When it comes to these modern rockers, it’s all about positivity. Since their inception in 2007, Icon For Hire have eagerly promoted a message of freedom and self-empowerment, making them a relatable act for music fans looking for something to identify with. Composed of singer Ariel Bloomer and guitarist Shawn Jump, the duo combines heavy riffs and inspiring lyrics meant to challenge the current rock status quo.

It’s an exciting time for the group with the release of their brand new record Amorphous due on February 19th. The album was completely funded by fans who generously donated over 200,000 dollars through a Kickstarter campaign, which far surpassed even Bloomer and Jump’s wildest expectations. Feeling confident and self-assured, Icon For Hire are ready to emerge as one of 2021’s most exciting acts.

Speaking of positivity, Icon For Hire is all about finding one’s own, inner happiness; that thing that will leave you feeling fulfilled. In a special Guest Blog, Bloomer joins us to offer us her ideas on joy hunting and some of the simpler things in life that make her feel good.

Joy-Hunting.

“Joy is one of my very favourite parts of being alive. Joy resonates with every cell in our body because it is our original state, what we were created to feel and to live in. I actually think it’s probably everybody’s favourite thing; they just maybe haven’t given it that name yet.

It took me too long to learn where to find joy, but now that I know where she hides, I can find her everywhere.

One of the reasons it took me so long was because its simplicity kept tripping me up. When I finally realized where joy lives, I was actually sort of disappointed. I genuinely thought that joy lived on the other side of achieving your goals and dreams for your life, which, if you’re most of us, consists of being rich and famous. Turns out, joy doesn’t live on the other side of anything. It lives here. In fact, if you can’t feel joy where you are, you won’t feel it when you get your life together and accomplish your dreams, either.

Joy, I have learned, lives in the simplest of things. In these tiny little moments hidden in a million places throughout the day. That’s why I was a little taken aback; I wanted joy to be flashier, more glamorous. But the good news about its simplicity is its accessibility; anybody that wants to can have it, right now.

Joy lives in places that seem silly to the hardened soul. You have to have an open, soft heart to find her, and I think the softer your heart gets, the more easily you’ll see her.

Artwork for ‘Amorphous’ by Icon For Hire

After I realized that joy lives in simple, easy things, I started keeping a list of places to find her so I wouldn’t get confused again if I ever forgot. I am always on the lookout for new things to add, as I keep discovering joy in more and more places.

I like to think of these things as old people things, because old people have this stuff figured out. When I was a kid, I didn’t understand the value of any of this; I wanted to watch TV and eat Swiss Cake Rolls. But old people could sit on a porch and watch a pie cool and be happy. That’s the stuff I’m talking about.

Here’s a list of experiences where I’m pretty certain joy likes to hide:

• Eating a ripe strawberry in the summer sunshine that you picked yourself.
• Wrapping a baby in a blanket and smelling her forehead and kissing her cheeks.
• Gathering around people you love at the winter holidays.
• Enjoying an amazing homemade meal with your friends.
• Making art from your soul and sharing it with others.
• A September walk among fall leaves while wearing your favourite scarf.
• Noticing and appreciating flowers as they start to bloom in spring.
• Moving your body in a fresh new way at yoga.
• Your favourite hot drink in a buzzing coffee shop in your favorite part of town.
• Curling up with a novel on the porch while smelling the lilac blooms around you.

See what all this stuff has in common?

It’s all really simple, affordable stuff. It’s actually kind of… normal. And if this list didn’t exactly sweep you off your feet to go on a nature walk, I don’t blame you. It’s taken me a long time to connect to these easy, almost cliché things as actual pathways to joy. All I can say is this: Don’t resist. Joy lives in the simple things, and we tend to brush past simple things all the time in our busy modern lives.

My most authentic and enjoyable moments of joy usually come from three places: people, nature, and food. Oh yeah, and one more, art. Art is a real source of joy, too. So, I guess a good word to sum up where joy comes from is “creation,” in every sense of the word.

Maybe you don’t believe me. Maybe your experience is that joy actually lives in cool, big moments like getting a new job, or shopping sprees, or winning backstage passes to see your favourite band. And that’s awesome, let yourself feel the excitement of those things. But I’d be hesitant to limit myself to thinking that joy primarily lives in that big, shiny stuff, because that’s not everyday life for most of us. That adrenaline rush, that euphoric high of a new and exciting adventure, yeah, it’s awesome, but not exactly the same as joy.

When I was a little kid, every once in a great while we’d get to go to Chuck-E- Cheese on a class trip. I lived for those days. Or my birthday? Highlight of the freaking year. And that’s totally cool; I’m glad I had fun and exciting events in my young life, but there were a lot of other cool sources of joy in between those big events that I didn’t even consider until later.

Now I know better, and it’s made all the difference. There is joy to be found in all sorts of places throughout my day, and I serve myself well by honouring and recognizing them instead of diminishing them because they don’t release buckets of endorphins all at once.

A good life is one that’s full of precious, tiny moments, all day long. That still blows my mind. I am much more naturally inclined to think that a good life should mean getting ahead and being super successful at what you set out to do. If a good life is defined by enjoying simple moments, that means that the hippie drifter who crashes on friends’ couches has just as good of a shot at joy as, say, Katy Perry.

Not fair, right? What’s even more unfair is that that guy probably has even more of a chance at finding joy since his life is by definition simpler and slower than Katy’s. She will probably have to work twice as hard to and moments of stillness and simplicity in which to feel joy as he will.

Start looking for these moments. Find your thing. Be on the lookout every day for small, simple moments of joy. Start keeping a list in your journal or on your phone of what makes you happy, even if it’s not these little, simple things at first; you’ll get the hang of it. Take the time to notice the pretty coffee art in your cappuccino mug and let your senses experience that first sip for all the wonder it contains. Open your blinds slowly, with intention, and soak in the sunlight for a second or two each morning. If it’s raining, close your eyes and savour the sound of the drops. Don’t write this stuff off! It is seriously these little moments of noticing that have made my life exponentially more joyful rather than the big successes and strides.

There is more than enough joy to go around. Joy self-multiplies, so be selfish and lean into joy.

Take as much as you want.”

Publisher, CEO, and Co-Founder - Born in 2003, V13 was a socio-political website that, in 2005, morphed into PureGrainAudio and spent 15 years developing into one of Canada (and the world’s) leading music sites. On the eve the site’s 15th anniversary, a full re-launch and rebrand takes us back to our roots and opens the door to a full suite of Music, Film, TV, and Cultural content.