Terra Lightfoot, the Juno-nominated singer-songwriter and Sonic Unyon recording artist, has finally made her first stop in Hamilton since the New Mistakes tour began.
Lightfoot has been playing shows nearly every night for the past three weeks.
From kicking off her tour in Kansas City, Missouri to selling out a show in Winnipeg, Manitoba and playing in four different cities in British Columbia, she’s had one epic performance after the other.
Long-time fans quickly filled both sold-out shows at the McMaster LIVELab on March 9 and 10, waiting for Lightfoot’s highly anticipated performance with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra Strings in her adopted hometown.
Before music took over Lightfoot’s life, she was an Anthropology and Peace Studies student at McMaster for four years before deciding to start playing music for a living.
“It gets really easy once you’re doing music for your career to become so absorbed in it that you don’t know who you are as a person anymore. But I do other things, like I hike a lot, do yoga and other things to keep me entertained,” explained Lightfoot.
“Traveling for me is very inspiring. I get a lot of inspiration from the landscapes that we get to see and the cities.”
“But music definitely is a part of every fiber of my being.”
Lightfoot has come a long way since first learning to play “Hells Bells” by AC/DC on the guitar at 12 years old and debuting her self-titled album in 2011.
New Mistakes draws on her unforgettable experiences on the road, telling stories with powerful vocals alongside feet-stomping rhythms of rock, soul and blues.
“Traveling for me is very inspiring. I get a lot of inspiration from the landscapes that we get to see and the cities,” explained Lightfoot.
“I do a lot of hiking when we’re away so nature’s super inspiring for me too. Getting to see the different flora and fauna all over the world, that’s the most exciting thing.”
Long night drives along the highway until finally pulling over in White River, seeing a blanket of stars over Dakota, drinking champagne in Paris and a sudden chill felt in Berlin have all inspired the lyrics behind some of Lightfoot’s acclaimed tracks.
Constantly travelling has also influenced the way Lightfoot lives her life.
She’s become a more relaxed person since coming to the realization that she can’t control everything around her, rather she lets the road dictate her journey.
Lightfoot’s approach to life is carefree and spontaneous, very much the same way she approaches music.
“I pay attention to the first idea that I get and try and honour it as much as I can. I work with it until I don’t know what’s going on anymore…. Sometimes, I just play it for the first time and it just happens, it just clicks,” explained Lightfoot.
“‘Like ‘Ruthless’ is a song on the new record that I wrote in about eight minutes…. And that happens sometimes and it’s beautiful when it does, but it doesn’t always happen that way. So it’s something you have to practice at like anything else.”
“Norma Gale”, another new song on New Mistakes, is a track that has been in the works for years.
It first started off as a country song telling the story of famous musician in the 70s that Lightfoot had met and connected with, but the tune changed to incorporate electronic drums over the course of two years.
New Mistakes, which has received a Juno nomination for Adult Alternative Album of the Year, is an album Lightfoot is particularly proud of as it serves to empower women.
The people Lightfoot chose to work with on the record strongly support her taking charge of her own music in every step of a song’s development.
“When people listen to this record they can hear a woman in power. That’s not often something we get to listen to because it’s a male-dominated industry.”
Lightfoot was taking a break from rehearsal when we met, she was wearing an “I’m the worst” t-shirt and fuzzy socks, a nod towards her contagious easy-going attitude.
The shirt was an ironic choice given the fact that her music has been making many successful strives this year.
Lightfoot will be making her way back to British Columbia next week to play some shows with different musicians, sing a few songs with Jim Cuddy and of course get to be among all the best musicians in the country at the Juno Awards in Vancouver on March 24.