From appearing with Jay Leno, to being certified goal in their home-country of Canada, accapella quartet, The Essentials, have accomplished more then some could hope in their 18 year career. Having released five records and criss-crossed North America, the group has lavished in a core of adoring fans and have managed to sweep audiences with their up-beat, hilarious and all the while talented routine of astounding vocal stylings.

So why, after all the success, would The Essentials (comprised of Joe Oliva, Dan Speck, Thom Spek and Janet Turner) be ready to call it a day? The group performs this Friday at Waterloo’s Princess Theatre and I spoke with group about what it is that has them closing this chapter in their careers and what they see for the future.

SH: Why are you calling it day?

TE: The Essentials have been together for 18 years and have released 5 CDs which is a long time and decent amount of recorded music for an independent act. The members just decided that they’d like to focus their attention on other endeavours, both musical and personal. One of the members likened it to driving an 18 year old car. You probably still could drive it, but everyone likes to try new things and sometimes a change is good.

SH: What would you say, looking back, was your favourite part of your career?

TE: The favourite part of our careers have been the live performances and connecting with audiences both far and near. Studio work is nice – every artist likes to have their music professionally recorded – but music has an interesting power to connect the people on-stage to the people off-stage and so our live shows were definitely the highlight. (Joe Oliva)

SH: Is Jay Leno’s hair as bad as it looks on TV?

TE: Ya know, we weren’t really paying attention to his hair. We must have been too busy staring at his chin! Now that you mention it, we did hold him up on his side for our infamous ‘Essentials Life’ and his hair didn’t seem to move an inch or fall out of place … hmmm… (Janet Turner)

SH: What’s the future for the members of this band?

TE: Everyone will keep busy with projects in and out of the entertainment industry. Dan and Thom already perform as a duo (with acoustic and bass guitars) around the Toronto area and sing back up for a country singer. Janet has always been a songwriter. Joe has managed other singers in the past. I don’t think anyone is absolutely sure what the future holds, but their love for music will keep them involved one way or another! (Joe Oliva)

SH: Are there any ‘Joe’ buttons left? I love mine!

TE: We may just have a few kicking around! You’ll have to hurry because the Joe buttons sell like hotcakes. We had to order more after we sold out of them at our performance outside of Merla Mae Ice Cream last August (rumour has it Joe’s mom bought them all). Our buttons will be available for sale at our show on Friday November 4th at the Princess Cinema. (Janet Turner)


The Essentials Friday November 4, Princess Theatre

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