By Dylan Barnabe
It’s hard to believe anyone who’s graced the same stage as Above & Beyond grew up not liking music, but Sheridan Grout isn’t your average DJ. It wasn’t until his senior year of high school, when he was given David Guetta’s album One Love, that everything changed.
“I immediately became hooked and discovered a style of music I had never heard before,” says the 25-year-old Ottawan. “I started going to events and dove deeper into the music and soon discovered Gareth Emery, who got me hooked on trance.”
Over the years, Sheridan’s passion for electronic music has led him to become one of the city’s most promising talents. He began producing in 2013 and has since opened for some of the biggest electronic acts and has announced his first record deal with AVA Recordings. He’s performed at Ottawa’s Heineken Escapade Music Festival and Montreal’s Beachclub, placed second in an online Wavo remix competition, and released his first vocal track “One Chance” to widespread acclaim.
And that’s just in 2016 alone.
To say Sheridan lives up to his “work hard, play hard” philosophy would be an understatement. On top of his life as a music producer, he’s also a full-time accountant. He graduated from the University of Ottawa with a degree in commerce, and is now studying for his Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation.
“Since I’m studying full-time, working full-time, and making music, it’s important to balance,” he says.
Sheridan credits his hometown for continual support. In recent years, the electronic dance music community in Ottawa has grown exponentially. Where it was once impossible to imagine top DJs making a detour to stop at the nation’s capital, they now regularly show up at venues like the RA Centre, Barrymore’s, Babylon and Ritual. And while fans clamour to see such acts, they also show up to support local talent.
“What I’m doing today wouldn’t be possible without Ottawa and the fans of this scene,” says Sheridan.
The young producer said he has always been drawn to the emotion he finds in trance music.
“Trance does what only few genres can do in my opinion and that’s to bring out true emotion from the listener,” he says, listing Ben Gold, Omnia and Luke Bond among his major influences. “It’s less about the party and more about the journey—and that’s what attracted me to it.”
This emotion is clear in Sheridan’s music.
His tracks are uplifting, vibrant, and crafted with an attention to detail that, unsurprisingly, one would expect of an accountant.
In April, he released his first single “Orbit” into the musical ether. It was a big moment for the young producer and it turned out to be one of his best. The single hit number 30 on the Beatport trance chart and was the highest debut single AVA has ever had.
“I was overwhelmed with excitement and also nervous to see what the response was going to be,” he says. “It was unbelievable.”
While Sheridan lists playing after Above & Beyond at Beachclub this past summer as his favourite gig to date, he’s most proud of his recent single “One Chance.” The song is the first time he’s incorporated vocals and he only has kind words for Vancouver’s Michele C.
“It was amazing working with such a talented vocalist and the result speaks for itself,” he says. “It’s really an amazing, emotional track.”
He confirmed that work has started on a follow-up track and despite his recent accomplishments and success, Sheridan remains ever-grounded. There’s a strong sense the young DJ takes nothing for granted, preferring instead to let his work speak for itself. But his 100-watt smile says it all—he’s truly grateful for the chance to pursue his passion. •