Category Archives: interview

Get Your Mic On! I’m interviewed at Fine Productions!


Not every conversation Harrison Fine, Karl Machat and I have is appropriate for public consumption, but this one is.
We did this interview for Get Your Mic On, “the informative podcast hosted by you: recording artists and music industry leaders. Designed with an intention to educate, Get Your Mic On features a new guest co-host each episode.” This time it was me!

Who is Harrison Fine? Many wonderful things!
Personally, he is an upbeat and down-to-earth lover of life full of fun, a good friend always ready with a hug.

Professionally, he is a musician and sound engineer. Head to to find out more! This is what I hijacked from there…

[Toronto’s Harrison Fine of FINE Productions doesn’t just usher you into the studio and produce you. He wants to know what makes you tick and why you create the music you do. The award-winning producer, engineer, mixer and songwriter wants to get personal. A recording artist himself — presently readying a new electronic solo project under the alias Opus Eyes— Harrison is well-connected in the songwriter and indie music community, voted Best Producer in Toronto from NOW magazine. Within that world, he takes time to pick the right artists to produce, assessing their lyrics, arrangements and instrumentation. “I do a lot of pre-production,” he says. “If you don’t have good stuff to start, you can’t get good songs in the end.”]

Who is Karl Machat? Also many wonderful things!
Personally, he is a quiet quick-witted genius, a good friend always ready for a hug.
Professionally, he is a musician and mastering engineer. Find out more at Mister’s Mastering House. I stole this from there…

[With over twenty years professional industry experience including quality assurance and duplication, his credits are on hundreds of albums and singles released in Canada, United States, and abroad. A musician himself, he knows and understands both the technical and creative worlds, and gives an empathetic ear to a musician’s needs. An avid listener, with lots of patience, and just a plain passion for music, Karl has the knack for putting the artist and their music in just the right place.]

If you’re looking for original soundscaping or some engineering on your own original work, I highly recommend contacting these dudes. If you’re looking for some good company, I hope you meet these guys. If you’re looking to spend 25 minutes with the three of us but don’t feel like leaving your seat, plug in here and jib jab along with us! Harrison, Karl and Kat.


Kat Leonard, Harrison Fine, magic spell, Karl Machat

Enjoy your day, everybuddy, from us 3!

People Profile: Annalisa Falco!

Meet Annalisa Falco: Early Childhood Educator! 
A delightfully sweet and funny lady, a nurturer and empowered; be still my beating heart!
What is your career?
• I am an Registered Early Childhood Educator.

What are the greatest challenges and greatest rewards of your career?

• The greatest challenges I face in my career are keeping my emotions under control. Working with children can be very rewarding, however, it challenges me to be more patient, compassionate and understanding.
• I would say the greatest reward is developing deep and meaningful relationships with my students. It’s a really nice feeling when some of my kindergarten students accidentally call me mom. It shows how they view me as an important figure in their lives, and it’s so nice they see me as their teacher and caregiver.

What is your advice to others embarking on similar career?

• The best advice I could give to someone who is embarking on a career in education is to be confident in your values and teaching skills. I remember my first year in my classroom I was very intimidated by the whole school atmosphere. Working alongside with another teacher I was very nervous about speaking in front of the whole class and it was very overwhelming for me.
• I believe to be a good educator you have to have patience, compassion and understanding. These values will help make your career and personal life more enriched with love and care. Being a RECE, has made me a better person and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

5 years ago, did you expect to be where you are today? Why or why not?

• Five years ago, I really didn’t expect to be where I am today. For a long time, I battled with depression and I was always confused about my life journey. But it came a point where I was like, “Okay I cannot live like this anymore!” So I started to take long walks, exercise, eat healthier, and go to therapy. But the one thing that really turned my life around was when I started my own gratitude journal. I wrote in it every day and my life progressively improved in all areas of my life. I learned to count my blessings instead of my hardships.

Where will you be in 5 years?

• I’m going back to school this year to get my degree in Early Childhood Education and then I’m planning to go to teacher’s college to get my master’s in education. So in five years I hope to be done school.
• Another goal of mine is to start my own non-profit organization to help empower and educate people about self-acceptance and living a fulfilling life. Within these 5 years I hope to inspire change and to have started a movement to enrich people’s lives through art, music and motivational speaking.

What would you say to your 8-year-old self?

• I would tell my 8-year-old self that she is beautiful and that she is worthy of love and belonging. I would tell her that life is not a race it’s a journey. And most importantly I would tell her to leave the past in the past. To let go of the pain and sorrow, because the only gift we have in life is the present. I would tell her that hope and faith is what will get you through the most challenging times and to surround yourself with people that love and accept you for you who are.

What would you say to your 80-year-old self?

