NHL Legend Theo Fleury Welcomes Blossoming Music Career
Theo Fleury is most recognizable for his years as a Former NHL All-Star, Stanley Cup Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist. Since retiring from hockey, Fleury has become a two-time best selling author of Playing with Fire & Conversations with a Rattlesnake, a healing motivator and has helped many with his knowledge of relational trauma. With everything on his resume, why stop there?
The former NHL star has been working on a country album “I Am Who I Am“, with his band the Death Valley Rebels, and two weeks ago released his debut single “My Life’s Been a Country Song” (listen below). ‘I Am Who I Am,’ is due out October 23 on eOne Music Canada.
Fleury took some time out to chat with us about his musical roots, the creation of his soon-to-be-released album “I Am Who I Am“, and what he hopes to open people’s minds up to with his music.
What did you learn in your NHL career that you feel has and will continue to help you in music?
The team that we have created with the music is similar to a lot of the teams I played on that had success. You have to surround yourself with good people and people who have passion. Obviously the people that I have are really passionate about the music. It has been a real fun, cool project. We are all extremely proud of the finished product, the album which is about to come out.
Why the country genre?
There isn’t anything other than country, is there? Especially in Canada. I used to say I was country when country wasn’t cool.
Can you describe your attraction to music?
I grew up around country music. My fondest memories are sitting and listening to my Grandfather play the fiddle. My Dad was an entertainer. My Uncle was an entertainer. We were always around music. With music, when you hear a song, you always remember where you were and what it made you feel and that happy place is sitting beside my Grandfather. He always played the fiddle with a smile on his face and he was just a sweet, sweet man. Obviously he is gone now, so I miss those times when I could listen to him play the fiddle.
What have you thought about the album creation process? What has been your favourite part? What part did you find most difficult?
I don’t think there has been any part of it that has been difficult. I think it has been a huge learning curve. One that I have totally embraced and loved is the process of taking a thought or a phrase and turning it into a song; it has been pretty cool. And, finding a couple writing partners that sort of “get me”. It has been awesome.
What artistic growth do you feel you have experienced throughout the creation process of the album?
I think I know how to put a song together now. Learning how to sing properly, learning how to breathe, perform. All those things have been a cool process too.
What are the biggest challenges you felt approaching the album?
That is the thing about this project. It really hasn’t been difficult at all; only fun. I get to hang out with my buddies and write stuff down on napkins and paper bags (laughs), so it has been really great.
How do you feel the response has been to your single “My Life’s Been a Country Song”?
I think it has been unbelievable. I am a bit in shock. We have had over 35,000 hits on Soundcloud already and it has only been out for a week and a half, so pretty awesome to know that people like what you’ve come up with.
We were always around music. With music, when you hear a song, you always remember where you were and what it made you feel and that happy place is sitting beside my Grandfather. He always played the fiddle with a smile on his face and he was just a sweet, sweet man.
What are you trying to open people’s minds up to with your music?
I think it is all about the message. Since 2009, since Playing with Fire came out, my autobiography, I have not stopped. I have been across the country probably 15 times, back and forth and everywhere else in between, talking about childhood trauma and how to overcome it. A third of the population that lives in Canada has had the same experiences I had in my childhood. It has been pretty incredible the people I have met and the people I have had the opportunity to sit down with and listen to their stories.
You’ve set out to inspire others, but who was the last person to inspire you?
I would probably say a lady named Kim Barthel. She is a lady I met along my travels who really explained me, to me, better than anyone who has explained it in my whole entire life. Her and I wrote the new book that we have out called Conversations With The Rattlesnake. Meeting her has been a life-changing relationship and friendship and I love her dearly and she is one of the coolest people I get to hang around with who is brilliant, smart, compassionate, caring and her work ethic is the same as mine. Our mission statements are the same – to help people understand themselves and figure out why we do the things we do; good, bad, or indifferent.
Working on tracks, are you ever surprised at how good they become? Are there any that surprised you on this album?
I think they all did. They all have their own unique music to them and unique lyrics as well. At the end they all have hope, inspiration and resolution to the problem that we set out to write about.
How did you when you had a collection of songs know this was the album?
I think this project is filled with a lot of serendipity. The guy I initially started writing music with, our Dads used to play music together before we were born. One of my writing partners is an old drinking buddy, Paddy McCallion, from Calgary here that I didn’t even know he was a musician when we were hanging out together. We both got sober and sat down and started writing music together. Everything happens for a reason. Karma or whatever you want to call it has put us together and we have come up with something that we all really are proud of. I’m looking forward to getting out on the road, meeting people and performing in front of them.
At this point, what do you value most about this experience in music?
I just love the process. I think that to take something that sort of has been buried deep inside of you and to get it out there and express it in a musical way is pretty inspiring to me and the people that have joined this music writing team has been pretty cool.
Do you have any final thoughts to share with the readers of popYOUlarity?
Listen to the music with an open mind. Don’t think of it as Theo Fleury the former hockey player. Think of it as Theo Fleury who is a hard working guy who loves country music and go with that. There is a lot of inspiration in there.
+ Debbie Fettback