Heidi Lange has been singing since before she could talk. Exposed to everything from Bach to Boney M. growing up, she didn’t learn to classify music at a very early age. She began studying violin when she was 7, followed by piano a year later.
While she sang at home constantly, and loved being in school choirs, shyness prevented her from singing solo in front of other people until she was in high school. At that point, she decided to embrace the fact that singing was her passion, and there has been no looking back ever since….. "well, there has been, but I always get pushed back around!"
Going to university to study music theatre was a dream come true. Until it wasn’t. "The truth is that I just wasn’t strong enough at the time to withstand the pressure, politics, competition and criticism. So I gave up." Within 6 months of returning to her hometown, she was approached to sing with her church’s worship band, and was then asked to direct a musical in association with the church and a Toronto-based theatre company. She considers the experience a major milestone, one which galvanized her and showed her that she was capable of much more than she had been giving herself credit for.
Working with children and young adults as a director led to a decision to return to school to study music with plans to become a teacher. During this time, she also became very active in her local theatre scene, performing in English-style music hall productions, as well as classic musicals like Hair and Godspell. She also played the leading role of Queen in the Canadian premiere of the gritty, Tony-award winning musical The Life.
She couldn’t help but take it all as a sign that music and performing were going to be a permanent part of her life. Nevertheless, after graduating from Mohawk College’s Applied Music program, she began working at a music school, and was soon teaching full-time. While she was teaching voice, she was rarely using her own. "For about 3 years, I barely performed at all, and came to discover I wasn’t very happy with that."
A long-desired move to Toronto in 2006 was the first step in a decision to seriously and actively pursue a performing career. Heidi organized a couple of concerts for herself, began to frequent open jazz jams, and started to book gigs. She began making plans to record, envisioning a late night jazz album of mostly standards. In keeping with the concept, a title, Later, was chosen and Heidi began to choose songs. Then---"my Dad died. And EVERYTHING changed."
While writing, in and of itself, was something she had always done, marrying lyrics and melody and shaping songs had always been a struggle. Suddenly she found herself creating songs as a way to guide her through grieving. The more she wrote, the more the songs she had chosen to cover seemed out of place, and the more out of place her covers seemed, the more she wrote. "The only cover that made it through the whole process was "Gloomy Sunday"----which just became more appropriate, as it turned out."
The meaning of Later also began to have several layers. The album still tells stories of the night, but there is also a strong element of time at work. The title track is concerned with time running out. "Legacy (Schatz)" and "Goes On Forever" both explore the bonds of love outlasting life. The song "My Own" is "about how long it can take to trust your own voice, instead of all the other, often negative ones you hear from in life." The album has moments of darkness and light, and reflects the facets and influences that have made Heidi the woman and artist that she is.
Performing on Later are some of Canada’s most talented and respected musicians: Peter Kadar and Robi Botos share piano duties, Mark Inneo sits in on drums, Collin Barrett lays down the bass, and guest artists include Alexis Baro on trumpet, Pat Carey on sax, and vocalists Chris Tsujiuchi and Justin Bacchus.