HOLR Magazine was invited on the set of The Launch Season 2 to shadow Liz Trinnear in her new role. Liz is the first person to host Canada’s newest hit-music competition TV series and we couldn’t feel more excited.
On Set in the Studio
It was only my third interview as HOLR’s Music Editor and it happened to be someone who I grew up watching. Immediately, Liz and I shared some parallels. I started my music career in 2009 at the age of 14 — the same year that Liz began her career at age 19, by beating 3999 hopefuls in MuchMusic’s VJ Search.
Starting her own career through a competition, Liz is all too familiar with the formula that The Launch uses. However, one element that didn’t exist when Liz competed, was mentorship, which The Launch has integrated more than any other series. Featured Season 2 mentors include: Bryan Adams, Sarah McLachlan, Ryan Tedder, Bebe Rexha, Jann Arden, Max Kerman, Marie-Mai and Scott Borchetta. As far as mentorship goes, there’s no denying that it’s quite the impressive list.
While Liz is a host and not a mentor on camera, behind the scenes it would be hard to find someone more fitted and committed to providing guidance to five emerging artists – and one emerging music editor.
As we arrive on set, my producer and I are greeted by Liz’s Publicist Amy who escorts us to the top floor of the CBC Building as she briefs us on Liz’s action-packed schedule. Today was ‘performance day’, shot with a live studio audience. Each episode begins with the audition and out of five artists two are chosen to perform that week’s song. Once the artist’s record the song, they perform it in front of roughly 300 fans. Shaun Frank, Jann Arden and Scott Borchetta were this week’s mentors. Shaun, who is no stranger to multi-platinum records, produced the song, which will be available everywhere once this episode airs.
We meet Liz in her hair and makeup room and she hits us with her infectious personality, as she laughs and chats along with her hair and makeup team: Lisa the Stylist, Kat the Talent Assistant, and Helen the Hair Stylist who adds, “We do so much hair we have a separate hair room!”
The Inspiration Wall in the Hair Room
We hand everyone the latest issue of HOLR Magazine and someone comments that our covergirl, Dua Lipa, was the inspiration for the artists on this episode. We join Liz’s caravan of team members, which happily continue to work as they walk along. There is no shortage of entertaining conversations, as we follow her to the dressing room where she will change into her first outfit of the day.
Earrings @ and # (designed by Jenny Bird)
Note: Liz LOVES Big Earrings
We’re invited to watch Liz conduct an interview with guest mentor and successful award-winning artist Jann Arden in the live room set. After the two women effortlessly banter and the interview ends with Liz saying, “Here’s your hammer, you just nailed it.”
As Liz takes off to change into her second outfit, we are free to roam about the set, which is also a working music studio. Once she comes out of her dressing room, we once again join the caravan.
The photographer and his assistant are ready to shoot the moment Liz arrives and they quickly jump into action. Liz takes direction while breaking into dance every chance she can. As she entertains the 10-plus crew members, she effortlessly switches her poses for the camera. Within minutes we witness not one, but three photoshoots.
Liz and I walk and talk. Sensing my anxiety, she reassures me, “It’s going to be great, don’t be nervous, it’s like we are just sitting down and talking.” We settle into the chairs in front of a massive soundboard where the show’s producers sit to record the songs in each episode. The one thing the producers tell us is, “Never touch anything on the board” which prompts us to pretend to fumble with knobs. Even though I was sweating like crazy, her genuine personality makes me feel like we’re lifelong friends. As we begin conversing about her career and the show’s hectic work schedule, my nervousness quickly begins to dissipate.
Liz: I’m not cut out for the 9 to 5 world. I love being thrown into the hurricane then coming out of it and just chilling. The MMVAs, any award shows, that’s what I love. I love working intense amount of hours under a lot of pressure and then coming out like “wow, I feel like I just got hit by a bus!”
Liz grew up in London, Ontario where she attended Regina Mundi College before enrolling in a BA, Faculty of Information and Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario.
L: When I see messages saying ‘I went to school for Media because of you,’ it’s really humbling because I am still a kid from London who was a total drama geek and just loved showing everybody new music. I think that was the most important lesson I learned in this industry – that it’s okay to be you and when you are ‘you’ that’s when you are your most comfortable and most confident. That’s when you shine. When I first started they were like, ‘Act like this! Say this! Why aren’t you dressing like this?’ I was so lost in the noise of it all I stepped away from Liz… and I came back to her. I found her, and I’m the most confident I’ve been.
She is married to Nathaniel Motte, the other half of pop-duo 3H0!3 and recently moved to LA and bought a house where they are beginning to plant their roots and turn it into a home.
L: Home is really him. He’s my place to destress, chill out and be myself. I’m really trying to ground myself, be present, and disconnect from my phone and all the crazy energy of the world. I also have been getting into some meditation apps for breathing because I am such a spastic energy and I need more than ever to focus and find my chi, you know, zen out and take a deep breath.
Liz Trinnear Instagram
Disconnecting from our mobile devices is difficult for most people, let alone an entertainment reporter on etalk. With just over 100,000 fans across her social media platforms I asked if she felt a responsibility to act a certain way online.
