“For we have pulled the stars down to our will” – Ezra Pound
The years, they have started to move so quickly. It feels like just last month I was sitting down to write my annual mushy gushy letter about reaching our triumphant 6th year in business. In that letter I recapped honestly a year that was a bit rough around the edges, that threw me for loops and pushed me.
This year, year 7, I will spin a different tale.
It all started for me in February this year. I stood on the enchanting black sand beach in Iceland and was overcome with a pit in my stomach. You see, that pit manifested into a vow which I made in that moment to myself that this year I wanted to mess everything up. I wanted to approach everything differently than I had. I wanted to move to New York, September 1st, and I wanted to inflict big change on the company and in turn my life. I carried this vow over the ocean and to my dedicated and bright eyed team who alongside me endeavoured to reshape the company in to something stronger, leaner, and more fierce.
In April of this year we announced the rebrand from Audio Blood to AB Co. and the expansion in to the US. In September, as promised to myself, I opened the New York office in the heart of Manhattan.
To say these changes have been positive, would be an understatement. My initial fears of making so many grand moves away from the brand we once were, slowly subsided daily. And the AB7 party last weekend, where I was greeted with all your beautiful faces still supporting strong year after year, marked the end of any doubts I had about this transition from cool young company to sleek refined digital, lifestyle, and communications agency.
The ride has not been without its long hours of work, spent by myself and my jubilant and beautiful hardworking team. As I’m sure you can imagine, it takes a lot of time and energy to shift and steer. Jonathan, Sacha, Courtney, Geoff, Erin, Brandon, Chloe, Hana, Adela – truly you can’t even begin to understand how much your selfless hard work means to me. Your willingness to be flexible, shift, and grow in to our new skin, is invaluable to the fabric we are together weaving for the future of this company. Your patience and commitment to our high standards every day is admirable and I never for a millisecond take it for granted. To the team members who are no longer with us this year, who left to pursue other inspiring walks of life, thank you as well for the time and energy you invested. To the interns who have travelled far to come in each day and work hard with a smile, thank you endlessly.
All of this would be a moot point if we didn’t have the undying support from our truly incredible clients. In you we have found the partners we have always dreamed of having and as we have grown, refined, and seen you do the same, I could not be more proud of the relationships we have cemented over the years. You give us the power to evolve and grow and do our best work. We look forward to growing together farther and reaping the benefits together of our collective hard work, when the time comes.
Our big and bountiful AB community, you got us here. 7 years, thriving, surviving, and pushing the envelope when it comes to creative music marketing and PR. Thank you for coming along on this ride. Thank you for celebrating our wins with us, coming to our shows and parties, supporting our clients, and being all around the best humans I know! As we all grow a bit older, and our needs change, the company grows as well right with you. At the AB7 party last week, I saw so many faces that I know have been coming to each year-end bash year after year. It means so much that you are still here and supporting, and this year of great growth belongs to you just as much as it does to me, truly.
Personally this year has been my very best yet. While in the spirit of growing and shifting the company, those values bled over to my personal life and I made some significant changes there as well. I started doing a lot more yoga and taking better care of my health. I learned how to still my mind in ways I didn’t know fully existed and I embraced a new work/life balance I never afforded myself. I learned how to work smarter and use my hours more diligently. I learned how to get the best from myself every day and what head space I want to live in, and I fought and strived to maintain that ruthlessly. While at the same time, finding my inner zen, I found myself more pointed and ballsy in business. I refined what it is to me to be a leader, and took each meeting and call as a chance to ensure I was always being clear, on point, and fighting for a better future. While on travels to Vancouver, Austin, London, Brighton, Cannes, Paris, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Montreal, alongside my regular jumping between Toronto and New York, I was able to wrap my head around the girth of this great world we live in and come up with new ways to evolve in to the adult I am becoming. I am so lucky to be surrounded by such great friends in every city I go to and your love and support means so much to me.
I owe so much to my incredible mentors and advisors. Your selfless and always on-point advice has helped make this year truly instrumental. Benji Rogers, Jeremy Black, Marie-Alicia Chang, Ben Webster, your time and energy is so profoundly appreciated.
This year didn’t come without it’s dark moments. The biggest one of course being loosing a dear friend and member of the AB and Dee’s family – Big John. Now you see, Big John was and always will be very special to AB and me personally, for many reasons, but mainly for the selfless generosity and love he shared with us. Big John renovated and built up our Toronto office in literally 2 weeks. He worked all day and all night, took off work, drove me to Home Depot to pick out my favourite wood stains and paint colours, and built us a work sanctuary that I am so proud to call our home and headquarters. It was horribly sad to loose him this year and he will be in our hearts forever.
This year I also promised to read more and in a moment of divine intervention I happen upon Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book Big Magic. A read that was highly inspirational, in line with my new outlook, and one that I would intensely recommend to any artist/creative/human looking to free themselves of the inner turmoil we all carry around each day. Her soft and funny delivery and all too real take aways make it a book I will continue to flip back to for many years to come.
And of course this year didn’t come without it’s beautiful songs. This year my listening tastes evolved in to new terrain while still heavily routed in nostalgia (like any true emo kid). I’ve made a playlist for you on our AB Spotify page, it’s a bit mismatched but so is life. You can give it a listen here. I will give a notable shout out to The Matches who released new music this year, for the first time in years. The Matches are the band that wrote the song “Audio Blood” and have had a profound impact on me ending up in music altogether. Their songs aren’t available on Spotify so they aren’t on the playlist but I highly recommend you watch the video for “Life of a Match” here. In the spirit of truly coming full circle, we are proud to welcome them in to the AB Fam this year.
And on that note, I will wrap up with the words of one of my favourite poets T.S. Elliot –
“You are the music while the music lasts.”
Friends, whether you are literally making the music that feeds this communities hearts and souls, or you are on the sidelines working it and supporting it, lets not forget how truly lucky we are to do what we love, be surrounded by such passionate and wonderful people, and always fight for change, the good kind. The industry may change shape, and we may change along with it, but at the heart of it you are the music, my friends. And that will never change.
From the bottom of my little red heart – THANK YOU. Thank you for affording me this year of change and transition. It has been most illuminating in all the best ways and we can’t wait to share the strength and success it affords us with you in years to come.
Enjoy your holidays, you deserve it and lets do some great things together in 2016.
Love you. lots.
Photo: taken of the Iceland sunset.