A Podcast Conversation With ... Ian Lake
The noted Canadian stage and screen actor is now turning his hand to music, via an impressive new single, The Bottom. Learn more in this FYI podcast.
By Bill King
Ian Lake - The Bottom
A few months back, I was invited to appear in the Netflix series, Locke & Key. Get this, as a hand double for actor Kevin Durand. Kevin is 6’6”—I’m 6’2” and the hands I was told were lovely. I’m not an actor by any stretch, in fact the closest I’ve ever came to on camera was a hand audition part for Weight Watchers back in the ‘80s. I even got the role.
What caught my attention was the concentration and general good nature with everyone involved in shooting the last episode of season three.
Between shoots, folks would gather in a waiting room, chat, think, and ask questions. One such actor, Ian Lake, was exercising, reciting upcoming lines, and totally immersed in the work ahead. A cautionary lesson for anyone thinking they can simply walk on the set and lay it out there. It’s still in the nuts and bolts and preparation.
What I didn’t know about Ian was his back history and powerful singing presence.
“Netflix/Stratford actor, vocalist and musician Ian Lake wears his heart on his sleeve in his new single The Bottom, from his upcoming album What It Is, set for release in 2022. The single came out November 5 on all major platforms.
From Vancouver, the now Toronto-based Ian Lake is a National Theatre School of Canada alumnus. He’s played Macbeth at the illustrious Stratford Festival; played the lead role of Guy in the Mirvish Theatre’s Toronto production of the hit Broadway musical Once; and garnered a massive role in the upcoming second and third seasons of the popular Netflix drama, Locke and Key. Now, as he steps into the Canadian music landscape, Lake stays true to his nature, revealing his personal stories of love, struggle, and lessons learned in his songs.
The Bottom is a cri de coeur that plumbs the depths and brings back the jewels, using only a simple piano (by Lake), bass (by in-demand session/touring bassist Steve Zsirai), a gorgeous string arrangement (by the renowned Drew Jurecka), and Lake’s incomparable voice. Surprisingly, it was the first song he ever wrote on the piano, as he was attempting to find a new avenue of expression. The Bottom, also the first song he penned for the upcoming album, went through several incarnations—first with drums, and plans to add female vocals, before ending up in its true, essential state.
“I wrote The Bottom in a sunless place in the Summer of 2020,” says Lake. “It’s about profoundly appreciating how deeply the heart can feel. About being at your absolute lowest point, and trying to rebuild yourself, while almost marvelling at the pain and power of it all. It’s about the fact that you won’t ever feel love and joy unless you open yourself up to being hurt. I wanted to sing from a place that I hadn’t sung from before, so I positioned it at the very top of my range.”
Lake’s mission is to have people recognize themselves in his music. His songs are genuine, playfully irreverent, and sometimes deeply poetic; all with a vocal passion that can’t help but stir you to feel it all along with him.”
MORE ABOUT IAN LAKE
"He [Ian Lake] plays guitar with panache and his voice brims with a passion and intensity that will melt your heart, especially in his solo numbers"
~ Mooney on Theatre, review of Once
A storyteller at his core, Ian Lake’s true gift is connecting people through the unifying bonds of our shared human experience. Powerful, textured vocals and brutally honest lyrics, set to catchy pop melodies, give Lake’s songwriting immediate impact and leave a lasting impression. Lake writes about his own experiences, yet still allows room for listeners to relate it to themselves. He approaches songwriting from the perspective that, when we hear a great song, it’s not the writer’s life we think about – but our own.
With a voice that ranges from the smooth comfort of a baritone to the emotional belt of a tenor, to the raw intimacy of a high falsetto, Lake’s vocal style has evolved from his inspirational influences, like Glen Hansard, James Blake, Justin Vernon, and Jeff Buckley. He sings each note from a place deep in his belly, and the authenticity can’t be denied.
Written by Ian Lake
Performed by Ian Lake (vocals, piano), Steve Zsirai (Bass), Drew Jurecka (Strings)
Strings arrangement by Drew Jurecka
Produced by Matthew Barber
Recorded at Union Sound in Toronto
Engineered by Chris Stringer
Assistant Engineered by Darren Mcgill
Additional recording by Matthew Barber and Drew Jurecka
Mixed by Steve Chahley
Mastered by Heather Kirby at Dreamlands Mastering