Mike FroMontreal won top place in the Whistler Music Search for the second year in a row— but not before puking his face off.
The quirky singer-songwriter had advanced to the final round, which took place at the Crystal Lounge Oct. 18, but almost had to cancel after he fell ill from what he believes was food poisoning three days earlier. "I had to go to the hospital to get fluids. It was pretty serious," FroMontreal says.
Though he was weak from days without food and still under the weather, he decided to power through his set anyway. "Mid-performance I had to run out and go throw up," he says. "A lot of people were like, 'Where did he go?' I came back 15 minutes later. It was horrible. I ran down the street like, 'Where do I go?' I was in a delusional state. I hadn't eaten in three days."
Perhaps he won points for sparing his audience from the mess (unlike Justin Bieber, who famously vomited on stage twice in Arizona last month, though he, too, continued performing) but despite the incident, judges gave FroMontreal top honours — including a Tackamine Guitar and recording time at Pemberton's Bunker 7 Productions studio — again this year.
FroMontreal adds his competition — Jim Webb, Peter Vogler and Frank 'n' Biggs in the final round — was especially tough. "This year they managed to bring people out who stepped up their game from last year," he says. "They had well-defined performances."
So what will he do with two identical prize guitars?
"They're very nice guitars, but they're sitting in my closet collecting dust," FroMontreal explains. "I'm going to have them there as a reminder that I need to keep working harder."
Or perhaps, if he gets his wish, he'll dust off those axes and put them to use in a new full band. "I've been going at it alone for a long time and I'm bored of playing by myself," he says. "It sucks playing by yourself. I just want to work with other people. I'm putting it out there."
Besides recruiting musicians, he's also focused on recording material for a new release.
"I want to do a lot of stuff," he adds. "I'm going to use (the studio time prize) as an opportunity to meet these guys and get my foot in the door and see if we can work together."
The competition wasn't all pats on the back though. FroMontreal also got constructive feedback from the judges. "The kind of music I play can get out there a bit, so I want to make it more presentable, more of a pop format. They gave me some really great tips on how to do that."