Top News

Alan Doyle getting accolades for new music video of his song ‘Beautiful to Me’

Alan Doyle is getting a lot of positive feedback for the video of his song “Beautiful to Me,” written two years ago, in response to U.S. legislation that targeted members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Alan Doyle is getting a lot of positive feedback for the video of his song “Beautiful to Me,” written two years ago, in response to U.S. legislation that targeted members of the LGBTQ+ community. - Submitted

Alan Doyle doesn’t consider his new music video to be just a music video. At least, not the kind everyone is used to.
It’s a project, he says, to show the beauty of people.
“All people,” he stresses. “And this song and video are both primarily a message from me to everyone that my concerts are open to all with love in their hearts.”
The song, “Beautiful to Me,” was written two years ago in response to legislation tabled in the United States that targeted members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“What would become known as the ‘Bathroom Bill’ seemed so regressive to me and so unnecessarily and unfairly aimed at a part of our population, that I felt I needed to make a statement of some kind in their defence,” Doyle says of the song, adding that he wanted the community — and everyone — to know he believes people have the right to be their true selves, and welcomes them at his shows.
“Their whole selves. I want everyone to feel comfortable and be their happiest selves, and whatever gender, sexual preference, colour, race or creed is welcomed and encouraged as far as I’m concerned.”
Doyle partnered with The Magic Project, a Halifax-based activism/art group aimed at challenging stereotypes while increasing the visibility of marginalized people, to release “Beautiful to Me’ last Tuesday online (viewable on Doyle’s website, So far, it has earned him some beautiful feedback.
“So many open eyes and arms and hearts in response to the new video,” he tweeted Friday afternoon.
Doyle has earned all kinds of positive feedback over the past few months, having released both a new album and a new book. While he was nervous when his memoir, “Where I belong” (now a bestseller) hit the shelves in 2015, this time around, with “A Newfoundlander in Canada,” he’s a little more chill.
“I don’t mind going around telling the stories,” he explains. “Book events are fun. Like concerts in a way, except you don’t sing as many songs.”
Like the first book, Doyle says he didn’t have a plan for this one, but just started writing about the first moments of Great Big Sea and some of their first trips across the country. He quickly realized the travel parts were the most fun to write. He got to thinking it might be kind of cool to share the story of how he — as a first-generation Canadian, since his parents were born before Confederation — discovered Canada.
“My parents were born in a different country. They didn’t know anything about Canada, never hardly met anyone from there. I sounded more like the Clancy Brothers records than I sounded like anyone from Canada,” Doyle says.
“The other thing is, when I finally did get to discover anything about Canada, I did it out the window of a band van, which is a strange lens to see anything in, but a fun one. Once I got rolling on it, I figured it would be a cool way to explain how Canada was introduced to me — first impressions of the place and a few funny road stories from each province, because God knows there’s enough of that.”
Take his first time visiting Charlottetown, for example, and realizing it wasn’t at all like St. John’s. The streets make too much sense there, for one, all parallel and perpendicular and easy to navigate. Here, he says, the streets are like somebody dumped a bottle of mayonnaise down over the hill.
Doyle writes equally about the things he learned about Newfoundland from being on the road, and the experiences he had on the mainland that led him to see his home province in a new light.
“I use the example of how I’ve walked around Signal Hill hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of times, and I’ve always thought it was kind of a steep hill, but whatever, I’m from Petty Harbour and there’s hills everywhere. I remember flying back home from the prairies and looking at the back of Signal Hill and seeing the steps going up and going, God, it looks like the Great Wall of China all of a sudden. I understand now why people think that’s incredible.
“That’s sort of a different brushstroke, that’s a geographical one, but there were others, musical ones or opinions that I thought were set in stone that probably shouldn’t be. That’s one of the best things about travelling. You come back and you’ve learned something that makes you think about your own backyard slightly differently. If you’re lucky, it makes it better.”
There’s talk of a Book 3, Doyle says, adding he doesn’t have a clue yet what it would be. He has thought about going backwards and writing about the Doyles in Ireland and how they made their way to Petty Harbour, but he hasn’t seriously contemplated it yet. One could forgive him, since he’s been on the road pretty much non-stop, especially since his latest album, “A Week at the Warehouse” dropped in October. Recorded a year ago in Vancouver with his band (Cory Tetford, Kendel Carson, Todd Lumley, Shehab Illyas and Kris MacFarlane), the album showcases an eclectic mix of influences, from Celtic to rock to country.
There are also some songs Doyle calls “personal and special” on the album, including “Somewhere in a Song,” his nod to his parents and their ability to raise a family without much luxury but an abundance of the things that really matter.
And then there’s “Beautiful to Me.”
The album is intended to be a representation, Doyle explains, of what an Alan Doyle concert looks like these days.
“All I ever wanted was for this to be my job,” he says. “It’s an excellent job. It’s a big job. People buy a concert ticket five or six months in advance, get babysitters, travel and get hotel rooms in some cases to come out. That’s a big contract to make with people. They’re giving me their night, and guaranteed, they’re getting my night back, I tell you that.”
Some of the dates on Doyle’s “Come Out With Me” tour have sold out months in advance. He’ll play shows across Canada and the northern United States for the time being, and reckons it will be the summer before we can expect to take in a concert in St. John’s.
Between all that, a couple of movie roles he’s been asked to take on, and reaching unofficial Canadian treasure status with his appearance on “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” — “There’s no indication in the world that you’ve made it more than Mark Critch doing an impression of you,” he says, laughing — Doyle has been having a time. Just don’t ask him what he’s got left on his bucket list.
“A bucket list. What a terrible thing to have,” he says. “What if you find yourself in your last hours and you haven’t done anything on your list? Worse again, what if you have? It’s a lose-lose. I don’t want to pine for things instead of what’s in front of me.”
Twitter: @tara_bradbury

Recent Stories