Music to Inspire and Heal
The naturally beautiful, soul-stirring enclave of Blue Mountains, Ontario is where accomplished pianist, vocalist and published songwriter Heather Hill spends the majority of her time these days. She breathes in the crisp, clear days and sensory-peaking surroundings on the shores of Georgian Bay and then, looking out from her piano room window on to an enchanting forest grove, breathes it all back out in moving and inspiring songs. Heather writes heartfelt stories, sings with soaring vocals, and plays haunting piano melodies. Her songs come from her soul’s longing to spread love and peace in the world, and a life and career that have taken her from Toronto to New York City, back to Toronto and now, to the rural Ontario paradise she and her family call home.
Over the years Heather's songs have showcased the stories of her life and the rich life learnings put to music. Her last three albums “Listen” (NY 2005), “Leuty Station (Toronto, 2012), "We are the Same" (Toronto, 2022), all reveal her gifts and passions as a peacekeeper, mother, intuitive and entrepreneur: Her upcoming album "Twilight Mist" steps deeper into her rich spiritual life as a musician, intuitive and helper. The challenging part for her has been to use her voice and express these songs outside of her living room and to find the audience who resonates. "Twilight Mist", to be released in 2024, showcases inspirational etheric and faerie-like songs and sound journeys. This album was written in her prayerful, creative space in the Akashic Records. The title track “Twilight Mist” captures Hill’s curiosity as she crosses over the bridge at twilight from the earth into the mist of the unknown.
Heather was a performing musician fron an early age, receiving classical training in piano and vocals. She was always playing for musicals, choirs, church events, festivals and school performances to hone her skills. After achieving a classical piano performance degree (ARCT) from the Royal Conservatory of Toronto (U of T) and a Master of Arts (English) degree from University of Waterloo, Heather and her husband Duncan moved to New York City, where she performed in some of the city’s most legendary clubs such as The Cutting Room and the Makor Room, and recorded her first album, “Listen” with platinum producer Steve Addabbo (Suzanne Vega, Jeff Buckley, Bob Dylan).
In NYC, Heather also received her first song cut in the off-Broadway production “Songs of the Century”. While in NYC, Heather studied with revered singer-songwriter, producer, music mentor, teacher and co-founder of the Jazz Foundation of America, Ann Johns Ruckert, whom also worked with legends such as Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, T-Rex, Merry Clayton and Quincy Jones throughout her storied career. She took every oppoortunty to learn and receive coaching from New York's finest musicians.
“Heather's debut album "Listen" was an act of bravery as Heather was pregnant with her first child and first album. Her love of poetry and the piano combined in musical stories that will never be forgotten for those in my 3rd floor walk-up in Manhattan's west side."
- Ann Ruckert, Record Producer, 13 Stories, NYC.
As Heather’s family began to grow, they moved back to Toronto and her passion for songwriting and performing continued to grow as well. She recorded and released her second album “Leuty Station”, live off the floor at Toronto’s Humber College with acclaimed music producer and vocal coach Orville Heyn (Mike Myers, Telma Hopkins, Suzie McNeil). Heather toured across Canada in support of her sophomore release, highlighted by a particularly memorable show with Greig Nori and Bill Priddle (formerly Treble Charger) at LopLops in Sault Saint Marie and an album release show at Toronto’s Drake Hotel in front of a packed house with her incredible band: Paul DeLong (drums), Russ Boswell (bass), Eddie Paton (guitar), Dave Restivo (piano) and the O'Pears (vocal backup).
The “Leuty Station” period also brought forth radio and television appearances for Heather on such outlets as CFRB, CBC Radio1, Rogers Daytime Toronto and several college stations across Canada and the US. During this period, Heather also released a Factor-funded video, “Stupid Happy”, and cowrote "Find your Way" and "She's so Hungry" with multi-instrumentalist, jazz performer and producer, Mark Zubek of Zedd Records (Micah Barnes, Jen Chapin, Gavin Bradley) .
“Heather Hill’s Leuty Station is a remarkable and beautiful sounding disc. With strong vocals, imaginative words, music with hooks, expansive arrangements, and sometimes epic production, she presents an interesting strong female image lyrically.”
- Blair Packham, CFRB "In the Studio"
We are the Same
"We are the Same", Hill's last album, offered "a warm hug in an uncertain world". splitting time between fast-paced city life and the tranquility of the country provided a good chunk of the impetus for Heather to record her recently released, third album “We are the same”. Encapsulated in the album title’s bold statement, it’s a reflection on how we can see how similar we are in our humanity if we stop focusing on our differences.
This collection of 12 inspirational, acoustic, piano-based songs is about hope and taking responsibility for one’s impact in the world. As a musician, human rights’ activist, and mom raising two kids in these times of suffering and upheaval, Heather offers a view of humanity that is keenly observant, compassionate and rooted in nature. She sings about being gentle on yourself, reaching out for help, stargazing, acceptance and the undeniable flow of the river of life.
“This album is about hope and taking responsibility for my impact in the world. My intention was to offer a view of humanity that is heart-warming, compassionate, and filled with nature. The RIver’ is about full surrender with nature as my teacher. The river winding through the forest that I walk beside every day reminds me of letting go of the worry and fear of losing loved ones, raising teens in isolation and turbulence, and reinventing how I am coexisting with nature and my community. This song gives me hope because the river always finds its way through obstacles and joins a larger body of water with such ease.”
Recorded and mixed at Toronto’s Canterbury Sound Company with Julian Decorte (Gordon Lightfoot, The Pixies, Serena Ryder) with additional mixing at Kensington Sound, and with Adam Fair (Sass Jordan, Kim Mitchell, Valley) at Villa Sound in Singhampton, Ontario, “We Are The Same” showcases Heather’s songs in their most unadorned, soul-baring form. Opting for a strictly acoustic approach of just Heather’s expressive piano playing, richly vibrant vocals and occasional extra instrumentation, each track feels like a raw journal entry, captured at the initial moment of reflecting both inward and outward.
Music is Joy
“Writing music and performing live is one of my greatest joys,” notes Heather. “It is always magical to see how my songs land with an audience. Adding a band amplifies it, and I lose myself in the genius of the other players. Next to performing, writing is my passion. I am a perpetual student of songwriting. Writing with others is an intimate and powerful experience of combining talents and experience.”
In addition to composing for her own releases, Heather likes to co-write songs with other artists. To name a few, she has co-written several songs with Chris Antonik, a #1 charting, Maple Blues Award nominated artist, award-winning singer-songwriter Henry Lees, Canadian rock powerhouse Jess Speziale, Matt Gerber, a quirky, heartwarming solo artist, Meghaan LeBlanc, a Nova Scotian Celtic troubadour, and Kat Leonard, a comedian and entertainer.
Heather has also led the Toronto Songwriting Guild for the past decade – a group of 10-15 professional songwriters who are working on their song craft and sharing their talents. Additionally, she’s a member of One Fire Movement - a grassroots group of artists spreading peace through their art and activism.
From the skyscrapers of Manhattan to the majestic mountains and forests of Ontario’s Georgian Bay, Heather Hill’s soul-stirring and life affirming music transcends, uplifts and remains steadfast in its joyful celebration proclaiming no matter who we are and where we are, we all belong together."