• I would tell my 80-year-old self, “Congratulations, you made it this far, and you don’t look a day over 40!” I would praise her for all the good things she’s done in her life.

How lucky are you and why?

• I feel like the luckiest girl in the world! I’ve been blessed with a very supportive and loving family. I have faithful and caring friends. And I’m extra lucky because last year I fell in love with my soul mate and every day is a dream come true because I am loved by my family and friends.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

• I think what I noticed over the years is how people are surprised by my thoughtfulness and generosity. I’m the type of person that surprises people with love letters and small gifts. Also, when people first meet me their surprised by my sense of humour and outgoing personality because at first I’m quite shy and quiet.

What makes you laugh?

• I love to laugh! I try to find humour in everything! I find joy in making silly jokes or random comments. I come from a long history of funny family and friends too. My boyfriend makes me laugh the most because our sense of humour is exactly the same so we’re constantly cracking jokes when we’re together. We probably have a million inside jokes; we’re pretty much that crazy couple at the party!

What is fun for you?

• I have the most fun when I’m spending time with my family, my friends and my dog. Going out for dinners, long conversations, and my job can be very fun because kids really do say the funniest things. I especially love to pretend play with my students, to hear their laughter and see the smile on their faces when I make them laugh is truly priceless.

What makes you question humanity?

• I think it is so interesting how technology has enriched but also handicapped our society and culture. I think it’s sad how disconnected we are sometimes when it comes to the internet and cell phones. For example, I was at the mall in the food court and there was a father and daughter sitting in front of each other at a table and instead of talking to each other they were both on their iPads.

What is your favourite quote?

• I love quotes so it’s really hard to choose just one but one of my favourite quotes is this one that my boyfriend sent to me:

“Perhaps the butterfly is proof that you can go through a great deal of darkness, yet become something beautiful.”

Anything inspiring you’d like to point our attention to?

Here’s a link to the United Way of Peel. Right now I’m volunteering with them as part of their Young Leader’s Council. I find United Way of Peel inspiring because they help support people in the community through various sectors such as empowering the youth, and helping the less fortunate.

Other inspiring organizations I really like are: She’s a very highly educated activist and amazing woman. She believes in losing hate not weight.

Reesee Zigazaga is another amazing woman who created Abuse Survival Stories it’s another great non-profit organization that works to give a voice to people that suffer from abuse, a platform to share their stories and freedom from the pain of their past.


I hope you enjoyed learning about Annalisa as much as I did! Wishing everybuddy an inspired and empowering day! Let’s all make the most of our interactions with ourselves and others. What if we had everything today that we were grateful for yesterday? I think that’s a wonderful way to live. Dare to live! Dare to love! 🙂

People Profile: Heather Babcock!

Meet Heather Babcock: Writer and Delighter!

Heather Babcock
Heather is a gorgeous ray of sugar and spice from the inside out. Smart, sassy and sweet in a delicious combination, she delights onstage and off. I am so grateful to experience her in both settings. 🙂
From her blog where she is Writing To Exhale… (brilliant!)…
Heather Babcock’s maternal grandmother worked as a housekeeper for Timothy Findley’s family in the 1950s. Heather continues the working class/literary connection by working as a secretary by day and penning her poetry and prose by night. She has had short fiction published in Descant Magazine, Front&Centre Magazine, The Toronto Quarterly, Truck, The Annex Echo newspaper and the Steel Bananas anthology GULCH (published by Tightrope Books in Toronto, 2009) among others. In 2014, Heather Babcock was one of The Toronto Quarterly’s featured poets as part of their Poetry Month celebration. Heather has performed at the Beautiful and the Damned, the Plasticine Poetry series and Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir.
Heather answers…
What is your career? Is it the same as your passion?  What is your passion? 
I always say that writing is not what I do to pay the bills, but it is what I do to make my living. I am lucky that I have a great day job that allows me to focus on my career and my passion: writing.

What are the greatest challenges and greatest rewards of your career? 

When I first started writing, probably the biggest challenge was finding my voice and then, in terms of publishing, finding the right outlets for my voice.  The greatest reward – for any writer I would imagine – is seeing your work in print for the first time. Betty Smith perfectly captured that feeling – one of excitement mixed with pride – in her novel A Tree Grows In Brooklyn when the main character, Francie, publishes a story in the school magazine. Francie shows the story to her mother Katie who tells her that there will be other published stories and that eventually Francie will “get used to it.”  Well, I’ve had a number of stories published myself now and I hope that I’ll never “get used to it.” 🙂
What is your advice to others embarking on similar career?

Toronto has a lot of amazing spoken word, poetry and art events.  I’ve met so many incredible, supportive and encouraging artists through these events.  Often a spoken word or poetry show will have an open mic. Open mics are a great way to “workshop” your writing – what connected with the audience? What didn’t? Everyone’s shy at first but the audiences that I’ve encountered have always been kind and encouraging.

