Jeff Wardell has been quietly producing music for regional artists for almost 20 years all while getting ready to drop his fifth album.
The 44-year-old has worked with Madison Mueller, Lyric Dubee, The Noolands, Bigfoot's Hand and countless others.
During that time, Wardell has also been writing and recording his own music and is about to release his latest five-song EP on Friday called Take It Out Of My Share.
Wardell told BarrieToday he can't remember a time when he wasn't playing music, as he and his siblings played in churches when he was a kid.
“My father chose the songs and the instruments we played; for me, (it was) banjo, so I had zero passion for it. I think my love for music came later in my teenage years when I picked up my brother's guitar and skipped recesses to hit drums in the music room at school,” Wardell said. “That was the extent of my rebellion, but that probably would not have happened if I wasn't forced to play the banjo and sing songs about Jesus.”
While living in Budapest, Hungary for a brief time in his life, Wardell played in a touring band that acquired a healthy portion of recording equipment. He began to teach himself how to use the equipment and, upon returning home, started purchasing gear of his own.
“It was really just to record the songs I was writing, but at some point regional bands started offering me money to produce their stuff,” Wardell said. “One of the first was a band called Hawk Nelson. They signed a deal with a label in Seattle and other bands around here were aware that the deal they signed came off the heels of recordings I produced for them.”
It was around that time Your Productions started to really grow. And every time Wardell got paid, he would buy more gear. The number of artists he has worked with in the studio is in the hundreds, even dabbling in jingle writing for radio ads.
Wardell writes pop/rock music. He usually starts with an acoustic guitar, but it turns into something completely different when he gets into the studio and begins layering instruments.
“I guess I'm inspired by what goes on around me,” he said. “Fortunately, I'm married to my favourite person on this planet, so love songs are a common theme, but others are stories that I can picture myself in the centre of. Sometimes completely imaginary and other times very real and personal.”
Having lived in Barrie for 30 years, Wardell believes the city is a thriving music scene for a number of reasons.
“Guys like Shane Heath who owned The Foxx booked only original acts and was the only live venue in Barrie that did that,” said Wardell. “My good friend Brett Caswell started Caswell Community Choirs where they teach young people how to learn and appreciate music in new and interesting ways. Media outlets that are perpetually promoting and highlighting local artists. The confluence of these things really contribute to a healthy music scene and I'm happy to be a part of it.”
To hear more from Wardell and to learn more about Your Productions, head to the link here.