Sunday Brunch Collective: Schimnowski makes friends in high places

Singer-songwriter gets help from local idols he listened to as a kid


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Singer-songwriter Mitchell Schimnowski doesn’t need to look far for his musical inspirations.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/09/2016 (2376 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Singer-songwriter Mitchell Schimnowski doesn’t need to look far for his musical inspirations.

When asked who his influences are, two of the three names the 22-year-old Winnipegger dropped were Del Barber and the Bros. Landreth, artists who have developed enviable careers while being based in the city.

“He was my version of a rock star when I was a kid. I used to play and sing like Del,” Schimnowski says of Barber.

“I used to do, I guess you could call it an apprenticeship, in my cousin’s studio, and so I got to see a bunch of amazing artists come through. He was childhood friends with Del Barber, so I got to kind of watch the transformation. I think a couple albums into Del’s career it kind of clicked for me that I wanted that, too.”

In his relatively short career, Schimnowski has already had the opportunity to become well acquainted with both of his musical idols, playing on two tracks on Barber’s 2014 album Prairieography and having Ariel Posen of the Bros. Landreth act as producer and co-writer for Schimnowski’s new EP, The Spark. Other members of the Bros. Landreth jumped in as well, serving as the backing band.

“It was quite the cast and crew,” says Schimnowski of recording The Spark, his second release.

“I had begun a writing process and I was stuck in a rut, I couldn’t really get past anything and the songs weren’t flowing, so my friend Ariel Posen from the Bros. Landreth offered to help co-write some songs with me,” he says. “We were about two songs deep and I had asked him to produce the album, and he made it what it is now.”

Schimnowski says he has felt an immense amount of support from the local music community, made obvious by the list of recognizable names listed as co-write credits that, in addition to Posen, include Alexa Dirks of Begonia and producer Murray Pulver.

“I sometimes wonder why people are so supportive, but I think it’s a Winnipeg thing,” he says. “It’s not really a competition — everyone just wants to make good music and help each other make good music.”

Schimnowski has been writing songs for the past four years, but got his start performing in high school when he joined a musical-theatre class. After encouragement from his teacher, he sang and played guitar for his fellow students and the reaction was so positive he decided to pursue music more seriously.

“I think the compliments drove me to keep going and I’ve been going since,” he says, chuckling.

He released his first EP, Riverside Drive, in 2013, and followed that up with The Spark, which came out in March.

The Spark is a six-song, acoustic-driven collection that gives off a roots-pop vibe reminiscent of early John Mayer or Jason Mraz, and, similarly to Mayer and Mraz, love is the topic of choice for Schimnowski.

“Oh yes, absolutely,” he agrees when asked if penning love songs is his go-to. “I don’t do it on purpose; I always tell myself I’m going to write something different, but it always comes out, ‘I love you,’” he says with a laugh.

Schimnowski says the plan is to have a full-length record ready to go next year and hit the road after that. But, for those who want to catch him live sooner rather than later, Schimnowski will be the featured performer at the second edition of the Sunday Brunch Collective at Kitchen Sync on Oct. 16, where he will perform at both the 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. sittings.

erin.lebar@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @NireRabel

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Erin Lebar

Erin Lebar
Manager of audience engagement for news

Erin Lebar spends her time thinking of, and implementing, ways to improve the interaction and connection between the Free Press newsroom and its readership.


Updated on Monday, September 26, 2016 11:34 AM CDT: Updates images.

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