What does it mean to be an artist?

The ability to see beauty where others may not even bother to look. A love for the unlovable. All of the artists that I admire, from writers Toni Morrison and Hubert Selby Jr., musician Paul Simon and painter William Kurelek, display a strong sense of empathy in their work.

5 years ago, did you expect to be where you are today? Why, why not?

5 years ago I read Helen Potrebenko’s 1975 novel Taxi!  Being a working class woman, I could instantly relate to the main character and her experiences as a working class woman.  I admired how Potrebenko unabashedly wrote about class struggle and I realized that I too wanted to incorporate my own experiences as a working class person into my writing.
So 5 years ago was when I started to discover my own voice as a writer.  Since then I’ve had my work published in many different literary journals, featured as a reader at events such as Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir and will have a chapbook, a collection of my short stories, published by DevilHousePress this Spring.

Where will you be in 5 years?

I am currently working on a novel and I hope to have it finished and published by then.
What would you say to your 8-year-old self?

When I was 8, I took the bus to school every day. The bus driver was a tiny woman with a short temper and a nicotine infused voice. She’d constantly yell obscenities at any driver, or kid for that matter, who got in her way. Although I had no idea what they meant, I was fascinated by the passion of her words and incorporated them into my own vocabulary.  I was frequently sent to the principal’s office much to the dismay of my parents who, funnily enough, didn’t know what half the swear words I used meant either.  So if I could go back in time and visit my 8-year-old self, I’d hand her a thesaurus and tell her to find some new ways to express herself.

What would you say to your 80-year-old self?

I would hope that my 80-year-old self wouldn’t be able to hear whatever I would say over the crashing of the waves outside of the cottage that she lives – and writes – in. 🙂
How lucky are you and why?

I don’t know if I would call myself lucky but I am very thankful for the wonderful people that I have in my life.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

Perhaps that I’m very shy.  I can get up on stage and confidently recite the most personal story in front of an audience and yet I’ll hide in the washroom at parties to avoid small talk.
What makes you laugh? What is fun for you?

My cat makes me laugh. She’s hilarious. The best kind of fun for me is just doing nothing with someone you love.

What makes you question humanity?

Deliberate cruelty.  As Tennessee Williams wrote in A Streetcar Named Desire “Some things are not forgivable. Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable.”

Life is so fragile. Human beings are so fragile. We just need to be kind to each other.
What is your favorite quote?

Can I use one of my own?: “‘Working class’ should not be synonymous with ‘poverty’.”
Is there anything else you’re involved in that you’d like to plug or point our attention to? 

I will be performing with Lizzie Violet, Arlene Paculan and Dottie Dangerfield at The Redhead Revue on Saturday, March 21st at Habits Gastropub.  The show – a mix of burlesque, spoken word, poetry and music – will start at 9pm.
Please provide one of your favorite pictures of yourself and a link to something you are particularly proud of being involved in… and/or…. Something originating from someone else that you find particularly inspiring/empowering.
The photo I’ve attached is one that John Oughton took of me at the first Redhead Revue in September 2014.

I’d like to give a shout out to Bereaved Families of Ontario, a donor supported organization that provides free support programs to those who have lost a family member.  When I lost my father and my sister, the mutual support groups at BFO were a safe and supportive space; one where my grief was both acknowledged and respected. I may have been alone in my personal grief but with BFO-Toronto, I was not alone on my grief journey. Their website is:
Don’t forget to check out more Heather on her blog
And you can see her live at WonderFest 2015
Thursday March 5 at 3030 Dundas Street West
7:00 Doors 8:00 Show $10
Have a glorious day, everybuddy!



Meet Adrianna Prosser:
Actor, Playwright, Geek, Beaut, Friend,
Inspiration and more!


Fierce and fiery, friendly and funny, Adrianna Prosser is a warm spunky light in the room. Gracious and generous, she is a fun-loving arts collaborator and hostess with the mostess. As she lives life to the fullest and processes it as she goes, she has so much wisdom and comfort to share and helps illuminate what is truly important and enriching. She is a free yet grounded spirit and an ambassador to the sense of adventure itself. I am personally so very happy to know her. 🙂

From her website: “Adrianna is an alumnus of the joint Specialist Theatre and Drama Studies program at Sheridan College and the University of Toronto at Mississauga; of which she was recipient of the A.L. Fernie Bursary Award for Outstanding Performance and Production Achievement. Adrianna has also won the Best Performance by a Female in a Feature Role/Ensemble (Play) from Broadway World for her role as Jailer’s Daughter, and was a part of the winning ensemble cast for the 2012 Best of Fringe as Jenny in The Shape of Things. Adrianna was also a part of the cast of Unhappy Happy which won the 2013 TIFF Best Micro-Budget Feature Award.

