John Dorsch: An exclusive with the inspirational musician

by | Sep 7, 2023

Meet John Dorsch

John Dorsch grew up in the Ottawa Valley, Ontario, Canada. At a young age he studied trumpet and accordion. At the age of 12 he began playing guitar.  He became very good at learning notes, solos and songs by ear using pennies to slow down vinyl records.  John is also retired police officer and father of 3 children.  John Dorsch continued performing in bands during span of his 31 year career as a police officer. John now performs in a fingerstyle pop/rock acoustic duet singing lead. His focus is now on his song-writing blending acoustic fingerstyle guitar and electric guitar.

The Sound of John Dorsch

1 In Music: What is unique about you and your music?

John Dorsch [JD]: My music is diverse drawing on my many musical elements and influences.  However, my music seems to fit best in the category of, “Inspirational Pop Rock”.  Instrumentally, I blend acoustic and fingerstyle guitar approaches with electric guitar, pop, blues and rock band ideas.  Vocally, I gravitate to strong melodies and harmonies.  My lyrics are filled with positive messages and hope.  I am striving for originality in my modern compositions melodies and musical arrangements without adhering to a singular genre. I write my music to be moving, memorable and joyous.

1 In Music: What or who shaped your music and who supports you?

John Dorsch Cropped JD Db centre of guitarsJD: I saw the Great Tommy Emmanuel live for the first time in Quebec City in 2012 accompanied by Frank Vignolo and Vinny Raniolo in an acoustic “Gypsy Jazz” band format.  I was playing in a Gypsy Jazz band performing Django Reinhardt standards at the time.  I was so inspired by Tommy Emmanuel’s playing and meeting him for the first time after his show.  He was so encouraging, humble and such a gentleman.  I bought his instructional videos and delved deeply into his intense fingerstyle playing and I have performed many of his songs.  His playing inspires and touches me on a spiritual level.  I have attended two of his guitar camps and had several conversations with him.  His guidance and influence has profoundly shaped my playing.

My wife Dani Baribeau is my rock and main supporter.  She helps produce my music and performs with me.  She is amazing.

1 In Music: When did you realize you were going to make music professionally?

JD: I am not sure that ever really happened, LOL! All of a sudden I found myself doing just that.  In 2020 my bands all evaporated and there was no place to perform.  It seemed like a great idea at the time to finally record and get right down in to song writing.  For me I built my studio at home in 2020.  2021 I recorded my entire ELEVATiON album myself and played nearly all the instruments, electric, bass and acoustic guitars, and vocals.  It was instense creativity and I loved it.  The whole process was all encompassing, and rewarding.  Then it came time to mix and master it in 2022/2023 and put it out.  Now there is no going back, only more new music to come.  I am very thankful to have this experience.

John Dorsch’s inspirations

1 In Music: What type of music do you listen to?

John Dorsch [JD]: All kinds, Pop, Rock, Country, Blues, Jazz, the great guitar innovators like Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Django Reinhardt, Tommy Emmanuel, you name it, just about anything that catches my ear with a melody.

1 In Music: Who, to you, is the most undervalued music artist?

JD: John Mayer is a wealth of great song writing, technique, individuality, vocal style, improvisation, mostly known in guitar circles.

1 In Music: How do you prepare for your performances?

JD: Rehearsals! leading up to the day of performance.  Vocal warm up and 4 or 5 songs on the day of a show.  I meditate and practise yoga to keep my mind calm and free of anxiety.  I like to have things run on idle most of the time, having a repertoire near ready.  My new ELEVATiON Album took much more preparation for live performance.  The songs are deep on technique and it took a month to draft up the arrangements for all 15 of the songs for my live acoustic “Coffee-house” fingerstyle performance in a duet with my wife Dani Baribeau.  She sings in harmony with me and plays a djembe and percussion.  It took another month to work them to performance level. I eat, sleep and exercise regularly and take care of my body.

Getting inspired by John Dorsch

Speed is a product of accuracy

John Dorsch 2023 05 25 _121247

1 In Music: What do you do when you don’t do music (creative or otherwise) and that you are passionate about?

John Dorsch [JD]: I like traveling to different countries and experiencing new cultures.  My wife and I have been wintering away to new places the last few years.  The new experiences are inspiring and feed my music and soul.

1 In Music: Success to you is…?

JD: My idea of success is being proud of my works, such as my new album ELEVATiON. It was a labour of love.  I feel great joy in the completion of the album that took 2 years to make.  Being able to actually write my own music in my own style is important to me.  I have always wanted to be myself and attain a level of mastery over playing, performing and composing.  I feel that I have reached a level in music I feel good about.  I want my music to reach to people and move them.

1 In Music: What do you wish you were told when you started out and that you think would help anyone who starts out?


Rely on yourself not others.  Just about everyone lets you down at one time or another, fails to come through, or says they will do something and just don’t ever do what they say.

It’s like people tell you what they wish would happen but then never really commit to it.  I can only rely on myself to finish things.  That is why I played most of the parts on ELEVATiON.  Go easy on yourself especially when learning new ideas, techniques or songs.  Speed is a product of accuracy. Quality takes time and be patient, practise accuracy and slowly at first or you will be practising making mistakes.  Learning anything new always feels awkward and uncomfortable.  I learned that this feeling is perfectly normal, and disappears after a short time of practise.  You develop muscle memory just like lyric memory, audible memory and visual memory. Talent is one thing – one’s ability to learn.  But, on top of that you must have a never ending dedication and commitment to learning the musical craft, and the other aspects such as record producing, marketing, performing, song writing etc.  The whole music industry topic was far deeper than I first thought. Dive in and don’t be afraid.

What is next for John Dorsch?

1 In Music: Any upcoming projects?

John Dorsch [JD]: I have a raft of new song ideas and lyrics I will be working over the fall and winter, hopefully shaping up another album.

1 In music: Thank you! Don’t leave us without any idea where to find your music!

JD: On my website at Search John Dorsch – Artist, and the ELEVATiON album on Spotify, Apple Music and deezer streaming.  Also on my John Dorsch on YouTube channel and Facebook page