Graham Trude is a Canadian songwriter with a characteristically big voice and an even bigger heart. An introspective singer with a confessional style of writing, Graham draws on his experiences as a veteran for inspiration, weaving tales of love and loss into memorable melodies that have earned him admiration in both the independent rock world and modern country circles.
Graham is a unique songwriter and performer who brings an unforgettable presence to the stage, regardless of whether he is performing in a packed theatre or an intimate coffee shop. With a sound and style borne out of a mix of rock, hiphop, post hardcore and country honed through years of playing for rowdy crowds, there is an honesty to his music that is very authentic and relatable. His ability to connect with every listener has seen Graham build an ever-growing fan base of loyal followers who find release in his melodies and comfort in his lyrics.
Graham’s music has been well-received by both his fans and experienced critics. In 2011, he placed top 3 in a provincial song writing competition and was chosen to write and perform the theme song for a Canadian-based television series. In review of his single “PTSD”, The Rider News blog said “this soulful, gentle giant who possesses that rare combination of extreme vulnerability and playful bravado, delivers his message loud and clear”. Graham’s first two releases, “PTSD” and “My Old Town”, were released to radio through MSW Media Group and have both reached success as top downloaded tracks in Canada.
Graham took time out to chat with us about his music, his family and his military and law enforcement experience…
Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us, Graham. You’ve got quite a storied and remarkable background. What took you into the military and law enforcement?
Thank you very much for this interview! Really what drove me into the military was 9/11 and the attacks on the twin towers. I remember from a young age I saw the devastation and knew that I never wanted that chaos to happen to my country. And as for law-enforcement my entire family was in law-enforcement at the time so it seemed secure and something known to me. I loved both of those jobs but everything always brought me back to producing and composing.
You had some tough times, dealing with PTSD. How did that experience affect you personally, and how did it help you discover your music?
PTSD is something that I experienced both a blessing and a curse in my life. It has been a part of and a party to incredible and awful mental health episodes. I look at it now as more of a gift similar to a psychic medium. It is absolute hell when you’re going through it but once you delve into the psyche and try to untangle the puzzle of the brain you start to see the beautiful light that the world is.
You’ve got a wide variety of musical influences, as far as styles go. Who are some of the artists that have influenced you? Who are you listening to, today?
You are absolutely right! I don’t put myself in a category of a genre for a reason. I relate it to a high school where people had similar groups and clicks. I was never part of one of those clicks but I found friendship and interest in everyone of them. Those similarities have translated into my music over the years where I can listen to an artist like Jason Aldean and mix it in with GivEon. Right now musically I have been listening to a lot of Big Wreck, Bring Me The Horizon and Khalid.
Congrats on some of your musical successes. Tell us about the TV show that you wrote the theme song for. How did you get that gig? Tell us about the song…
Thanks very much the television song was an interesting one. It was a television theme song for a hunting show in titled the real Canadian Joe’s. basically it was gritty back home southern country. I wrote it with another songwriter a while back named Tommy Gilham from Alabama. It was a lot of fun and really matched the show, but unfortunately the show has been discontinued, probably because of the theme song .
How has being from Canada influenced your music, and your life, in general?
Canada is an incredible place and an amazing country with its own issues similar to every other country. That being said I’ve sacrificed a ton in my life for my country and my community so it is extremely near and dear to me. I have many songs I’ve written about my hometown influences (goos and bad). Having a family now makes it feel like no matter where we are that is what home is to me. My wife and son are the most important things in my life and they are certainly the biggest influences.
Where has been your favorite place to perform, and where is your dream venue?
My favourite place to perform would have to be so far at the El Macombo in Toronto. To be able to perform on the same stage as so many massive icons is such an inspiration. My dream venue would probably be either the grand old Opry or the bluebird Café.
What advice could you offer other veterans, when it comes to PTSD, and dealing with the pressures of coming home after active duty?
The only advice I can give for veterans and first responders dealing with trauma related issues would be to seek camaraderie. There are many elements to mental wellness such as exercise, medication etc. Think similar to what World War II veterans did in order to deal with their traumas. Many of them attended the Legion and different organizations that offered help. I’m not saying it will help you with substance abuse or cure all issues but camaraderie, I personally believe, is the key to success. Everybody told me I was not alone but I didn’t realize it until I finally realized that I was not alone. Clear as mud?
Do you have any album releases in your future?
Yes I recently had an album release in October and the release party is happening in Toronto at the revival event venue December 4, 2021 at 8:30 PM. Currently I am working on producing my second album and doing more cowriting which is something that I am not used to.
If you could collaborate with one artist, who would that be, and why?
Sia, because she is an incredible songwriter and singer and I get mesmerized in her lyrics.
What else do you enjoy doing, when you’re not making music?
If I’m not making music I’m either hanging out with my family or rebuilding Harley Davidson‘s which is something I absolutely love. Choppers are my jam.
Thanks again, Graham! Any last words or shout outs to your fans?
I want to say how much I love and appreciate everybody who is part of my team at MSW media group, Big Stage Effects and Countrycore Records.