What a year! It's pretty incredible to think of where I was 365 days ago to where I am now. How does the song go? "Started from the bottom, now I'm here"? I couldn't have said it better myself.
I suppose an introduction is necessary before I start telling you about my journey. I'm Scott Willats, VJ and music enthusiast for MuchMusic. Growing up in Toronto, MuchMusic was my first, second, third, and last stop in terms of learning about new music.
The likes of Sook-Yin, Master T, George Strombo, Rick the Temp, Matte Babel and many more were more than television personalities to me; they were friends. OK, so maybe we weren't quite friends since we had never even met, but I felt as though they were people I could count on. They were stars to me. And every June, right around Father's Day, the premiere event in Canadian music would take place The MuchMusic Video Awards -- where the stars of the world would meet the stars of my world!
The MMVAs has showcased some of the biggest names in music performing on our very own street. (Queen St. West, that is.) From Kanye West and his daunting "Jesus Walks" to Arcade Fire bringing a marching band into the storied studio to Drake and Bieber walking the red carpet together, it's a night that never ceases to impress. This year promises to be no different, and I'm a part of it!
Last year at this time I was halfway into my audition with MuchMusic to become a VJ. One audition in January: I'm feeling confident. Another in February: I feel even better. No response in March? Ok, I'm a little jittery. A call in April: phew! I'm still on their radar. Then a complete pause from May to July: anxiety city! During that three-month break, I would drive past the MuchMusic Headquarters at 299 Queen St. West, and see the team there turn a parking lot into a stage that anyone from Lady Gaga to Madonna would be proud of.
I would always catch myself daydreaming while I glared at the stage: could I possibly be one of those VJs who gets to stand in front of thousands of people on the streets and millions of people at home watching on their TVs? Naw, that only happens in the movies. Or does it?
Fast-forward a year later and here I am about to co-host with my lovely partner in crime, Lauren Toyota, and Korean Superstar PSY. Unreal! And what a show to lose my MMVA virginity to as well: Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Demi Lovato, Phillip Phillips, Armin van Buuren, the list goes on. This promises to be a night to remember.
Only at MuchMusic could you gain this type of responsibility in such a short time. Many people might say there is a sink or swim mentality when dealing with their on-air hosts, but I beg to differ. In our environment at MuchMusic, people believe in you and give you the opportunities to let you start believing in yourself. That's why the audition process took so long. They wanted to make sure I was able to handle the pressures and hustle and bustle of being a VJ. Once you walk in that door, the company vouches for you. They stand behind you 100 percent and let you prove on a daily basis why you -- or me, in this scenario -- is the best person to do this job.
And I look forward to proving them right yet again when the MuchMusic Video Awards air 9EST/6PST, Sunday, June 16th.
It's been busy, to say the least, but this is the schedule I crave. Everything from radio and television interviews, photo shoots, wardrobe fittings, rehearsals, promo, and meetings. (A lot of meetings have filled my month!) It can be a tad fatiguing, but when you're in dire need for a coffee, the simple thought of working on this historical event gives you an immediate adrenaline rush that no Red Bull or espresso could match.
In my opinion, Toronto has a special feel on three occasions. The Toronto International Film Festival, a massive sporting event like The Grand Prix, and the MMVAs. It's a time when citizens of the city become tourist-like. They stop in front of our office and take pictures of the construction. Every club in the city welcomes the hottest stars from around the world into their venues as people jam in like sardines.
And above all, our eyes are glued to the TV on Sunday night. The city and country takes pride in this night. And this year my eyes will be glued on you as I get to accomplish a dream of mine.
I. Can't. Wait.
Follow Scott Willats on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ScottyWillats