Adrianna is also the Arts & History Host for Cranium Cookie, an educational webshow about all things Canadian.

Her bereavement piece “Everything but the Cat…” had a staged reading at The New Ideas Festival with Alumnae Theatre and received wonderfully supportive reviews. Adrianna is meeting with teachers and theatre-in-education companies to bring this piece on tour to high schools and universities in the near future. Please visit to learn how you can support or become involved in this important confessional-theatre piece.

Adrianna is also employed as a Historical Interpreter with the City of Toronto where she educates children through theatre-education programs about the Victorian Era at several city museums. Her latest play for the city museums, War for Dessert deals with the reasons for the War of 1812.”

Adri answers the questions…

What is your career?

Is it the same as your passion? Oh yes. Storytelling is a wonderfully mailable passion: I am an actor, a social media content creator and community manager, a historical interpreter, blogger, and playwright.

What is your passion? Telling stories that make people connect with themselves and others. I love being the keystone in networks too, meeting passionate people and connecting them to someone they don’t know (yet) through my introduction- I love it.

What are the greatest challenges and greatest rewards of your career? Challenges are always time and money. All of those titles pay in some way or another in time and money – but time doesn’t pay bills and money doesn’t make you happy so it’s the eternal balancing act which can be taxing physically and emotionally. But really, I can’t live without a creative output and storytelling in my life. I tried, and it was hell.

What is your advice to others embarking on similar career? Always be the student: take classes, do workshops, take an online course – not only will you learn amazing new things that enhance your craft but you also meet like minded people and expand your network. It is so often not what you know but who you know! Also say yes when you are scared to say it – that fear means you are challenging yourself to get outside your comfort zone and that is where art tends to happen.

What does it mean to be an artist? It means to create without filter, without restraint, without fear – to make art (in any shape or form that calls to you) to tell your story, be it your personal story or one that begs to be told.

5 years ago, did you expect to be where you are today? Why, why not? Yes and no – 5 years ago my world was turned upside down: my brother died by suicide and that event tripped an avalanche of change. I lost a lot and it took a while to get myself to a place that was good again. During that time I wrote to help my bereavement & that’s how I started Everything But The Cat… as a play and then later as a blog. So most of the people and goals I had in 2010 are no longer in my life now in 2015. It’s amazing how different and totally the same I am when I look back.

Where will you be in 5 years? Hopefully still creating with passionate like minded people. I have had the fortune to have amazing people in my network who want to work with me: Cranium Cookie started as a chat in a comic book store, my children’s book was a joke between me and my partner until he pushed me to create it, my webseries was pushed forward from a facebook conversation, my mental health blog an idea between me and a guy I met on the subway! There’s so much great support around me that it’s hard not to be inspired and take action. In 5 years I want to be doing that: creating with others who believe in me.

What would you say to your 8-year-old self? Your first brother has just taken his first steps, love him because someday he won’t be here anymore – make mud pies daily. Oh and don’t let Mom throw out your Roger Rabbit sleeping bag.

What would you say to your 80-year-old self? Any regrets I can take care of at my age?

How lucky are you and why?  Oh yes, I mean I haven’t won the lottery but I have all that support (mentioned above) plus a loving family who accepts me for the human-Muppet I am. I have great friends who I can travel the world with (and have) and my significant other is just that – he’s significant and loving and grounds me. I may not have money but I do have those intangibles that poets write about. And I say thanks daily for that and the opportunities I have here living in Canada. That too is lucky.

What would people be surprised to know about you? I have darier’s white disorder which is a rare skin disorder that almost made me give up acting. I still struggle with the idea that one day I will just be a mess of spots and no one will want to look at me. (I blog about it sometimes…

What makes you laugh? Great writing. My puppy McFly. Jason, my S.O., when he isn’t trying to be funny. The unexpected.

What is fun for you? So many things! Video games, thick books about everything but mostly fantasy historical novels (hi Outlander and Game of Thrones), running in the sunshine, throwing theme parties so we can all dress up, Halloween (for the same reason), playing board games with friends and family… So many things!

What makes you question humanity? My brother’s suicide. Ferguson. People I encounter on the TTC at 8:15am and 5:02pm. Reality TV. Toronto’s G20 riots.

What is your favourite quote? “to thine ownself be true” -Shakespeare, Hamlet

Is there anything else you’re involved in that you’d like to plug or point our attention to?

