Emma-Lee and Peter Katz are two of Toronto’s hardest working musicians. Not only do they create exceptionally good music, they also organize their own tours and promote the heck out of themselves. If you think being a musician only means having a pretty face and cranking up the auto-tune, these singer-songwriters will dispel your illusions.
Emma-Lee and Katz met five years ago while playing in Toronto’s indie music scene. Neither of them can quite remember the first instance of meeting one another, but the date doesn’t matter. The fact that they met is important enough. Since then they have collaborated many times, singing and playing on each other’s albums, and performing together on stage. Going on a cross-Canada tour together now seems like a natural progression. “You meet a lot of people but there are some who [you] have a kinship with,” Katz says about working with Emma-Lee.
Touring is a difficult beast, though. Both musicians spend months on the road promoting their music. “I was on the road three months out of the last year,” Emma-Lee recollects. Katz rarely tours with other musicians. “When you’re by yourself in the car you create a microcosm.” He enjoys touring with others, but there has to be compatibility. Emma-Lee and Katz are confident that this tour will benefit both of them. “Because we haven’t toured together, there’s an opportunity for cross-pollination [of audiences],” says Katz. They’re taking their show through Toronto to Victoria. They’ll each perform a set of their own original tunes and finish with a set of their collaborations. “It’s going to be a more intimate, acoustic tour,” Emma-Lee says.
They began working on this project at the end of last year. “We’d already done a bunch of collaborative stuff so it wasn’t far-fetched from what [we were already doing],” Emma-Lee explains. Emma-Lee and Katz are considering this tour as a test drive. They would like to eventually release an EP of new tunes and some choice cover songs. Picking cover songs “has been fun,” according to Emma-Lee, “it’s…revealing about another person and their history of music.”
Their first release, a cover of Tina Turner’s What’s Love Got to Do With It, makes it clear that they take their selections seriously. The music video, filmed at the Toronto Zoo in front of the underground otter observatory, complete with frolicking otter, shows how well their voices blend into beautiful harmony.
Neither Emma-Lee nor Katz can dismiss the benefit of touring to create a lasting connection. Along with concert venues that can hold upwards of 200 people, Emma-Lee and Katz are looking forward to performing house concerts along the road. House concerts are a “great way to make an intimate connection with new fans. These are the type of people who will support you for life,” Emma-Lee explains.
Emma-Lee and Katz are on the road from April 3rd to May 8th. Check out either emma-lee.com or peterkatz.com for tour dates.