Wayne Chaulk is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, producer and composed. He has composed over 250 original theme songs and he has recorded numerous covers. Over the years, Chaulk has released a slew of instrumental recordings including 12 CDs of his own original material. As a result, he has been honored with numerous accolades and awards. "Worship and Inspirational Favourites" is one among four new instrumental projects Chaulk has just launched on his website (www.waynechaulk.com). We are honored to be able to catch up with Wayne for this exclusive Hallels' interview.
Hallels: Thanks Wayne for your time. For our readers who are not familiar with your music, how would you describe your style of music?
My style of music is a fusion of various influences over the years including pop, classical, light jazz, easy listening and gospel. Because I have listened to these genres throughout my life, and I have learned and played and been influenced by many pieces from these genres, I feel a little of each has crept into my own composition and playing style. So when I compose I tend to write a variety of pieces, some very soft 'classical like' piano themes as well as more upbeat 'pop like' and easy selections, but always focused on a strong and hopefully memorable melody and arranging to maintain and feature that melody. When I do covers I usually pick songs that are very well known and that fit my style of playing which is not super complex and with a right hand octave and full chord playing style. On all my music I have always tried to make it relaxing, motivational and provide calming music but if a listener wanted to turn up the volume the sound is full and hopefully entertaining as I tend to use a lot of supporting instrumentation for my piano and keyboard playing.
Hallels: Tell us a little bit about your journey, how did you end up being a composer, producer and someone who has released many instrumental records?
I live in Western Canada but I grew up in a Christian home in Eastern Canada where some of my family were musical and played and sang in church. In fact I was exposed to the Salvation Army with its bands and choirs when very young. I have since been of the Baptist denomination. My brother was a pianist and I tried to copy him as a boy, but never really started playing seriously until around age 18 and didn't really compose consistently until I was around 38 or so and then a flood of songs came to me over a 2 year period. I had no formal training in music and was not really encouraged in my youth to pursue my interest of a natural ability at music and because of a high school scholarship I was given, I ended up studying engineering and going in that field initially but have done various things since. I did listen to a lot of classical back then as well as joined a gospel quartet while in university. In fact the group flew to Pennsylvania to record their album contracting some well-known back up gospel instrumentalists for the album. I was impressed with these musicians and got hooked on instrumental music. I have attempted lyrics, but my real preference and strength is playing versus singing or writing lyrics to go with my many melodies. At times I wish I did have a lyricist to write for the melodies that I feel are ripe for that.
It wasn't until I was 38 that I set up a small home studio in my home, rented a few pieces of recording equipment for a weekend and recorded my first CD Christmas Keyboards over that weekend and printed a few copies. It was very well received from day one and launched my desire to start releasing a CD every year or so from there. I also received a few commissions to write themes for video, special events and a Canadian instrumental distributor picked up a couple of my CD's with good sales levels nationally so that contributed to my focus on instrumental music. Actually setting a goal of doing 10 CD's in 10 years forced me to keep on this path of instrumental composition and recording. In retrospect maybe that forced a couple of CD's prematurely. Anyway I have likely done more as a musician by setting the goals rather than just waiting for the inspiration or thinking one day I would do one. Musicians seem to be reluctant to release CD's often because of a perfectionist mentality. I learned to let go and get done so to speak.
Hallels: Over the years you have released quite a spectrum of instrumental music from your own compositions to love songs, why did you choose to record an inspirational and worship record?
Because of my love of gospel music through the years as well as great hymns of the faith. Because I always attended church and in fact played with several local gospel groups throughout my life and more recently worship groups I was always exposed to the music, but whenever I recorded, I tended to write and record secular music as I felt I could also make income from that music. Because I was always contributing to church on a volunteer basis I guess I always separated the 2 genres thinking the secular music was business and worship volunteer. I finally switched from this attitude and decided to do a gospel CD just because I always wanted to whether it ever sold a copy or not. It was done as my worship back to God of that gift he has given me to make music.
Hallels: You have certainly chosen quite a range of songs from hymns to contemporary worship songs, what criteria did you use in choosing these songs?
Melody, depth of lyrical content, familiarity and emotions that certain songs bring out. I must admit I do tire of some of the 'chorus like' worship songs coming out (although many people are blessed by them). I personally am drawn more to songs whether established ones of the past or new ones that have a somewhat structure and memorable melody and have lyrics with a true message and/or sound doctrine. There are so many established hymns that I enjoy interpreting as well as many contemporary worship songs as well, but I prefer to work with strong melodies and songs that are conducive to arranging.
Hallels: What will your next project be? Do you plan on releasing a second volume of Christian songs?
In fact while I was choosing songs for the Worship & Inspirational Favourites CD I also drafted out about another 8 - 10 songs that I didn't use. I may go back and re-visit these, polish them up and include them along with others in another volume of Christian songs. I currently have the CD's with a Western Canadian Christian bookstore chain, and they do sell off the shelf fairly consistently so it seems some people enjoy this music despite the vast array of vocal worship music available so I may assemble volume 2 over the next year or so. I do not have a major distributor asking for such a release and so there is not the pressure of a release date looming.
Hallels: If our readers would like to purchase your albums or find out more about you, where can they go?
The easiest way it to visit my web site at www.waynechaulk.com I do have CD inventory at my studio if someone is wanting to order off the web (there is a commerce section on the web using Pay Pal ) or the CD can be downloaded through a link on my webpage. If anyone is wanting to order the old fashioned way they can also write me at Wayne@waynechulk.com and we could send a copy with an invoice!