Check out all these awesome things I have the pleasure of participating in! @craniumcookie (we are on tumblr too:

@everythingcatTO @DauntlessTO @GibsonmuseumTO

Please provide a link to something you are particularly proud of being involved in… Me? 🙂


Probably one of the most-inspiring answers I’ve heard to the task of providing something one is proud of being involved in is Adrianna’s answer, “Me?” Yes you!  To be proud of being a part of the project that is oneself– what a healthy invaluable gift you gift yourself. One doesn’t need much else to get through the day. I absolutely love it!
I do hope you get the chance to meet this force in real life. Either way, you can engage with Adriana here: @adriannap
Happy day, everybuddy!




PEOPLE PROFILE: Marcus Walker!

Meet Marcus Walker: Musician!


Have you heard Marcus Walker strum and croon? Had him whisper a corny joke in your ear? You’ll smile every time. A skilled and solid multi-instrumentalist, Marcus fortifies the performance of others and glows in the beam of the spotlight. He takes gentle command of the audience with the rich rumble of a voice that grips ya similar to that of Neil Diamond, Shawn Mullins and Buju Banton. Marcus is like your favourite cartoon character; clever, charming and goofy in capricious combination.


Marcus faces the questions…

What is your career? Musician

Is it the same as your passion? Oh, yes indeed…

What are the greatest challenges and greatest rewards of your career? THE greatest challenge of being a working musician is finding & maintaining a business relationship with a venue owner that will consistently pay you for your services, willingly. Some other challenges are mostly the usual stuff like remembering lyrics & that kind of thing. Rewards..? The fact that I am making a living out of doing what I love – & what I believe I’m best at.

What is your advice to others embarking on similar career? Practice, ask questions, be & stay informed, practice, be vigilant, practice…

What does it mean to be an artist? To always be looking through the eyes of a child…

5 years ago, did you expect to be where you are today? NO but I figured I’d be somewhere nearby…

Where will you be in 5 years? Hopefully doing the same thing, only better…

What would you say to your 8-year-old self? “Stop picking your nose..!”

What would you say to your 80-year-old self? “Stop picking your nose..!”

How lucky are you and why? Very. My life is fairly idyllic & I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Also, spiritually, I feel better than I’ve ever felt…

What would people be surprised to know about you? Dunno, that’s a hard one. Perhaps that; aside from books, chocolate & sushi; I have no major addictions…

What makes you laugh? Honest, real life scenarios. The kind you can’t stage…

What is fun for you? Bumper cars & jamming with seasoned musicians…

What makes you question humanity? The overwhelming amount of atrocious behaviour some people display…

What is your favourite quote? Man, there’s tons o’ great quotes. Couldn’t possibly narrow it down to one. So, I’ll put down 3 of my faves. 1) “He was kind of charming, totally untrustworthy, conspiratorial, possessing mysterious juice with the ownership, able to operate completely outside the normal chain of command” – Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential 2) “We have eaten too much fat. Fresh baby pig is very griping to the bowels. There is an everlasting coming and going in the dug-out. Two, three men with their pants down are always sitting about outside and cursing. I have been out nine times myself. About four o’clock in the morning we reach a record: all eleven men, guards and visitors, are squatting outside” – Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet On The Western Front 3) “Look, look,’ cried the count, seizing the young man’s hands – “look, for on my soul it is curious. Here is a man who had resigned himself to his fate, who was going to the scaffold to die – like a coward, it is true, but he was about to die without resistance. Do you know what gave him strength? – do you know what consoled him? It was, that another partook of his punishment – that another partook of his anguish – that another was to die before him. Lead two sheep to the butcher’s, two oxen to the slaughterhouse, and make one of them understand that his companion will not die; the sheep will bleat for pleasure, the ox will bellow with joy. But man – man, who God created in his own image – man, upon whom God has laid his first, his sole commandment, to love his neighbour – man, to whom God has given a voice to express his thoughts – what is his first cry when he hears his fellowman is saved? A blasphemy. Honour to man, this masterpiece of nature, this king of the creation!” ― Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

What is something originating from someone else that you find particularly inspiring?

arussell Have been playing with Russell for years. Good songwriter!


amarcussss Awesomely informative… “The best free cultural & educational media on the web.”



To see and hear more from Marcus Walker, click upon his links!  If you like what you see and hear, drop him a line! He may just tell you a corny joke. Yeah, that’s probably a definite there, matey!

Until next time… explore an artist… explore the artist in you!

Happy day, everybuddy!




Meet Kat Harlton:

Kat Portraits -3

Entrepreneur, storyteller,
community maker,
artist, dream catcher, genius,
positive force in the world at large.

Kat Portraits -6

 Photo credit: Patrick Hodgson Photography

Once you meet Kat Harlton, you want her to be part of your world forever because she makes everything better. She is wise and witty, silly and steadfast, innovative and brave, supportive and nurturing; just what is needed to create a formidable empire, which is what she is forming. From the source, The mission of The Harlton Empire is to promote creative works by independent artists in the arts/entertainment industry. 

