The Musician Spotlight Series shines a light on up-and-coming bands and solo acts creating heartfelt and original work across genres, giving them an opportunity to talk about their music, their collaborators, and why they do what they do.


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Universal Honey

“Based out of Saskatoon, SK, Universal Honey was formed by the platinum recording artists Johnny Sinclair and Leslie Stanwyck after playing in platinum-certified Canadian power pop group The Pursuit of Happiness. During this time, Sinclair and Stanwyck started a songwriting partnership that has spanned across three decades and earned Universal Honey a 1993 CASBY award as Best New Group. The duo has since shared the stage with the likes of the Goo Goo Dolls, Alanis Morissette, Duran Duran and many more.”


Congratulations on your 30th anniversary as Universal Honey! What have been some of your biggest career highlights to date?

Some career highlights have included winning a CASBY Award for Best New Group, touring with The Goo Goo Dolls for over 100 shows, and having Ronnie Spector (The Ronettes) Rock n Roll Hall of Fame inductee cover our song “Best Christmas Ever” for her Christmas album.


We’ve had over fifty placements on television and movies, and we were included in a Girls Go Power Pop compilation in the UK. We also had a song on Women & Song 10. Needless to say, it’s been a great thirty years!


Are you both professionally trained? How did you develop your skills early on in your careers?

Leslie had a dad who was a professional musician and inspired her a lot. She started playing piano at the age of five and is conservatory-trained. Later, she picked up other instruments and took to the guitar, writing all of her songs on guitar. Leslie says, “I felt a creative freedom on the guitar because I wasn’t trained like I was on the piano. There were no restrictions on the guitar.”


Who were some of your biggest musical influences on your latest single “Is This The Real Thing?”

We always bring a lot of different influences into our music. Our range of what we listen to and what we love is very broad. When we started jamming this song out it just naturally felt like a cross between vintage U2 and mid-career Radiohead, so we went with it.


How did the song come about and who produced the track? 

We set up in our home studio and got a beat going on a drum machine. Johnny came up with a bass line, and Leslie added some chord changes to the arrangement and then started singing a melody over top. We then recorded what we had on our phones and played it back to come up with the lyrics. We brought in our drummer Warren Medernach and tracked the song. We then sent our files to our friend, musician and co-producer Dan Marfisi in Los Angeles. He added other embellishments and mixed the track!


What can audiences expect from one of your live shows?

We are high energy and upbeat. We like to keep things going. We’ve been playing live shows for a long time so we’re very polished. We like playing songs from our back catalog and of course the new album.


Where can we find your music?

We’re everywhere, streaming and digital. We’re also going to press vinyl! 

Facebook: /universalhoney

Instagram: @universalhoneyband

Twitter: @HoneyUniversal