Dragon’s Den a test of Endurance

Endurance was part of a recent pitch to CBC’s Dragon’s Den – an episode that airs Oct. 31 at 8 p.m.

Teen band Endurance rocks out with Dragon’s Den star Kevin O’Leary during a taping of the show.

Kevin O’Leary of Dragon’s Den fame is actually quite nice, according to Blake Smith-Daniels.

It would be fair to wonder how the 12-year-old from Oak Bay comes by that information and the answer is simple, Blake, along with the rest of the band, Endurance, were part of a recent pitch to CBC’s Dragon’s Den – an episode that airs Oct. 31 at 8 p.m.

Blake is the youngest member of the rock and roll/blues band, but it’s not as though the other members of the band, Blake’s brother Brett, 17, Michael Tessier, 16, and Trevor Kidd, 17, are old-timers. All of them are still in school and live in the Greater Victoria area. All but Trevor attend either Oak Bay High or Monterey Middle school in Oak Bay. Trevor, a proud Saanich resident attends Mount Doug.

The group is well-known in the Victoria area and are regulars at venues like the Fernwood Inn and Lucky Bar – in 2012 they won the CRD’s Battle of the Bands.

Beyond its youthful success, Endurance has always been a band with a difference. The teens believe that their talent should be used to help others. That commitment to helping others also led them to audition to appear on Dragon’s Den.

“We were terrified,” said Kidd. “We got up at 5 a.m. and were literally shaking as we got ready to perform for the Dragons. We were confident about the music, but the business pitch was a lot tougher.”

The band’s pitch to the dragons would see Endurance establish their own ethical record label. That label that would handle not only their own music but would also seek to promote other young Canadian talent.

“There are lots of talented kids out there,” said Brett. “It would be great to open doors for other young musicians and create a bigger, different music scene. There are a lot of like-minded kids out there.”

The ethical part of the band’s plan would see the label structured as a social enterprise with a portion of profits going to help charities like Free the Children or SOS Children’s Villages Canada.

Both the Smith-Daniels brothers have a strong commitment to charitable movements, even outside the band. Blake is a member of Monterey school’s We to Me group and Brett has been actively involved in fund raising for Cops for Cancer and Free the Children.

Entering the Dragon’s Den was a far more frightening experience than any they’d ever endured, and they weren’t sure that their good intentions would carry the day.

“He was not at all what I expected,” said Blake of their encounter with O’Leary. “He’s actually sort of a tame dragon. At the end of taping he came out and jammed with us. He’s a pretty decent musician.”

Although the band is contractually restricted from releasing any information about the outcome of their proposal to the dragons, the experience has both energized the group and reinforced their commitment to use their talent for something other than making money.

“I want to be a musician,” said Blake. “But I also want to make a difference.”

Just Posted

Major expansion coming to Royal Bay Secondary

Province will build space for 600 more students on same site

At the age of 95, local bowler shows no signs of slowing down

Olive Olmsted has bowled for more than 55 years

Colwood wins Victoria Flower Count for a five-peat

The 43rd annual Flower Count had over three billion blossoms counted in total

Royal Bay junior boys bring back lacrosse banner

The Ravens sent three teams to the provincial championships

Langford fundraiser for kidney disease is a success

Maureen Hobbs thinks B.C. Transplant says it best: “Live life. Pass it on.”

Celebrating our transit drivers on their day

March 18 is International Transit Driver Appreciation Day

Canadian Paralympic team picked up record 28 medals

The 55 athletes strong had set a cautious goal of 17 medals for PyeongChang

Canadian comic Mike MacDonald dies at 63

Ottawa-born comedian had performed on David Letterman

Women’s Expo seeks to empower women this weekend

Victoria Women’s Expo set for Saturday and Sunday at Pearkes Recreation Centre

B.C. VIEWS: Speculation tax, cabin tax or asset tax?

Targeting empty homes seems confused and ineffective

Inspections, training needed to prevent repeat of Fernie ammonia leak across B.C.

Ammonia is inherently dangerous and should be not used in skating and curling rinks, says one expert

LETTER: Lowered voting age would engage youth in political process

Saanich high school student supports giving a vote to 16-year-olds

RCMP move to arrest pipeline protesters at entrance to Trans Mountain work site

28 demonstrators began blocking the entrance to Kinder Morgan’s work site at about 10 a.m. Saturday

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

Most Read