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Joe Bowden: Master of Reinvention

One of the most rewarding things about careers in the arts is how well they lend themselves to diversification; artists work with a broad range of collaborators and organizations on wildly different projects and continuously explore new ways of expressing their craft. Humber’s own Joe Bowden—program assistant to Acting for Film and Television, Theatre Arts – Performance and Theatre Arts – Production programs—is one of these masters of reinvention. We spoke to the 2003 Humber Music grad via email to find out more about his career since graduating.


Releasing my second original music project has afforded me the opportunity to work with international artists, such as Manuel Valera. Thank You For Listening is a collection of songs written from the heart. The compositions are extracted from my everyday experiences. They also show influences from my past musical peers/mentors, such as Herbie Hancock, Grover Washington, Charles Mingus, Harvey Mason, and Bob James to name just a few. The compositions on Thank You For Listening were written for the times that they were created, thus displaying an evolution of my composition ability alongside the talent and the stellar line-up of musicians that make these compositions come alive.

When listening to Thank You For Listening, I hope people can feel the passion and dedication that I have for the music that lives within me and that it helps them tap into their own passions and dreams. If you take anything away from listening to this project/CD/my music, I hope it is that I appreciate each and every person who supports my projects and the work of our local musicians.

The African Nova Scotian Music Association recognized me with the 2018 Pioneer Award for my contributions to the Canadian Music Industry and for paving the way for future African Nova Scotian Artists. I was also recently featured in Metro News, The Chronicle Herald and interviewed on CBC Montreal's Homerun.


I produced my debut recording in 2012 (Voices In My Head), as well as my jazz group, The Timeless Quartet’s, recording called Timeless Classics; co-produced DJB Sessions Volume One for my good friend David Soulfingaz Williams; raised funds for a perpetual scholarship at Humber College; became the musical co-ordinator for N’awlins Jazz Bar where I have been performing every Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the last fourteen years; and created a play based on the lives of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.


My return to Humber in 1998 was with focus and the drive to re-invent myself in a way that I would succeed in the music business.

I completed my diploma and then a music degree. Then I moved into the business program and completed Business Management and Business Administration diplomas so I would have a good handle on the business side of music. Being a work-study student when the research for Humber Music’s first degree program was under way, and working under Cathy Mitro and Nancy Burt, helped prepare me for the role of a Humber employee and a bandleader.

Hear Joe’s music at or by following him on Soundcloud. You can also follow him on Twitter @NUNURBYZNYZ or on Instagram @jojobowdendrummer.

“[Joe Bowden] deserves endless praise and respect for his brilliant work as composer, drummer, arranger and bandleader in his latest release… His music here is driven by a mature understanding of jazz style, rhythms, and awe-inspiring musicianship.”

- The Whole Note on Joe Bowden’s Thank You For Listening