L: It’s definitely a responsibility but I also don’t take life that seriously. My mom’s a cancer nurse and watching her come home from work everyday after being with patients who are sick and dying and knowing their impact on her life and how much she affects their well being. ‘I’m not curing cancer.’ There’s time to be serious and make a point but I love to make people smile and laugh. Yes I love photoshoots and stuff, but I love my slippers and sweatpants just as much. And I think it’s important to show the reality of our world with my online voice. You see artists on this show say, “I’m authentic, I’m authentic” and then you get a glimpse and you’re like, ‘no sweetie, just BE authentic’. It’s so nerve-wracking to be yourself. I know what that’s like. In the beginning of my career I had to go to Second City and do improv to kind of find who I was and rediscover “who is Liz?”. I was growing up on television. I went from a girl to a woman in 299 Queen.
Liz has interviewed stars such as Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Mariah Carey, Justin Bieber, Harry Styles and Shawn Mendes. Almost all the musicians who inspired me to make music. She became one to watch with her genuine, fun presence connecting audiences with artists on Much Music. For the last three years, she has refined her role as an Etalk reporter.
L: I’ve learned through interviewing Tom Cruise, Taylor Swift and Nicole Kidman, that the bigger the star, the nicer they are. They realize you’re nervous because as an interviewer I’ve grown up watching you and listening to you — I admire you. It’s that idea that we are all human and were all trying to figure it out. We all have problems. Everyone has daily struggles. It also speaks true to why people act a certain way.
As a new interviewer who has very little experience I asked Liz some of the highlights from her interviews she’s done over the course of her career.
L: I’ve had great highs and great lows. Then I’ve had moments like with Nicole Kidman for the movie Lion. The movie is all about adoption and this beautiful gift that these parents gave this young boy. I have seven adopted kids in my family, so I shared that with her and how the movie is a love letter to those who are adopted and she opened up about her two adopted kids. We just had this really natural bond and it wasn’t about the TV or the cameras. I had four minutes with her but the four minutes we’re probably some of the most insightful minutes I’ve ever had in an interview.
L: I’ve always been a champion of emerging talent and emerging artists and that’s what this show is. From the first day I stepped on set of The Launch I was like, “Wow!” And then hearing the voices, hearing the stories, the talent, the songwriting skills — it just blows you away. I’ve been fortunate to watch Shawn Mendes, Alessia Cara, Jessie Reyez, all at the beginning of their careers, watching them take off.
When we talk about Season 2 of The Launch I notice the sparkle in her eyes as she admires each artist she has come across during filming. Similar to her journey almost 9 years ago- she is no stranger to the personal growth on a competition show.
L: It’s unbelievable seeing the growth and the transformation these artists go through. I insist that I don’t find out anything until the moment the artist finds out. It’s part of the fun, but also my heart is in my throat for them. That’s the beauty of my position on this show. I’ve been there and I’m there for them. We are all so emotionally invested in the show. We are all proud parents walking around the set. I do my best to give them as much advice on the side as I can and I also encourage them to really live this moment and this experience and not be in their head about it. That’s how you can lose who you are. It’s important to enjoy and embrace what is going on. It’s a wild journey.
L: All five of the artists from each episode are going to have incredible careers. There’s no dud in the group. This is a launch pad for all of them. There aren’t 500 artists, there are five. There’s a reason they are here. Every episode comes out and every mentor comes out like damn, you might not be right for the song, but you are a star! That’s the other thing, someone might be this unbelievable, ready-to-launch artist, but they’re just not right for the song. It’s not about your talent or your voice in this show, it’s about being right for the song.
Credit; Izzy Pugiotto
From one music lover to another I asked Liz where she goes to listen to new music.
L: I typically gravitate towards Apple. They’ve got this ‘For You’ playlist and they curate based on what you listen to and the new music that’s coming out. It’s brilliant! I’m also that obnoxious person who goes to a grocery store or a bar holding up my phone like ‘Siri who is this?’ My husband is a writer and producer and he will ask me, “Hey what do you think about this?” And I geek out. I get so excited.
L: There are a lot of reasons why my husband and I get along, but one of them is our passion for music. Watching him create and how hard it is to create and the journey – I have such an appreciation for songwriting and how a song came to where it is.
Liz’s status as a celebrity combined with her glam meets every-girl authenticity, has enabled her to collaborate with brands like Topshop and Hudson’s Bay. It’s inspiring to see her transition from Muchmusic VJ to Etalk reporter and entrepreneur.
L: I’m such a brand kid. I like fast-fashion, high-fashion and I’m always changing beauty products. I always have a new thing in my bag. I’m really into adding new tools to the toolbox. I worked with Topshop from the beginning of their time in Canada and I was so honoured at the time because I wasn’t even on a TV show regularly. They saw that I was so much the brand. I appreciate that brands come to me because I am authentically myself. That’s where I hope to see the future of influencing. I’m influenced by people who are authentic, and naturally influencing me and I hope to do the same for other people.
After we wrap up, we walk over to her dressing room while she eats before the live taping. We ask her our ‘HOLR Music questions’ as we do at the end of all of our interviews. She answers enthusiastically while playing her chosen songs and a few others she can dance too.
Hot Hit: MØ ‘Blur’
On Repeat: Robyn ‘Honey’
Left-Of-Field Song: Bryce Vine ‘Drew Barrymore’
Remember That Song:. Bryan Adams ft. Melanie C ‘When You’re Gone’
Her publicist takes us backstage as we walk behind the crowd and watch her shine on stage. We echo the same sentiments that she said to Jann Arden earlier, ‘Liz nailed it.’ After enjoying one amazing performance from Jayde, an artist I’ve had the pleasure to write with, we say our goodbyes to our new friend and HOLR girl Liz.
Interviewer and Writer: Veronica Rinomato
Story Editor: Phil Falcone
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