January 13, 2005

Once again, another year has come to pass. The holiday season has again treated me well, with lots of great food, family and friends!

If I had to give this year a cheesy title, I'd probably title it my 'Year of Discovery' (get your mind out of the gutter). Through my experiences, opportunities and decisions, I've grown a great deal as a person and have gained a better sense of self. I also discovered the root problem of my Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) problems, which has had a huge impact on my life.

2004 - My year in Review.

January of 2004 started out with a new roommate: Art James. He's an actor who had a five-month contract with Theatre New Brunswick to perform at schools around NB. He turned out to be an amazing roommate and actually joined Pimp Tea on stage a few times as Superfluous Garth - you can hear him on my new CD (Track 12) & see him eating a Sub sandwich on stage in the 'Spoof Le Grand' video footage on the enhanced part of my CD.

January also saw me launch my 'Super Dude' merchandise line, which included t-shirts, v-necks, crewnecks and trucker hats. Many thanks to Justin Sadler for the great design!

In February, I decided to change my rap name from PIMP-T to Pimp Tea, an acronym for "Positively Influencing More People To Excel Artistically". I like diversity, change and growth, especially when it comes to music, so I made the switch. As well, I like how Pimp Tea sort of bridges the gap between the street image - pimp - and the royalty image - sipping tea.

In March I headed to Halifax with Rory Borealis and my brother's now defunct band, Fixxion, to record two videos for CBC's ZeD TV. The 'Super Dude' video aired on May 14th during a special primetime ZeD episode entitled 'The Coast with the Most.' Subsequently, on October 7th the 'Super Dude' and 'Shake Ya Caboose' videos aired nationally. You can view the 'Super Dude' video online or on the enhanced portion of my new CD.

On April 17th, I performed at Music New Brunswick's Showcase in Moncton. I put video footage of my performance of 'Spoof Le Grand' and 'P. Tipty' on my enhanced CD.

After having suffered with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) for five years, I was getting pretty frustrated. My doctor had told me there was really nothing I could do, but to try and figure out which foods upset my stomach. Being the logical thinker I am, I'd spent five frustrating years trying to figure it out without much luck - it was very frustrating. I had lost 30 lbs, and even feared social situations because of my stomach problems. Fortunately, I met with a student doctor who told me a growingly common cause of IBS problems is gluten. As it turns out, gluten (along with lactose, onions and apples) was a root cause of my problems. I have a strong sensitivity to gluten, which is contained in wheat, flour and more. So I've cut out most gluten products, which results in quite a limited diet, but has had an amazing impact on my life. Now, by avoiding certain foods, my stomach rarely gets violently upset anymore, so simple things like going to the movie theatres becomes a lot easier. I haven't gained back the weight, so I'm looking pretty slim, but I'm not complaining - I feel great!

In May, I received a New Brunswick Sound Initiative (NBSI) grant for Album Production Assistance, which assisted me in funding the mastering of my album.

At the end of May, Art (my roommate) moved back to Halifax, and Scott G moved in. Scott was an outgoing, friendly and considerate roommate who only planned to stay for the summer.

June also saw my brother Colin finish mixing my album, 'An Urbal Remedy.' He put tons of time into it and I won't ever be able to thank him enough. Since August, he's been working in Mississauga at Metalworks and recently worked with Our Lady Peace, Bob Rock (of Metallica fame) and Ryan Malcolm among others.

Colin & I also trekked down to Halifax at the end of June to have my album mastered by J. Lapointe at Archive Mastering. The mastering was made more difficult because it was an enhanced CD. Making it compatible with Macintosh was a pain, but Iain MacDonald & J. Lapointe helped me out a great deal. Thanks!

August saw the release of my sophomore album 'An Urbal Remedy,' along with a 12" vinyl record (yes they still make those). I had secured national distribution, but unfortunately my well-recognized distributor went bankrupt the same week as my release date, so none of my records were in stores, which I admit was quite disappointing.

Regardless, at the end of August, I borrowed my Mom's van and went on an eight-date tour of Atlantic Canada with Rory Borealis, Scout, Mickey D and Curbside Prawjek. We all had a blast and there are too many crazy adventures to tell them all here. You can check my website for the tour log. www.pimptea.com

At the end of August, Scott moved into his own place downtown and Stacey S moved in. Stacey was a friend of a friend and she was entering her last year of Education at UNB. She turned out to be a great roommate too (I've been lucky to have some great roommates).

October was a great time for me. My 12" vinyl single for 'Shake Ya Caboose' was charting at 35+ stations all over North America. In fact it spent three weeks, peaking at #24, on the influential Record Breakers top 30 charts, which are compiled by 40+ of the most influential campus hip-hop DJs in North America. www.newrealm.com/charts/

As well, while watching a Red Sox playoff game, I learned eggs could be scrambled in the microwave - a great timesaving discovery. Thanks Dave Lewis!

October also saw my beloved Red Sox do the impossible - they came back from being down three games to none against the Yankees and go on to win the World Series against the Cardinals. They broke the Curse of the Bambino, which has supposedly prevented them from winning since 1918. I'll never forget my nervous nights watching every game with Derek Andrews, Mark MacTavish & Dave Lewis. Thanks to Iain MacDonald for letting us watch on the big screen!

At the end of October, HipHopCanada.com received their third consecutive Canadian Urban Music Award (CUMA) for best hip-hop website in Canada. As one of the more senior writers for this website, it was nice to see all the hard work recognized and rewarded. In the last half of the year, my contributions declined, so I can't take much credit.

In November, 'An Urbal Remedy' peaked at #7 on Earshot's Canadian campus hip-hop charts. The album also was the #7 most played album of 2004 at CHSR, which is the University of New Brunswick's campus station.

Led by Nik Mills, we shot an independent video for 'Shake Ya Caboose' in November. It is currently being edited, but includes French maids, Victorian settings, a lot of Fredericton rappers/DJs and a caboose (from McAdam)! Many thanks to the cast & crew for volunteering their time!

In December, Stacey found out her teaching practicum for January would be in Saint John instead of Fredericton, so she moved out. Fortunately I found a new roommate for January: Chris O. He's just moved in, so yes, that means I've had five different roommates in the last 16 months! It's been a great learning experience adapting to each person's quirks and getting to know them so well in such a short time.

Also in December, I received three 2005 East Coast Music Award nominations. I received two nominations for Urban Single of the Year with 'Shake Ya Caboose' and 'P. Tipty.' I also received a nomination for Manager of the Year. I'm planning on attending the ECMAs, which take place in Sydney in February - I can't wait.

As well, I've kept busy with ball hockey, volleyball, Frisbee, and the Computer Science Association. I also run the Atlantic Canada hip-hop newsletter. It's definitely been a fun and rewarding year! Now, I just need to finish my thesis!

Well, that's all for this year. I hope the New Year finds you all in good health.

Troy Neilson
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