“We need leaders who are fearless.”– Warren Dean Flandez
Warren Dean Flandez was born in Yellowknife, which he describes as ‘the coldest place on Earth.’ He then went on to live in Edmonton and Vancouver, he remembers the cold, and he also remembers the music.
“There was always music spinning in our household, and it’s been a big part of my life ever since.” When Warren was 15, he was diagnosed with asthma and someone told him to try voice lessons to help improve his lung capacity. He started taking lessons and discovered he loved singing. “My first vocal coach told me I was awful and that I should stop and try something different. It’s horrible that they can do that – break your spirit. I hit a crossroads – do I give up, like so many people do, or say screw it and follow through.”
Warren’s love of music persevered and has continued to hold a powerful place in his life. Upon moving to Vancouver without having many friends, he thinks he could have fallen into depression had it not been for music. “That summer, I joined a choir. Music saved me in a lot of ways.”
Warren started singing professionally. Despite the fact that it is not always smooth sailing in this industry, he couldn’t imagine doing anything else. “I’ve been dropped, albums have been shelved, it’s been an insane ride. I’ve had so many highs and lows in my career, and I just kept dusting myself off and trying again after every fall.”
That was his inspiration when he launched Studio Cloud 30, a music school for novice and professional musicians. Within four months of launching the school, he had outgrown his space. Eight years later, he has three locations around Greater Vancouver, countless instructors and students, and a message that music is medicine. “People come to us for so many different reasons. They might have dreams of being a pop star or they might be suffering from PTSD, they might be going through a divorce or be on the autism spectrum. We know that music and songwriting can be very therapeutic.”
A few years ago, Warren became a father and thought that he might stop playing music professionally. Instead, he followed his heart and found his way back to the music that first inspired him as a musician.
“My wife inspired me to go back to my gospel roots, and so I did an independent, self-released gospel crossover album. The response was insane!”
As an artist, Warren believes that none of this would have been possible without the support of organizations like Creative BC. “Creative BC has been incredible. The music industry can change like the wind, and Creative BC gives you the flexibility you need. Dates get pushed, the climate changes, you don’t get the producer you wanted – things change. Yet, they are supportive of the journey, not of a singular outcome.”
Warren truly believes that music is for everyone. “My music falls between so many different sounds. There’s a mixed bag of influences, combined with my ethnicity or cultural ambiguity, and it’s been a blessing and a curse. For years, no one got me, but I’m excited to see the music industry coming back to appreciate music from the soul, music you can feel.”