This weekend marks another James Street Art Crawl but with the warmer weather, Mark Furukawa and Dr Disc open up their roof to celebrate 28 years at 20 Wilson Street and to showcase some independent local musicians. This Friday you can check out Devin Bateson (7pm), The Dill (8pm) and Rae Billing and Crybaby (9pm) as well as Bonnie Hamilton and the Midnight Daydream (10om) (performances weather permitting and the schedule is subject to change).
Bonnie Hamilton grew up in Toronto studying classical and gospel music but it was when she moved out on her own and came to Hamilton in 2003 that her musical wings really began to spread.
While she continued singing gospel in churches and playing in high school musical theatre, Hamilton would join our live stage with acts like Son Sol, the Hippy Mafia and Canadian Winter but while it’s been some sixteen years of sporadic collaborations, recently Hamilton decided it was time for her to enter the spotlight. This summer, Hamilton plans to release her debut collection of songs, When Stars Collide but this weekend, we get a rare live showcase of some original tunes on the more novel Dr. Disc stage.
“I’ve been working with several different people trying to find my own voice and my own style — finding myself really,” says Hamilton on the long road to her debut release. “I took some time for self–development and a little self–love really to figure stuff out and in the last year, I came to realize what I wanted in my life. I overcame some obstacles and removed some blockages I created myself I think and I realized if I don’t do it now, I’ll never achieve my goals or dreams. I’ve been plugging away at it one song at a time but I plan to release my album just in time for my birthday at the end of July.
“I’ve written a lot of music but never felt comfortable releasing it but these songs in the last year I really opened up with my songwriting and began to accept myself using a lot of what I’ve been through for inspiration,” adds Hamilton. “I want to share that inspiration with the world so that it might be an inspiration for other people.”
Putting her past behind her, Hamilton ventured forth with a new team to find new songs for her new self. Connecting with producer Rob Lamothe, Hamilton formed a band with local musicians and for this live show will include guitarist Sean Royle, bassist Ryan Ethier and drummer Junior Clarke. The songs Hamilton teases for the new album reveals the powerful voice we’d expect from this local veteran with a sound that is nestled nicely between Shirley Bassey and Amy Winehouse with a dramatic jazzy soul flair. For longtime fans, this weekend offers a free taste to inspire and to explore more of Bonnie Hamilton.
“I love singing, writing and performing — I love performing with such supportive and talented people,” says Hamilton. “I hope to inspire Hamilton as much as it’s inspired me to go for it. I’ve played shows but I guess I don’t play them often and i’m being more selective.
“It’s exciting to be playing on Dr. Disc’s roof during art crawl,” she adds. “We won’t have a lot of time to set up so there’s an electronica part that might be included but you can definitely expect a rock show with a soulful influence and maybe a little bit of a reggae tinge. It’s all about me sharing my soul with my community and hopefully inspiring them with my stories and songs.”
Dr. Disc Raises the Roof this Friday, May 10 with Bonnie Hamilton (10pm), Rae Billing and Crybaby (9pm), The Dill (8pm) and Devin Bateson (7pm).
Click on @bonniehamiltonmusic or drdisc.ca