Interview and Photo by Jason Setnyk
Cornwall, Ontario – Nicholas Seguin is a local musician whose musical journey started early in high school, spending weekends at Glenn Productions or with the Celtic group Haggis. Nick was deeply influenced by the folk era, with acoustic guitar as his primary instrument.
After high school, Nick studied Musical Theatre Performance at Sheridan College in Oakville. After college, he migrated to Toronto to perform in productions such as the Canadian premiere of Footloose, the Canadian Broadway remount of Urinetown, and Annie Get Your Gun in Concert at Masse Hall starring Billy Ray Cyrus, to name a few.
In 2005, Nick briefly returned to Cornwall to tour with the band Greenwich Meantime, a Celtic pop-rock quintet. Greenwich Meantime had a fantastic following locally but found its home along the eastern seaboard of the United States. As time passed, in 2008, Nick shifted into photography full-time, returning to Toronto and opening his first studio on Dufferin Avenue.
Fast forward to 2013, Nick once again relocated back to Cornwall with the birth of his first child, Ernie. Now fans can find Nick playing gigs around the area: playing solo, with a handful of duos, and as the leading singer of the “dad-band” The Chesterfields. The band is primarily geared toward the special event market, such as weddings and galas. There is a strict focus on an uptempo and eclectic mix that is guaranteed to get the crowd moving.
Five Questions with The Seeker
1 – What made you want to become a musician?
“If I’m honest, it was attention. I didn’t have much confidence when I was younger. When music popped into my life and I started receiving positive feedback, I was addicted. The problem was I was addicted to feedback, not the art. So for many years, I didn’t apply myself to music’s technical or creative side. I didn’t develop the proper technique. I simply developed what I needed to get by. And this was a detriment to me because, by the time I was in my early 20s, when art became more important than accolades, I struggled with my limitations in education and technical know-how. The fact of the matter is that I still struggle with my technical limitations but have been slowly improving with the resources available to me.
Now, In my 40s, I play music because I simply love it. It has become the great equalizer in my life. It is what balances me. I’m happy to sit in the corner of a pub and be background music just as much as when there are a hundred and fifty people jumping up and down. Accolades or not, it’s the best way to spend a Friday night, and I am grateful every time I’m given the opportunity to play.”
2 – What was your first musical instrument?
“The guitar was my first instrument. And with that being said, I really only know enough to accompany myself. Singing became a more prominent instrument for me. Hence all the musical theatre when I was younger. While I have confidence in singing, I don’t particularly like the sound of my own voice. But I love the cathartic act of belting out a tune. There is no other release quite as satisfying.”
3 – Did you learn music through classes schooling, or were you self-taught?
“It was a mix really. I’m mostly self-tough with guitar. I did basic lessons in elementary school. My biggest leap forward was sitting in the basement when my father had band practice, and I would try and keep up in the background. Vocally, in high school, I was blessed to have Helen McAlear as my music teacher. She really did define how I used my voice. To this day, I still call on what she taught me. In college, I continued my vocal training, learning how to site-read vocal lines, but that skill has since evaporated.”
4 – What are your strengths as a musician, and what areas do you want to improve?
“I’d love to be a better guitar player. Having a deeper understanding of the fretboard and theory would be amazing. I should be taking lessons again. But with two school-aged children, those resources of time and money are directed toward them. Maybe when I retire, I’ll enroll in a music class and fill those gaps of knowledge.”
5 – Are there any musicians who inspire you? What qualities do you admire about them?
“I’m a big fan of Tim Baker. I think he is quite possibly one of the greatest Canadian songwriters of our generation. When I listen to Tim Baker, he makes me want to disappear into the woods, find an old cottage and write an album. Again, an activity for when I retire.”
Check out The Chesterfields on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thechesterfieldsband