Music duo looks to rise in CBC contest

Before working together, Ash & Ember's James Gould and Mackenzie Meyer competed against each other at the Hamilton Music Awards in 2011. Photo Courtesy of Kyle Weir Before working together, Ash & Ember's James Gould and Mackenzie Meyer competed against each other at the Hamilton Music Awards in 2011. Photo Courtesy of Kyle Weir

Hayley Michaud
A&E Reporter

Humber College’s music duo Ash & Ember hope to earn a spot when CBC’s Rock Your Campus competition announces its top 10 finalists today.

The pair made it to the top 100 in the contest run by CBC Music and TD bank to find “the next big campus music act,” which has a top prize of $10,000.

Ash & Ember is made up of second-year Humber vocal major student Mackenzie Meyer and James Gould, who is studying at Wilfrid Laurier University in Brantford. The pair met during the 2011 Hamilton Music Awards, where they competed against each other and Meyer took home third place. Some may find their coming together story to be almost as sweet as their most recent single, “The Light”.

“If I’m being honest here, I thought she was cute so I asked her out, but she was taken at the time. So I asked her to jam instead,” said Gould. They’ve been collaborating together ever since.

Initially they were just playing together, with Meyer singing backup vocals on some songs Gould’s band Allotrope were putting together. As they worked together more, the two grew more comfortable and began working together on songs that Gould had written, workshopping them together.

“She helped really refine the songs and helped them be the best that they could and we decided to play them live a couple times,” said Gould.

After playing together at coffee shops and fairs, they went on to win the Rising Star Award at the Hamilton Music Awards in 2013 and were asked to open for the Industry Awards ceremony as well.

As for their sound, even they have a hard time categorizing themselves in one specific genre.

“Our producer labeled us ‘New Folk’ after hearing us. So I guess I’d go with that. But if I had to describe it myself, I’d say pop-folk. Acoustic instrumentation/raw vocal/vocal harmony is a huge factor in our sound, but our songs have pop progressions, which makes it less like folk,” Meyer said.

“The songs have a sense of passion and energy that can really communicate with an audience. They don’t hold anything back and are always pushing the limits of their music,” said AJ Astle, Ash & Ember’s recording bassist.

Since then, the pair have been busy writing and recording, as well as both being in other bands, Gould with Allotrope and Meyer with The Dukes, and both going to school.

Listen and vote for Ash & Ember by clicking here.

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