On a beautiful late May evening in Erin Mills, I waited excitedly for my coffee shop patio interview with two of Mississauga’s hardest working, humblest and most dedicated musicians, Heather Christine and Matt Zaddy. I’d heard their names over the past few years, but only recently had the chance to interact with them on separate occasions, all of which were absolutely wonderful. I do have to thank Arlene Paculan for introducing the three of us…just another example of how close knit and supportive the music and arts scene is in our city.
While Heather and Matt have accumulated tremendous experience separately as self-made musicians, it’s how they’ve come together personally and professionally that’s the true inspirational story here.
As active musicians, their paths crossed several times since 2010. Their first performance together was in August of that year, where they performed in the Gypsy Kittenz Band with Julia Juhas with Matt accompanying Heather on guitar. While it’s easy to say “and the rest was history”, it wasn’t that simple. It never is.
Over the next three years, Heather and Matt would constantly grace hundreds of local and out of town stages, both independently and together. As we spoke about their exciting journey, the clear message I received was that of being persistent, consistent, and most importantly, exercising humility.
What the public sees is the success and exciting performances. No one sees the years of practice they’ve put in, the disappointments and rejections, all of which have only made them stronger. Their vision, Heather says, is brought forward by “the strong calling in our souls to bring forth the music,” and to start small, work hard and strive to see it do well (which they’ve both succeeded at, in my opinion).
In their minds, they’ve both “made it” as their goal was to be working musicians. There’s no private jet, million dollar contract or world tour. And for them, there doesn’t need to be. To echo Sinatra, they did it their way, and they did it quite well. Knowing that they’ve paved their own way, earned the respect of their peers, are active in the community, and are adamant about mentoring others and giving back - that's their measuring stick for success. All of which they’ve done and continue to do. Matt says, “Be great at what you do and do it actively…you have the final say in your life and career.”
Their first date (although Heather didn’t quite see it as that) was at the 2013 MARTY awards and less than two years later, they were engaged with a wedding to take place later this year.
As their relationship progressed, so did the amount of performances together, and at the 2016 MARTY awards, Heather and Matt introduced us to River North, their new patriotic, cool and catchy project.
While the number of River North performances will only increase, these two very proud Mississaugans still strongly support each other in their separate ventures. Heather performed at Matt’s CD release party, and Matt has backed up Heather on a number of gigs as well. They respect each other enough to not take it personally when schedules collide and they have to say no to one another from time to time.
They are adamant about supporting each other musically. There’s no jealousy here and it’s certainly not a competition. It’s a collaborative journey founded by humility, understanding each other and doing it for the love of music.
With both their lives immersed in the local arts scene, their love for Mississauga (they both love performing in, with and for our city and have found tremendous success here) and ambitious attitudes, they’re only just getting started as far as making a memorable, musical mark. Be modest, thankful, motivated and strive for more, was the message they ended our conversation with. Heather Christine and Matt Zaddy consistently exemplify the importance of hard work, persistence, supporting one another, and transforming a passion into a career. While their journey has been exciting, inspirational and memorable so far, I say with absolute certainty that the best is yet to come.
Upcoming performance dates including:
- June 24 at the Benares On The Veranda Concert Series
- Canada Day at Failte Irish Pub (Square One)
- July 9 and 10 at the Music in The Square Concert Series in Port Credit (performing by Port Credit Lighthouse this year)