Two high-profile Toronto LGBT artists are making rare live appearances this month as part of Sing! The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival.
As lead singer for the Parachute Club, Lorraine Segato set radio afire with the group’s timely blend of new wave and pop, charting multiple successes with their eponymous debut album and two follow-ups. The group’s biggest hit, “Rise Up,” still endures as an anthem for social justice, personal empowerment and just plain fun.
“I had a bit of a relationship thing with that song for a while,” Segato admits. “I didn’t want to ride on its coattails, but I started listening to people’s stories about what it meant for them. I’m back into my loving-it stage, and I feel an incredible amount of gratitude towards it.”
Segato likes to mix things up when performing the song, and she’s excited to be singing it with renowned a cappella group Retrocity at the festival. “They’re my new favourite experience band,” she says. “I’ve been following them around, so when I was asked to sing their acoustic version of “Rise Up” with them, I said, ‘Yeah!’”
Micah Barnes’s appearance at Sing! will be as varied as his long and vibrant career. From his piano-man beginnings to the cutting-edge club tracks that took Los Angeles by storm, Barnes is a true musical chameleon. His latest foray into jazz placed his song “New York Story” in the top five of iTunes Canada downloads. The festival will find him in two roles: coaching vocal acts and reuniting onstage with famed a cappella group The Nylons.
“The Nylons were really the ones that taught me the ropes,” says Barnes, who promises the band will perform favourites like “Kiss Him Goodbye” and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”
“Right now I think they have the best voices ever. They just keep getting better and better. Jumping back in has been pure heaven.”