And now an excerpt from this very interview that exemplifies to me the solid embrace that is knowing Kat Harlton. You’ll read it again down below so don’t get confused and think you’re deja tripping. I just think it bears repeating and I’m the boss of this blog, so enjoy. “My greatest sense of accomplishment always comes from being able to stand back and watch as others accomplish their goals and dreams because I supported them. I know how important that support is, so when I see how hard they’re working, and how much it means to them, it makes me want to work harder myself. It makes me proud  and I don’t take for granted that they’ve allowed me to be part of their journey.”  Right? I know now you just want to hear from Kat herself, so I’ll just shut up and let her answer…

What is your career?

My career is a mixture of all of my favourite things.

Monday to Friday I work at SoCast SRM doing Client Support.  SoCast is the leading digital marketing platform for radio and we work with many large clients including Corus Entertainment.

All the rest of my free time goes to The Harlton Empire, Lithium Magazine and Rebel Rebel Music Magazine (UK) all of which I use as platforms to promote music, film and art. I write reviews of albums and shows, cover live events and exhibitions, host events, do interviews with numerous kinds of artists and in general try to encourage and promote a positive, healthy, and vibrant community spirit within the arts scene.

What are the greatest challenges and greatest rewards of your career? What is your advice to others embarking on similar career?

Like all careers, when starting out my biggest challenges were knowledge and experience.  Both of which came with time and trial and error. I strive to do my best always, and if there’s something I  don’t know, I’ll take it upon myself to figure it out. I was taught from a young age to never be afraid to ask questions or to ask for help, it’s the only way to learn.

The greatest rewards of my career have been by far the relationships I’ve made. Most of what I’ve done and continue to do wouldn’t be possible without the help and support of numerous people. People who took a chance on me, and believed in me  when I said I wanted to do all these things I’d never done before and knew nothing about.

My greatest sense of accomplishment always comes from being able to stand back and watch as others accomplish their goals and dreams because I supported them. I know how important that support is, so when I see how hard they’re working, and how much it means to them, it makes me want to work harder myself. It makes me proud  and I don’t take for granted that they’ve allowed me to be part of their journey.

5 years ago, did you expect to be where you are today? Why, why not?

Well, 5 years ago is about when I created The Harlton Empire, and my only goals were to help as many independent artists as possible however I could and to give back to the community when I was able. For the most part this continues to be my goal, I’m not after a specific title or occupation, I like to just consider myself a goodwill ambassador of sorts.

That said, I’ve been given a lot of opportunities that I never expected to have, from interviewing celebrities to booking sold out shows and to going on tours. I wouldn’t have anticipated any of that 5 years ago.

Where will you be in 5 years?

To be honest I have no idea, and that thought makes me happy. So far, I plan on continuing what I’ve been doing, I really enjoy exploring new options and connecting with new people and you never know where that can lead you. I’ve done a lot in the past 5 years, so If I manage to do even half of that again in the next 5 I’ll be having one hell of a life. Haha.

What would you say to your 8-year-old self?

Keep on, keep’n on. Don’t change a thing. It’s not always going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it.  P.S: Your future 30 year old self is one happy woman.

What would you say to your 80-year-old self?

Jesus Christ! You’re still alive?!… haha kidding.

I guess this would depend a lot on what I do between now and being 80, but for the most part, I work hard to live without regrets, so it’d probably be somewhere along the lines of “You did good kid”.

How lucky are you and why?

I get conflicted every time I’m asked this question. In one sense I consider myself to be a very lucky woman. I’m blessed with a life that many others will never experience, and I don’t take any of it for granted, which I think has come from a combination of hard work and taking opportunities when they’ve been presented. On the other hand, I don’t believe in coincidence. There have been a few occasions in my life when I’m certain the universe has given me a hand. I believe some things are meant to happen, and that certain people are meant to come into our lives, whether it’s pre-destined or designed by ourselves.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

Hmmm, I guess it depends on who you ask. In general I consider myself a pretty open book. I actively work on being vulnerable and pushing my personal boundaries as I’ve found that reaps the biggest rewards.

Some people might be surprised to know I grew up in rural Southern Ontario, in between two small towns, surrounded by fields of crops and cattle for about the first 18 years of my life. My first job was working as a hired hand on my neighbours dairy farm. Probably not the first thing you’d expect when meeting me. Ha.

What makes you laugh? What is fun for you?

What makes me laugh? My boyfriend, Brandon. He’s always sending me funny memes from shows we watch, or jokes he makes up, or links to ridiculous stuff he found on the internet. He’s not afraid to be goofy or silly which is awesome.

As for what I can consider fun? Meeting new people, going to shows, collaborating, coming up with new ideas, experiencing new things, travelling. I’m an explorer at heart, and I’m always searching for something unique-something that fosters connection. That said, I’m also quite content to just chill in a park all day, or explore the city. I’m easy to please.

