Although he isn’t quite sure whether or not this is actually the tenth or eleventh holiday celebration he’s put on, JP Hoe knows that JP Hoe Hoe Hoe Holiday show on Friday, December 16th at the Burton Cummings Theatre will be an entertaining and fun-filled night.
“We’re not 100% sure that this is the 10th one,” said JP. “We’ve been trying to go back and figure out when it started. AT some point we had started jokingly calling it the ‘seventh annual’ or the ‘fifth annual’ but I don’t know if we ever properly kept track.”
The first such event came after a Movember moustache that had passed its expiry date, and was due for a shaving. This called for celebration, and the first JP Hoe Hoe Hoe Holiday show was born.
“We had this thing at the King’s Head Pub, and we shaved the moustache off on-stage to ‘Eye of the Tiger’. I realized that it was really fun to do, and each year afterwards it took on a new meaning.”
The show grew in popularity to the point that it required two or three nights at the Park Theatre, as a nice final show of the year where JP’s fellow collaborators could get together and celebrate the year that was.
“It’s really nice to be able to do the show in Winnipeg,” said JP. “I’m really proud to be from here, and represent the city when we go on tour.”
The holiday show gets a wide turnout, from regular fans, to people bringing their grandparents out. As JP says, the demographic of the audience is “everyone”.
Music that is easily accessible is part of what makes JP Hoe’s performances special.
After time, the three nights in a row came to be too much, as replicating the effect of the first night for successive shows was challenging. This year marks the fourth year that the show will be held at the Burton Cummings Theatre, which seats a little over 1600, and allows JP to get his fans all under one roof together on one night.
“Luckily, it’s been a really positive move where, every year, we see more people show up,” said JP. “I know it’s one theatre, in one city, and you could look at it that way. But I choose to look at it as something that has grown, and more people are able to enjoy it with us.”
Once Upon a Time In France
JP’s performing career truly got its start across the Atlantic, when he was volunteering at a radio station in France after he had graduated from high school. He used the opportunity to start writing his own songs, and started putting on his own concerts.
Upon returning to Winnipeg, he realized he wanted to expand on that passion that he had developed overseas. While JP enjoyed his university education, he decided to dedicate himself to the craft and business of making music. It’s a decision that has seen him perform around the world.
“It’s a weird feeling,” said JP. “On one hand you’re 100% satisfied, and on the other hand I almost feel guilty that I’ve gotten to do so much, and I’ve got so much of my life ahead of me. I’m very grateful.”
“The goal is to satisfy your passion, while at the same time acknowledging it’s a career. I try to ensure that it’s a healthy business while being a healthy artistic output, which is really tough.”
“You set certain benchmarks for yourself. I have no aspiration of being on a magazine cover. The fame side is of no interest or concern for me.”
Walking the delicate balancing act of keeping music, business and family satisfied is tricky, but JP has managed pretty well so far.
“If there comes a time when that bubble of support isn’t there anymore, I think I can probably look back and feel really satisfied and can move on.”
That day doesn’t currently seem to be on the horizon, with musical success finding JP.
JP’s first EP came out in 2003, with a live record following that up. The Dear John Letters came out in 2008, followed by a Christmas album full of original songs, then Mannequin in 2012 and Hideaway in 2015, the latter two bringing him the most success commercially.
“Those are the two records that opened a lot of doors, and had singles on CBC for years,” said JP.
We asked JP which of his songs mean the most to him.
“I dunno,” said JP with a chuckle. “It might be Nothing’s Gonna Harm You off of Mannequin. That was the first song that ever became a single, and had this gorgeous stop-animation video. Those things combined caused a lot of buzz that allowed me to go to Europe for the first time, got me playing a bunch of shows across Canada and kicked things off a little.”
“It’s now a song that’s about the love-hate you have for your hometown,” said JP. “We have a rule on the road that you’re not allowed to talk smack about Winnipeg, because it seems very bizarre to me that you would keep living there and talk down about it to other people.”