Sounding almost prophetic, the Trevor Guthrie written, Armin van Buuren produced hit, ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ seems quite the appropriate song title given that Guthrie now knows exactly how it feels like to be back in the limelight. Fighting for the past ten years as a solo artist, Guthrie has suddenly landed himself in front of sold out arenas full of electro, trance, and house fans. All it took, it seems, was a change in direction.
Best known for his work in Canadian pop trio, soulDecision, Guthrie pursued a solo career shortly after the group disbanded in 2005. Unfortunately, the solo venture never fully took off unlike some of his peers’ solo careers. Guthrie recalls, “It was always frustrating when guys like [Justin] Timberlake came to town and Beyonce because I’d go to the show and they would have me backstage to say hi and what’s going on? It was tough to watch them have their success…but I think I spent ten years just trying to find my sound and what I wanted to go forward with.”
What Guthrie went forward with was something unexpected. Guthrie paired up with Dutch producer/DJ Armin van Buuren to write some melodies and lyrics over a chord progression he had received. He had done so and even found the material he sent in to not be all that great. Little did he know that van Buuren would produce the song into a dance track. Upon receiving this new version, Guthrie remembers thinking, “I guess this is good. I don’t know what trance is, but for me, this is a really well produced pop song.”
Guthrie’s instincts were right. Six months after ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ was released, it became certified platinum in Canada and to date, has accumulated 23 million YouTube hits for the official music video. When asked whether Guthrie has qualms with describing this recent turn of events as a “comeback”, he replies, “No, it is a comeback. I’ve been down and out trying…I had a lot of doors closed on me. A lot of people probably didn’t even listen to my songs, but Armin took the chance. He listened to it, he believed in it, and he put it out. Someone tweeted, calling me the Canadian Cinderella man. I feel for that comment, like I get it. I’m forty years old. You wouldn’t think I’d have a second chance.”
Despite Guthrie’s newfound success, he hasn’t forgotten his roots. He says of his soulDecision days, “It was my first experience in the music industry and it’s nothing compared to the way it is now. I’d been working ten years up to that point to get to where we were with soulDecision, so when it took off, it wasn’t an overnight success. When it hit, it hit hard and lasted a good two to three years and to me, it was one of the best experiences of my life.”
Although sounding as revitalized as ever, Guthrie now finds himself at a crossroad with his career. He explains, “I enjoy all my acoustic stuff and I don’t want to abandon that because that’s where I’ve been for the past ten years. I would love to create an online presence, just putting down my instrumentals like some of my songs on guitar and piano or what not, and continue to have some top 40 crossover dance songs as well. If it can attack it at both fronts, that would be the greatest thing I’d love to be involved in.”