Peter Katz Benefits From Hard Work and The Help of Friends

This Saturday, singer-songwriter Peter Katz will come to Meaford Hall for the second in the Gallery Concert Series.  The six-event series, which has been arranged to allow the hall to continue to provide good quality entertainment while the balcony is under renovation, is proving to be a great success, selling out fast.

Peter Katz has performed with a number of the artists who have graced the stage at the Opera House this year, including Dan Mangan, Joel Plaskett and Bahamas.  He has collaborated on projects with Royal Wood and academy award winner Glen Hansard.  His 2010 studio record First of the Last to Know debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes singer-songwriter charts and he tours constantly in Canada, Europe and the U.S.

In 2012 a Juno nomination for Music DVD of The Year took him completely by surprise.  It was for a video called Peter Katz and Friends Live At The Music Gallery of a live CD release concert for that same album.

Both the DVD and the CD represented a classic case of getting by “with a little help from my friends”. Tim Martin and his production company Frameblender filmed the show and edited the whole concert for free while his friend Scott Cooper mixed the album, and sister-in-law Gabrielle Raill did the graphic design also for free.  Among the musical community there are many people who are willing to help out when they see an artist who not only has the talent but the work ethic to become successful and this is an excellent example of that kind of peer support.

In 2015 his collaboration with Royal Wood resulted in a song called “Brother”, another great success that climbed to the top of the weekly CBC Radio’s 2 Top 20 Countdown.  As he told Ryerson’s Eye Opener, this success also took him by surprise:  “We just locked ourselves in a room and wrote ‘Brother’ in an afternoon. There were no release plans for that song at the time. It was just a little track that we were putting together for the tour. We did this live video of it where people really reacted positively. They began to request it at our tours and we also became really great friends.”

Katz credits his time at Ryerson as being instrumental in his pursuit of a career in music.  While a student there he regularly performed at open mic nights at the campus pub Ram in the Rye.   He composed a song called The Fence for a theatre school production.  It was a song that imagined the experience of Matthew Sheppard, a student in Laramie, Wyoming who was tied to a fence and left to die because he was gay.   The song and his performance were so well received that his professor encouraged him to pursue a career in music.  That was all the impetus he needed, after regularly investing up to eighty hours a week honing his craft.  One of his proudest career moments was when he was able to play the song at York University before Matthew Sheppard’s mother spoke there.

The telling of powerful stories is an important element in his success.  His song “Oliver’s Tune” pays tribute to the late Oliver Schroer, the highly respected Canadian violinist who, diagnosed with leukemia, decided to play one final concert a month before he died.

A quote from one of his press releases provides an inspirational bit of advice to any aspiring creative artist:

“If you want to make something that’s like nothing you’ve made before, then you have to shake yourself up, go beyond what’s comfortable and known and let yourself feel disoriented, overwhelmed, even intimidated. Those moments, where you lose your bearings, where you’re forced to sink or swim, are the moments where you have an opportunity to rise to the occasion, to surprise yourself, to do the things you didn’t know you could do”.

The show on Saturday night begins at 8:00 in the Gallery of Meaford Hall, with caberet style seating.  Tickets, if you can still get them, are $25.

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2 Responses to Peter Katz Benefits From Hard Work and The Help of Friends

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