What is your favourite quote?

‘Aut Viam Inveniam Aut Faciam’ it’s a Latin phrase, which roughly translates to ‘I will either find a way or make one’.  I consider this my personal mantra, so much so that I have it tattooed on my body. It’s how I govern my life, if I can’t find a way to do something, or I can’t do what I want through existing channels, then I’ll make my own way.

What inspires you?

It’s constantly changing. Though I frequently find myself drawn to the work of Patti Smith. There’s something about how raw and real she is in everything she does that inspires me to continue to search and create. I’ve read her autobiography ‘Just Kids’ numerous times and it’s something I find myself returning to over and over again.


For more and more, please enter the empire and connect with Kat in any forum below!
If you haven’t already, I hope you are lucky enough to meet her in person one day too! 🙂

Twitter: @harltonempire

As always, have a groovy day, everybuddy!




Meet Candice Sand!

Ah…. Candice Sand… Professionally she is a remarkable Pop/R&B recording artist and songwriter described as a blend of Nastasha Bedingfield and Alicia Keys. Personally she is a bright light of strength and fun, and I find great inspired comfort in her friendship. Her newest single Go On featuring JRDN is currently dancing on the radio and TV airwaves and you should check it out!

candice jrd
Another one of my fave Candice Sand tunes is I Got This. I am in particular love with the lyric video because I feel like the text is interpretively dancing to the beat of the lyrics.
candice lyrics

Candice Answers:

What is your career?
I am a recording artist, singer, and songwriter.
What are the greatest challenges and greatest rewards of your career? 
I think what can be a challenge is the fact that a life as a musician is about endless growth and learning. What you can do with, and learn, in terms of music is so endless. I think that you really have to love music if you want to make a career out of it for that reason. You have to enjoy learning and expanding because really that is what you are doing most of the time. If you are focused on only a superficial end goal, I think that’s when this can be a challenge. You don’t enjoy the process and the art itself.
Greatest rewards? there are so many. Traveling, being on stage, connecting with new people, receiving messages from people all over the world that have heard your music and have connected with it. There are so many things that are rewards.
Advice to others embarking on similar career?
Do it for the “right reasons”. For the love of music and your own creative expression. Don’t change who you are to fit into a trend, be authentically you. Enjoy the process. I think those are the big three things for me.
In the past 5 years, what have been your greatest triumphs? Moments of joy?
Again, so many things. I’m really so blessed. Writing and recording my new album ‘Against Concrete Walls’. Having the opportunity to perform for the amazing producer David Foster, prime minster Harper, and the Mulroney family at the David Foster Miracle Gala. Being able to tour Canada. Having my music video “Go On” supported by MuchMusic and MuchFact. Being able to record with Choclair and JRDN. Sooooo many things. I sometimes think I must have a four leaf clover in my back pocket.
In the next 5 years, what will be your greatest triumphs? Where do you see yourself?
Well let’s see… I make goals and I plot road maps of what I’m planning to do, but I try to stay flexible. I like to call it “surrendering to the unknown”, meaning I’m open to following the path as it unfolds and see where it takes me. I’m going to be writing another album starting in 2015, I’ll keep promoting “Against Concrete Walls”, and keep working to be the best singer and songwriter I can be. I see myself still in the music industry writing and performing. I have ideas of what that will look like then, but I try to keep that to myself. It’s my own little secret I like to keep 😉
What does being an artist mean to you? 
It means expressing yourself, but to me it’s mostly an expression of life and emotion… experience. Connecting people to a feeling through music. Relating to each other. Helping people escape or give them whatever they need to feel. Freedom, love, loss, or appreciation. That’s what I’ve gotten from the artists/songwriters I’ve been influenced by and I only want to do the same for others.
What would you say to your 8-year-old self? 
I would tell her to enjoy her imagination. To let her mind play and dream.
What would you say to your 80-year-old self?
I would probably want to ask her questions! haha I think I have a good grounding of what is truly important in life, but I would be interested to get advice from her. What pearls of wisdom would she be able to share with me that might ease my mind or help me move through life.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I’m completely sentimental. I love reflecting. Counting my blessings. I appreciate the people around me so much that if I think about it long enough, I’ll likely get a little misty eyed.
What is your favourite quote?
“Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain
Candice takes plenty of inspiration from other artists, including Emily Sande.
Candice has said: This song took on a new meaning for me when I read the description she wrote on the youtube video: Emily Sande: Clown
candice emily
For more Candice Sand, please try to catch her live and visit her online…
Candice Sand Music
BUY the debut EP Candice Sand: #AgainstConcreteWalls now on iTunes! 
Thank you for your attention, everybuddy!
Wishing you a most glorious of daze!
🙂 xo love Kat


Talking theatre with Phil Rickaby!


