Interview with Gracepoint’s Alisen Down

Award-winning Canadian actress Alisen Down stars the new crime drama television series, Gracepoint (an adaptation of the hit British series, Broadchurch) as Kathy Eaton, the Editor of the Gracepoint Journal. The story centers around the murder of a twelve-year old boy in a small seaside town in California, and the mystery behind the homicide places everyone in Gracepoint under the spotlight as potential suspects. As the voice of the town, Kathy is in the middle of the media frenzy and must balance her compassion with her journalistic integrity in her search for the truth.

In an exclusive interview with The Hudsucker, Alisen spills the scoop on her acting background, her audition for Kathy, and what viewers should anticipate during the inaugural season of Gracepoint.

Continue reading on The Hudsucker

Carrie Underwood’s “Something In The Water”

Carrie Underwood‘s “Something in the Water” is the first single off of her upcoming compilation album, Greatest Hits: Decade #1, in commemoration of the Country star’s 10 tremendous years in the music industry. This co-written track is a deeply spiritual gospel-country-power pop ballad-esque song about being rescued by a higher power and being redeemed through the strength, joy, and light found through faith. Carrie has always been expressive about her religious beliefs in God, but the song is for anyone who understands the feeling of running out of hope and barely being able to hold onto the end of the rope, only to have a life-changing experience by believing in something bigger than and beyond themselves. “Something in the Water” ends with a powerful closing chorus that incorporates the hymn, “Amazing Grace”, driving home the transformative, uplifting, and inspiring nature of the song.

“Gonna look ahead, no turning back. Live every day, give it all that I have.”

Download “Something in the Water” (from Greatest Hits: Decade #1, due December 9th) NOW on iTunes.

Elton John in Vancouver

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On September 13th and 14th, Vancouver embraced music royalty as Sir Elton John brought his Follow The Yellow Brick Road Tour (in honour of the 40th anniversary of his iconic record) to the Canadian west coast. I went to the second of his two sold-out shows at Rogers Arena. The legendary singer/songwriter/piano man played all of his greatest hits from across the four decades of his career, including favourites like “Bennie and the Jets“, “Candle in the Wind”, “Tiny Dancer“, “Philadelphia Freedom”, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, “Rocket Man”, “Your Song”, “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”, “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting”, and “Crocodile Rock” and “Circle Of Life / Can You Feel The Love Tonight” (and that’s just half of the hits!). It was a spectacular night of song led by a sparkling supernova of a performer.

Photography and videos by yours truly.

Life Lessons Learned From… August.

August kicked my ass.

The entire month was ridden with death, suffering, anxiety, and pretty much every terrible situation and miserable sensation imaginable. Between saying goodbye to someone who I really cared about and watching the one person who means the most to me face even more health challenges, my heart was broken and my spirit was shattered. The news stories this month were just as depressing, what with racial tensions in Ferguson, Missouri and the death of actor Robin Williams. In these trying times, my faith in life was put to the ultimate test. I wondered, why should I have hope for a world, let alone trust in a higher power, when good, innocent souls, including the people I love, are put through the ringer of pain, or are taken away forever? How am I expected to hold on while being ambushed with awfulness all around? What is it about life that makes the sadness, the anger, worth it?

People.

I was saved by people. If it wasn’t for my support system, I would have been consumed by my grief and my fears. My friends were there to lend an open ear, impart words of encouragement, provide the smiles and laughs to lighten things up, and offer to do anything they can to help alleviate the situation. When it comes to shared grief, it’s amazing how people who are hurting collectively come together to give each other love and strength, reminding us all that we never have to experience these worst moments alone. The gratitude I feel towards these phenomenal people is overwhelming.

What did I learn from August 2014?

We may not have control over the bad that comes our way in life, but we can control how we go through the dark days. We are strong on our own, but stronger together, and strongest when we take care of each other, stand together, and fight back together, as one.

See you soon, September. I’ll be coming up swinging.

Image by Leon Biss.

Cheers To You… Summer Night Concerts

When the music meets the moonlight, magic happens. Somehow, setting the concert scene outside makes the whole live performance experience even more captivating to the senses. Over the past two weeks, I was lucky enough to see my trifecta of favourite singer/songwriter dudes – Phillip Phillips, Ed Sheeran, and Gavin DeGraw – at outdoor venues…


Phillip Phillips at the PNE Amphitheater (August 16th)
After a hit show at Rogers Arena back in March, Phillip returned back to his favourite Canadian city to play at the opening night of the PNE’s Summer Concert Series. I’m not even exaggerating with that statement – he REALLY does love Vancouver. And that’s largely because his audience does things like lighting up their cell phones during “Tell Me A Story” (yes, we did it again!). If you have yet to see Phillip Phillips and his band of brothers live, pull the “Trigger” and run (or “Fly“, but don’t walk) to a show near you. You’ll “Unpack Your Heart” and “Lose Yourself” in the music because they are electric.


Ed Sheeran at Ambleside Park (August 23rd)
I had missed Ed the last two times he did shows in Vancouver [first time, I had to choose between him and Carrie Underwood (I'm sorry, but she's my Queen) and second time, he was opening for Taylor Swift and tickets were out of my price range], but the third time was certainly the charm! Within a picturesque beachside park in West Vancouver, Ed busted out an incredible one-man show of his trippy hip-hop infused brand of folk-pop to a crowd of 12,000 concertgoers – a crowd that eagerly contributed to A+ sing-alongs to his hits “The A Team“, “Sing“, and many more. The most memorable part of the night was when he sang my four favourite songs of his – “Afire Love”, “Thinking Out Loud”, “Give Me Love”, and “I See Fire” – all in a row. Boom, nailed it!


Gavin DeGraw at the PNE Amphitheater (August 26th)
With ten years of awesome records under his belt, Gavin DeGraw will be releasing a Greatest Hits album this fall. Does that make you feel old? Because I sure do. In celebration, the Piano Man did a show at the PNE and performed a selection of his best songs (including the anthemic “I Don’t Want To Be” and the uplifting “Soldier“) along with his new single, “Fire“. As always, Gavin’s top-notch musicality, charm, and groove made for an classy, cool, and unforgettable evening.

All photography and videos by yours truly.