When it comes to life, love and people who need people, Katie Ditschun lovingly affirms That Is That. in her new single and video — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
“One morning, in the shower, I was singing songs from one of my favourite musicals and felt overcome by the powerful fact that everyone needs other people in their lives,” the Canadian contemporary jazz pop singer/songwriter recalls. “The power of love and human connection is unparalleled. People need people. That is that. People need people. That’s a fact. The juxtaposition in That Is That. — with a firm period — is in the fact that it’s a simple song with simple words and statements, but it’s also a very complex and complete message. It’s whimsy with depth.”
Whimsy with depth is a wonderfully all-encompassing description that wraps all that is Ditschun’s music and purpose together into one. Born and raised in Brantford, Ont., she spent time in Montreal following her studies at Berklee College of Music for jazz and contemporary vocal, before returning to her home province; she now calls Alexandria home. Though she was diagnosed at 18 months old with juvenile arthritis, beginning piano lessons at age four to keep her fingers moving, it was the onset of her mother’s terminal illness that gave Ditschun the push to pursue music full-time.
“My songs are about relationships — of love, and of those often confused for love,” she explains of her 2019 debut Spare Skirt — home to previous singles Here We Are and HER. Recorded in Ottawa, and featuring some of Eastern Ontario’s best jazz musicians, the track and album feature Ditschun on vocals, piano, and ukulele — a nod to the singer/songwriter’s marriage of quirky piano pop, serious jazz notes and story-based lyricism.
“I’m particularly interested in situations where people lack self-knowledge, or gain greater awareness about oneself, or one’s place in the world. While first recording this song in-studio, my co-producer said he felt this song was completely me. I’m not sure I’ve ever received a nicer compliment … You’ll never regret loving, and I like to think that’s me: love hard. I try every day to be the person my dog thinks I am. I need people, and I remind myself that people need me too.”
Ditschun has embodied a form of this sentiment week after week since the national onset of COVID-19, working at mindfully connecting with her community through complimentary virtual music lessons via Facebook. With a world reacting to increased isolation, Ditschun hoped her at-home music lessons in a live, “social” setting could offer respite for audience members navigating the world’s new circumstance.
“There’s something about being in the moment when the music is all there is,” says the classically trained musician, who has over 20 years experience in teaching, and is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association. “For me, all life’s worries melt away and I’m left only concerned about what phrase comes next and letting the notes float out. It’s my hope that my online music lessons can offer even just a bit of that for others in this challenging time.”