HITTING THE STAGE - Canadian artist Coleman Hell will be performing at Westerner Days on July 22nd. Jess Baumung photo

Coleman Hell set to storm the stage at Westerner Days

The Thunder Bay, Ontario native’s most recent release is the acclaimed Summerland

Canadian artist Coleman Hell will take the stage at this year’s 126th annual Westerner Days.

Last year, the Thunder Bay, Ontario native released his debut album Summerland, which he said was like an homage to where he grew up.

“It was about leaving there and moving to a big city and trying to find myself, and spending all this time doing that and then coming home and realizing that what I was looking for was there all along,” said Hell.

The artist currently resides in Toronto, but still makes the time to pay a visit to his hometown of Thunder Bay, as much of his family still lives there.

Hell, who’s most known for his hits 2 Heads and Fireproof, gets his ideas from many different avenues, but the majority are of personal experience, like in his recent song Devotion.

Devotion is a song about a relationship Hell was in where things were falling apart. He said he had started to wonder if it would have been okay if he would have done something differently, but said it ended anyways.

“It’s like the last plea to someone to stay,” he said about the song, adding that most of his songs are about things that have happened to him firsthand.

Although Hell hasn’t had a lengthy career, he’s made quite the name for himself with his hit 2 Heads accumulating over 90 million streams on Spotify.

2 Heads was the most played song in Canada last year over Drake and The Weeknd and everything, so that was pretty insane to me to have a song that got played that much, so when I found that out, that was pretty exciting,” he said.

And the success, of course, didn’t stop there, as Hell’s debut album Summerland was nominated for a 2017 Juno Award for Pop Album of the Year, following his nomination for Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the 2016 awards.

“It’s pretty exciting. It’s my first album I’ve ever made so to have it nominated for such a prestigious award was a pretty big honour, because I’d never made an album before that, so to have my first one recognized like that was pretty great.”

Hell was exposed to the world of music when he was just a kid, as his mom used to work at a record store and brought home all kinds of records and cassettes to which Hell got his hands on, listening to songs and reading along with the lyric sheets.

He said he was obsessed with 70s and 80s music, and from that point on when he had saved up enough money, he bought a piano and started teaching himself how to play the keyboard, later buying a microphone and teaching himself how to record.

“I’m all sort of self-taught. I started out as a listener and just really wanted to be a part of music in some way, so then I started teaching myself how to do everything in my room.”

Hell continues to write songs now on his own, and produces them with his friend who goes by the name of ‘Latch.’

With many different musical idols, he said he gravitates to a variety of music, including the likes of Prince, David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen, but he also loves a lot of new music from artists like Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar.

Looking back at his career, he said there’s been so many great moments, including touring with a band he enjoys called 21 Pilots. He said it was also very exciting when he heard his song 2 Heads was the most played song in Canada last year.

Hell has been busy working on his next album, and said he hopes to get songs rolling out before the end of the summer.

“I’m pretty much finished it, so I’m excited to put the new one out.”

In the meantime, Hell will be kept busy all summer long playing festivals, and will hopefully be releasing some tour dates at the end of the year.