Practice, improve, perform & repeat

Folk artist Peter Katz says being nominated for a Juno award hasn’t given him a big head

Peter Katz says the last time he played a gig in Kingston, he was supported by a 100-person choir called Open Voices who learned to sing some of his songs.
Peter Katz says the last time he played a gig in Kingston, he was supported by a 100-person choir called Open Voices who learned to sing some of his songs.
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Are you there God? It’s Peter Katz here.

For Montreal folk musician Katz, sometimes writing and performing his music feels like a solitary process.

“A lot of times when you’re in your bubble writing, you wonder if you’re just yelling at the air,” he said. “You have these things you’ve worked on, care so much about and put out in the world just to hope that it falls on people’s ears.”

Katz is returning to Kingston next week, after previously playing several times at Clark Hall Pub and The Mansion. He said he’s excited to come back, especially after his last visit in town.

“I performed with a local 100-person choir named Open Voices. They had learned some of my songs as part of their repertoire, so it was an amazing experience,” he said.

Beyond the Kingston community, Katz has become a large figure in the Canadian music scene. Throughout his career, Katz said he has gotten to play with some of his musical idols, including Glen Hansard of the popular Scottish folk groups The Frames, and Swell Season.

“That was a dream of mine for seven years ever since I saw him first play,” Katz said.

In 2012, the folk artist was also nominated for a Juno Award. Katz said the nomination definitely helped him to get “his foot in a few doors.”

“It’s not like all the offers in the world are coming my way and I’m driving a Lamborghini though,” he chuckled. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t change what I have to do — practice, play songs, get better and play shows.”

Katz said he prefers to write new songs and tells me about the first song he wrote which made him decide playing music was the path he wanted to follow. “For example, ‘The Fence’ is about a 19 year-old student who was a victim of a hate crime because he was gay,” Katz said. “The song had a life of its own and [it] felt like I was able to express something like I’ve never been able to before.”

This simple combination of vocals and instrumentals in song writing, for Katz, is perfect for expressing his emotions to audiences.

“Writing is this little thing that if you work at it you can get it right one song at a time,” he said. “Every night the song can be what it needs to be depending on the audience.”

Thankfully, Katz says this adaptive lifestyle is full of new experiences and experimentation — two things that his personality craves. “It’s fresh, fragile, vulnerable, and feels like you’re juggling plates.”

Peter Katz plays Clark Hall Pub on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.

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