Canadian contemporary jazz pop singer/songwriter Katie Ditschun lovingly affirms “That Is That.” when it comes to life, love and people’s need for each other in this, her new single — available now.
“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,” Ditschun recalls. “The power of love and human connection is unparalleled.
“People need people. That is that. People need people. That’s a fact,” she continues, citing the song’s basis. “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.”
On that note, ’whimsy with depth’ is a wonderfully all-encompassing description that wraps all that is Katie Ditschun’s music and purpose together into one.
Born and raised in Brantford, Ontario, Ditschun spent time in Montreal, Quebec 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 release, Spare Skirt — home to previous singles “Here We Are,” “HER,” and now “That Is That.” 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 self-described style of quirky piano pop meets serious jazz notes and thematic, explorative 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,” Ditschun adds of “That Is That.” “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 live. 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 with over 20 years experience in teaching, and 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.”
For those looking to optimize a rise in screen time by developing their sonic skill sets, the lessons are available via Ditschun’s Facebook page; they are geared towards beginners and focus solely on singing — no instruments are required.
For “That Is That.,” Ditschun’s lessons go a step further: “So, if you feel like it, head online, pick up your ukulele — or whatever you play! — and find the lyrics and chords for ‘That Is That.’ at UltimateGuitar(dot)com,” she invites. “Make the song your own, and send me the link to your versions so I can share!”
“That Is That.”’s name, incidentally, serves a secondary purpose; given that it’s the final track on Spare Skirt, it offers a fittingly impassioned bookend to her breakthrough album.
“That Is That.” is available now.