Phil Rickaby’s weekly podcast All the World’s a Podcast features Canadian Theatre professionals.  We sat down together and gabbed about theatre, performing, A Depper Kind Of Love, Katbaret and other riveting subjects. (Thanks, Phil!) If you put it on in the background as you go about your day, you can imagine being in the room with us eavesdropping!

My episode is lucky #52 and you can listen here.

Find out more about the podcast and eavesdrop on 51 more artists (and counting) here!
If you’re in the theatre realm, give Phil a ping! (Did you know “ping” is an electronic form of contacting? It’s true!) Maybe you can gab with him too!

If all the world is a podcast, what are YOU saying?

Katbaret: Artist Feature Doug Morency!

It doesn’t matter what shenanigans I get up to while visiting LA– seeing Ayumi Iizuka and Doug Morency is always a Hollywood-heavy highlight!

adugusDoug Morency, Ayumi Iizuka, me!

This LA trip I was thrilled to be seeing Ayu and Doug perform as part of the Canadian improv group The EH Team at Second City LA. And, as always, Ayumi and Doug upped the thrillometer by generously inviting me onstage to perform alongside them and their group mate Marc. Oh, what fun! It was a thrill to be onstage with them again!


Me with Ayumi Iizuka and Marc Hickox of The EH Team, Second City, LA!

I’ve always admired these bright stars, and back in 2008 I featured both Ayumi and Doug in my column East End Artists in the late local newspaper etc… news. See my earlier blog for Ayumi’s feature here.  As for Doug’s, eyeball this!

adugEast End Artist feature Doug Morency in etc… news

To meet Doug Morency offstage you may find him generally quiet and unassuming. To see Doug onstage is to witness a one-man storm, a tremendously talented, spontaneous, smart and generous performer and one of the best improvisers… ever! Doug is an improviser, actor and director. In Toronto he spent three years as part of the Second City Toronto mainstage cast and followed that by directing for the mainstage as well as the National Touring Company. He was part of the hugely successful award-winning Drowsy Chaperone, An Inconvenient Musical and SARSical. He also created the much-adored duo The Williamson Playboys with Paul Bates as well as the tongue-in-cheek religious duo The Kupps with Ayumi Iizuka. Doug has been involved with a dozen shows that have won Canadian Comedy Awards, and won two individually for Best Male Improviser.

Since my initial interview with Doug in 2008, he has moved to LA, bought a house, and taken up ownership of Connect Studios LA, casting director workshops studios, while he continues to act, write and improvise. Some  of his recent LA highlights include: a role on Criminal Minds, multiple performances on Jimmy Kimmel Live, a role on a cartoon network show called You’re Whole, teaching at the Second City LA, directing, performing in a showcase called Google My Tweet, won Best of Fest and Best Troupe at the LA Comedy Fest with The EH Team, started musical sketch duo Morezuka with Ayumi Iizuka.

And now, Doug’s East End Artist interview which I conducted with him way back in 2008:

KAT: What are some challenges and rewards of your career?
DOUG: There is no bigger thrill than stepping onstage and not knowing what is going to happen when you are out there. To me, it is one of the purest art forms. At its best, improv spontaneously combines the emotional work an actor does to be real in the moment with the technical knowledge of story structure and imagination that a writer utilizes.
KAT: What aspects of your career cause you fear? Elation?
DOUG: I am a little fearful every time I step on the stage to improvise. That fear is a great motivator. I feel elation on those occasions when it seems that you have tapped in to a collective consciousness of the actors you are performing with, and the audience, to produce a scene that feels like it has been channelled through you from someplace else– not controlling the scene but running like hell to keep up with where the scene is taking you.
KAT: What are your words of advice to someome embarking on this career?
DOUG: Always strive to get better! And get your ass onstage wherever and whenever you can.
KAT: Is there any other type of artist you would like to be?
DOUG: I like singing and do it often when I improvise. That would be fun.
KAT: What would you be doing if not in this line of career?
DOUG: I dunno, maybe a carpenter. I’ve always enjoyed woodworking.
KAT: In your opinion, what makes a person an artist?
DOUG: Observation and voice– whether that voice is a canvas, a poem, a song, a film, or whatever creative vehicle you choose. Observe the world to better understand it and use your voice to make it a little better for everyone.

Doug Morency is a rare and multi-faceted gem. He has many talents and he uses them brillliantly. Armed with wit and charm, he is instantly and lastingly likeable onstage and off. If you EVER are blessed with an opportunity to see Doug perform, don’t eff it up!  See him! The joy from the experience will vibrate in your system for a very good long time and will make you a healthier person forevermore. For more on Doug and even some video snippets, visit:!