“FROM LIVE THEATRE TO A FEATURE FILM WITH JAZZ ALONG THE WAY”
Described by some as a “Renaissance Woman”, multi-talented Terra Hazelton is a Canadian singer, Genie Nominated actress, and radio personality.
Originally from B.C., Terra grew up mostly in Calgary. Terra became involved in professional theatre and comedy at the ripe age of 14, studying with Keith Johnstone (Theatresports™) and Dennis Cahill at the Internationally acclaimed Loose Moose Theatre Company.
“The Loose Moose Theatre Co. gave me all the tools I need to be a versatile performer,” she says. “Having the opportunity to start studying there at 14 allowed me to grow not only as an actor and improvisor but also as a human being. Fellow improvisor and acclaimed Canadian actress Rebecca Northan once told me “Live life like you improvise – take risks”. That advice stuck with me from the start.” By age 16, she was teaching improvisation, performing regularly in kids’ shows, improv shows, and experimental theatre. At 18, she enrolled in the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York City, with hopes of pursuing a career on Broadway.
At 20 Hazelton moved to Toronto in pursuit of a career in improv and theatre. One night she was handed a guitar and asked to fulfill the show’s musical component by writing and performing three funny songs. Three chords later, she was on a career path she had never anticipated. Terra moved from performing silly songs in a cabaret setting to forming her own band, leaning towards being a rock chick extraordinaire. She began sitting in with the long-running Melody Ranch afternoon matinee at the Brunswick House in Toronto, where famed singer/guitarist Jeff Healey happened to hear her sing one lucky Saturday. Healey himself was moving into new musical territory after opening a night club and following his love of traditional jazz with his own Saturday matinée band, the Jazz Wizards, with whom he played trumpet as well as guitar. He hired Terra to be the group’s permanent featured vocalist which gave her the opportunity to tour nationally and promote her debut record “Anybody’s Baby” (Healeyophonic, 2004) which Healey produced himself and plays on most tracks.
Now a staple on the Toronto Jazz Scene, Terra Hazelton leads her own band, ‘Terra Hazelton & Her Easy Answers’, and is also a member of other notable ensembles. These include The Hogtown Syncopators where she sings and plays snare drum along with violinist Drew Jurecka, bassist James Thomson, guitarist Jay Danley and pianist Richard Whiteman. The Hogtown Syncopatorsare the only band that can be found every week at Toronto’s premier jazz venue, The Rex, appearing Fridays from 4-6pm. You can also catch Terra singing with the fabulous Royal Jelly Orchestra of Jaymz Bee (Jazz.Fm) fame, and with the 10-Piece Jivebombers featuring Alex Dean and Chuck Jackson. In February of 2009, Terra joined and toured with with Juno Award winner (2008) Brandi Disterheft’s band. The tour was across Canada including up to the glorious Yukon; Terra was pleased to tour more with Brandi in the summer of 2009, hitting just about every major Jazz Festival across Canada, including opening for Dave Brubeck in Toronto.
Terra was thrilled to be given a voice on Canada’s Premier Jazz Station, JAZZ.FM91. Along with being an occasional guest host, she was given her own program as inspired by mentor Jeff Healey. Terra’s “Timeless” program was devoted to celebrating classic compositions from the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s. Many of the tracks selected for this program were transferred directly from her 3000+ collection of 78rpm jazz records from this era. Stay tuned for more information about the anticipated return of “Timeless.”
Terra’s latest solo jazz album “Gimme Whatcha Got” was released on May 30th 2009. Devoted to the jazz and blues material she loves so dearly the album was produced by veteran John Sheard and features a host of Canadian jazz luminaries including George Koller, Michael Kaeshammer, William Sperandei, Drew Jurecka and special guests Alex Pangman, Russell DeCarle and the Polyjesters.
Terra was also thrilled to be part of the ‘International Women’s Blues Revue’ in 2009 presented at Massey Hall in Toronto.
Music from this album and “Anybody’s Baby” can be heard on the new digital comedy series “Crazy/Sexy/Awkward”. Co-created, written, and directed by Jerome Sable who’s latest credit is “Legend of Beaver Dam” a short film screened at TIFF 2010, starring Sean Cullen.
Set to the music of “Coffee in the Morning” from her latest album, is “Kisses in the Night”, Terra’s latest music video, produced and directed for BRAVO! by Redhanded Film & Theatre. A stylized short film set in the 1950’s, the video will be presented on September 16, 2010 at the Toronto Independent Film Festival and on October 14-17 at La Femme Film Festival in Los Angeles.
Terra’s feature film debut, FUBAR 2, made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2010. Directed by Michael Dowse, the long-awaited sequel to the Canadian headbanger mockumentary finds Terra in the role of local waitress ‘Trish’, the film’s principal female role which rounds out the classic headbanger duo of Terry and Dean.
Terra received a Genie Nomination for “Best Supporting Actress’ for her role in the film. A great achievement to garner on her first film!
In addition to her experiences as an actor, vocalist and radio personality, Terra worked for years travelling the world as a full-figured model and even tried her hand at being a standup bass player, touring across Canada with Alistair Christl’s Rockabilly Band. It’s safe to say that the future is unpredictable for this talented jill of all trades.