Five Questions With Heather Christine

Mississauga, ON-based award-winning jazz artist Heather Christine has unveiled her new track, “Love at Christmastime”. Heather is accompanied by some of Canada’s top jazz musicians: Mark Kelso on percussion, Pat Collins on bass, Anthony Panacci on piano, Brian O’Kane on trumpet, and Donovan Locke on guest vocals.

“Deep in my heart I know you’re the one for me
This holiday I know it’s meant to be 
For once in my life I find a love at Christmastime
For once in my life I know love’s here to stay”

“Love at Christmastime” is written by Heather Christine and Eddy Ruyter, produced by Anthony Panacci, mastered by Reuben Ghose, and vocal arrangement by Justin Bacchus.

Check out “Love at Christmastime” below and find out more about Heather via our Five Questions With segment.

Care to introduce yourself to our readers?

My name is Heather Christine and I am a Mississauga based Singer/Songwriter, Entertainer and Arts Administrator. I am an absolute musical nut who grew up singing in musicals and bands as well as training as a dancer and actor. I cut my teeth in the business as a teenager as a musical theatre performer dancing in shows at Canada’s Wonderland. Eventually I found my way as a Professional Vocalist and Bandleader.

I am the Great-Grandchild of Jimmy Kerr who was a Scottish Bandleader, Saxophonist, Clarinetist and Arranger. Great Grandpa played with the likes of Jazz Legends including Charlie Parker, Max Roach, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie. I was fortunate to be raised in a loving family that highly valued the arts, creativity and self-expression.

My first professional gig was when I was 13 years old singing downtown Toronto in the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat with Donny Osmond.  I was absolutely hooked! The music, the lights, the choreography, the actors….the whole experience was magical to me. From that moment onward I knew I needed to follow my passion for the arts. Little did I know then, one of my fellow choristers would grow-up to marry my future brother-in-law…I still count my blessings for that positive experience which came to me right after a traumatic experience of being bullied in Grade 7. I am forever grateful for the experience in Joseph which had a huge impact on my life.

I always feel that practising the arts has led me down a magical path…the more I create, it feels I’m guided by a mystical force of positivity. As long as I’m singing and using my creative voice for the greater good, I won’t lose my way.

Tell us a bit about your music and writing style with the song.

My music is a fusion of Pop and R&B with elements of Jazz and Soul. I released my debut album, Love in Colour last year and was thrilled to surrender these intimate songs that were inspired by the joy of love and self-expression. It was a journey of growth to put myself ‘out there’ as a songwriter and expose my innermost creations. For me, the process was like moving through an invisible threshold in my development. Ultimately, the journey has empowered me as a female creator.  I was so honoured to make new connections in the Canadian Music Business and have the tracks receive airplay here in Canada on JazzFM91, Wave 947, CIUT as well as Smooth Jazz Sitges in Spain of all places!

For my recent release, “Love at Christmastime“, it’s all about romance and passion. I wrote this song the very first Christmas I spent with my husband (Matt Zaddy) when I realized after a lifelong pursuit of love, that I had found it. I hope you feel the joy, the comfort and the romance that inspired this song. The track was produced by Anthony Panacci and features some of Canada’s top Jazz players including Mark Kelso, Pat Collins, Brian O’Kane with rising star vocalist Donovan Locke (who I went to high school with at Cawthra Park S.S.).

How are you keeping creative without shows? What are you spending your time on?

Honestly, it feels weird to say this…but I have never been busier! My husband (Matt Zaddy) and I were extremely quick to adapt to online performing in March 2020. As early as St. Patrick’s Day 2020 we were being hired by presenters such as The Rose Theatre in Brampton to present online shows. So we have been really busy learning new technology and collaborating with sponsors in our community and with our local Arts Council to present online shows and concerts including monthly Open Mics, concerts for seniors, specials events etc. I also teach vocals online, work part-time at an arts centre and I also released two singles and music videos this year. So in a weird way, I was able to dive deeper into my creativity and truly listen to my artistic intuition. Without as many worldly distractions, I was able to focus creatively and offer the world deeper parts of my artistry through this time.

Tell me about the holiday times growing up.

The holidays in my parents’ house was all about believing in magic. It was about food and comfort, love and family…shelter from the hard world. It was about believing in Santa Clause, dreams and happy-ever-after, As cruel as this world can be, you gotta keep some space in there for love, for beauty, for hope and peace. As an artist – I create from this space which is far away from the doom and gloom – the drama of this world. As I mature as an artist, I can ‘own’ this vulnerable part of me. I know some things about life now; I have lived, I have loved, I have lost, I have hurt, I have cried…and I have always recovered. Now that I am grown, I can sing from life experience. I know my worth and I will always hold sacred space in my heart for miracles and the dreams of my childhood.

Canadian Beats is all about Canadian music, so who are your current favourite Canadian bands/ artists?

My eyes are on my mentors and the greats. I am listening to great Canadian Acts including Diana Krall, Carol Welsman, Laila Biali, Bill King, Liberty Silver as well as new voices including Storry, Arlene Paculan and Denise Leslie….there are so many great talents out there!

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