m happy to say it still happens all the time. My second favourite thing is interacting with the audience. Radio 3 has an amazing core audience that is extremely interactive, a very rare and close-knit international community of listeners.
Any special skills required? Curiosity, an open-mindedness to many different music genres, energy, passion, an ability to think on your feet, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of Canadian music.
Favourite experience on the job: There has been a lot… this job has taken me to all ten provinces and two territories… but my favourite experience has to be a recent one: Tracks on Tracks, the ultimate rock ‘n’ rail adventure. Last June we took ten bands, dozens of fans, and a film crew across Canada on a VIA Rail train from Vancouver to Toronto for the NxNE Music Festival and it was not only one of the best experiences of my job, but of my life. Non-stop music through all types of beautiful Canadian vistas.
Advice for people who want your awesome gig: Get in on the ground level, even the basement level. Just get your foot in the door and once inside, be a self-starter. Never say, “Okay I’m done, what next?” Know what has to be done next and figure out a way to get it done. Be the go-to person that others can rely on. Work harder than anyone else and stay positive.
Favourite CDN Music Venue: The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto. Celebrating their 65th anniversary this December!
Favourite Record of the Moment: Old Man Luedecke’s “Tender Is The Night”.