By Jessica Lewis
Peter Katz was halfway through his theatre degree at Ryerson when he realized he didn’t want to do it anymore. He just wanted to play music.
That was four years ago. Today, Katz, originally from Montreal, is a Canadian musician enjoying the most success of his career. He was in town for Canadian Music Week and played a show last Friday at The El Mocambo in support of his newest album, More Nights.
While at Ryerson, Katz used to find ways to incorporate music into his theatre school performances. He also started writing for the dance program in his graduating year.
After finishing his studies, though, the extent of his acting career was a short time spent with a theatre company in B.C.
“Doing the theatre program just really helped me find my voice,” he told The Eyeopener before his CMW gig. “They really kind of challenge you personally and emotionally, in a good way, and I think I benefited from that process. But when I got back from [B.C.] I just wanted to focus on music.”
Katz would go to three or four open mic shows a week across Toronto, including shows at The Ram in the Rye, where he also worked as a server during the day.
As if staying on campus to work after he graduated wasn’t enough, years later, Katz is still a Ryerson regular.
“I was in a bunch of the radio and television arts practicum projects. I was in a movie they did, a DVD, and a music video,” he said. “I did stuff last year too, so I say I’m in my eighth year at Ryerson. It is really my home.”
Katz was part of a CMW showcase for a label called Curve Music, along with British singer/songwriter Will Kevans, a Toronto pop-rock group Grand:PM and another Toronto quartet, The Dunes.
Out of all the groups, Katz certainly garnered the best crowd reaction. With his beaming smile and winning charm, he stole the show.
Since deciding music was his primary passion, Katz has won a CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award, the grand prize at one of Toronto’s Indie Weeks and has composed music for a few prestigious dance productions around the city.
“I’d like for things to evolve naturally,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of tours across Canada solo and I’d like to bring my band. I’d like to start playing bigger theatres, opening for bigger people, and also start going to the U.S. and UK and just building at a rate that makes sense. I want to go all the way. That’s all I want to do with my life, so I’ve got to stick with it.”
But even if the fame comes, Ryerson will always be home for Katz. A place of memories, friends, and the occasional shift at the Ram. Peter Katz and The Curious will be playing at The Rivoli May 2 on Queen Street West.