When you first hear Tori Hathaway’s voice, you’ll have trouble believing that something so sweet can come out of someone so young. Like the most seasoned performer ten years her senior, Hathaway can grab your attention and keep you mesmerized as though she were born to be on stage. At only 16 years old, Hathaway has been performing for most of her life and just released her debut full length album ‘Dear Diary.’
Hathaway’s release party on June 30th was to an impressively packed house at the Barrie Loft Art Space. Filled with dedicated fans screaming her name, she proved her talent extends beyond the stage and into the business of music. She is a social media whiz, who is exuberant and outgoing with her ever growing online fan base. Continually keeping them in the loop with fresh content and fun updates Hathaway has managed to score herself a legion of dedicated young followers who hang off of every word, and wait excitedly to meet the singer after her shows.
Dear Diary is a collection of co-written songs that truly paint the picture of Hathaway’s exciting, yet relatable life. Her ability to write content that is emotional and full of insight is impressive, and her energy on the record, as well as live is uncomprable. Hathaway admits that the process of putting a stage show together isn’t always easy. She spends hours working with her band and practicing live choreography as well as crowd interaction and works frequently with the team at Tom Jackson Music to perfect every minute of the show into memorable takeaways the crowd won’t forget.
If you’re wondering how she picked the title? It was pretty easy, says Hathaway, “‘Dear Diary’ felt like a great way to pull together the album as one cohesive thought. The songs are like a diary or journal entry, so it feels very much like a reflection of some reoccurring themes for the last two years of my life.
Recorded at Noble Street studios with producer Doug Romanow, the album is masterfully done and a true respresentation of Hathaway as an artist. Reflecting on the process of recording and how a great prodcuer can help shape your sound, she says, “Doug and I have been working together for the last three years, and he has been a great mentor, as well as understating where I am coming from with my music. He took the time to build a relationship with me, and has helped me make an album that I will be proud of forever. He helped me define my sound, gave me lots of options, and explained things really well.”
As a testament to the truly supportive grant system we have in this province, Hathaway’s album was made possible by FACTOR, a private non-profit organization dedicated to providing assistance toward the growth and development of the Canadian music industry. The foundation administers contributions from private radio broadcasters as well as two components of the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Canada Music Fund. Hathaway was lucky enough to be one of the independent artists that scored support for her project, and has plenty of positive things to say about her experience with the program.
“I was totally blown away to be a recipient of FACTOR support. A lot of jumping around and screaming was involved! I applied a number of times, and constantly worked hard to improve the overall application to get it to advance. I feel that FACTOR support is really helpful for emerging artists because once you are selected, it is a symbol of a very high artistic and commercial potential given that it’s a jury-selected program with very high standards. The funding support ensures that my artistic vision can be produced and developed to achieve a very high-quality professional product that can compete not only nationally but internationally which will help any artist take their career to the next level. The support also helps foster new commercial relationships as well.”
Hathaway doesn’t doesn’t always hit the stage for the fun of it either- she frequently dedicates herself to using her skills for good cause. At age thirteen she raised over $10,000 for Habitat for Humanity-Huronia, producing a two-hour live variety show featuring her own original music, two guest-artists and a five-piece band. She continues to work with and support causes that are close to her heart, while growing her branding and artistry as an individual. Hathaway is a graduate of the Summer Company program in 2014, and now participates in the Strategic Community Entrepreneurship Program through the YMCA, buidling her business from the ground up. In addition she is a recipient of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation’s Young Arts Entrepreneur Program funding.
When we asked Hathaway about her clear love for music, she explained why it has such a big place in her heart. “Music brings out the best in me. It makes me happy, and I feel fully alive when listening to or creating music! It can take you on an emotional adventure and make you feel something. Music gives me the ability to write what I can’t say to someone, and gives me an outlet for my emotions,” says Hathaway.
She will be showcasing her latest material during Canadian Country Music Week at the Sirroma Entertainment Diamonds in the Rough Showcases on Friday Sept 11th, 1:30pm at Delta Halifax. Be sure to catch her there or visit her website to sign up for her mailing list (which scores you 7 free tunes) and pick up you copy of Dear Diary today!