Published Sep 10, 2020The Class of T.O. video series, presented by Exclaim! and Dan Burke with the support of the City of Toronto and Great Lakes Brewery, has featured plenty of Toronto talent covering their favourite artists, but the rest of the country shouldn't be ignored. The latest instalment features special guest Hanorah performing two Amy Winehouse songs from a backyard in Montreal.
Joined by a guitarist, Hanorah performed stripped down renditions of "Wake Up Alone" and "Unholy War" from Winehouse's 2006 album Back to Black. "Amy is an inspiration to a lot of people," says Hanorah. "She taught me so much about what a vocal performance can transmit emotionally, not through technical acrobatics or range of pitch but in honouring the uniqueness of each moment. Its so easy to switch to autopilot when you play the same songs over and over but her performances were all exploratory; you can feel her testing and stretching and trying stuff with her voice. Each note is imbued with meaning. She is transcendent."
Having released 2019's For the Good Guys and Bad Guys EP and participated in Exclaim!'s Class of 2020 concert series earlier this year, Hanorah has been keeping busy during lockdown. "I've been writing songs, digging deeper into the guitar, and have moved more to visual arts these days," she says. "Lots of musicians seem to be struggling emotionally with not being able to gig, and I do miss it too, to a point. But I don't feel so bad about it, because every experience fills your creative well one way or another. We are still artists whether we are making or not."
As for her next steps, Hanorah reveals, "Next, I'm regrouping, planning, kind of un-exciting admin stuff to prepare for the next record. The songs exist and they're beautiful, but I think I'm going to wait out COVID before releasing it if I can. We'll see!"
In other Amy Winehouse news, her 2003 debut album Frank was treated to a special vinyl reissue courtesy of Abbey Road Studios last week.
Watch Hanorah perform "Wake Up Alone" and "Unholy War" below. Don't forget to check out earlier instalments in the Class of T.O. series, and stay tuned for the final edition, featuring Komodo covering the Replacements, coming Tuesday, September 15.