Not many mothers can say that they fiddled their way through Australia, Norway, Scotland, New Zealand and England. Nor can many mothers say that they toured through out Canada playing fiddle with the soon to be members of “Barrage”. Well not many mothers are like Sora.
Sora (aka Andrea Hunt) is an independent musician with a different philosophy on how she wants to share her music with the world. Perhaps it was all of the touring she did as a teenager with the Calgary Youth Orchestra and the Calgary Fiddlers that made her appreciate the subtleties of having a solid home base. It may have been the influence of playing with elite musicians and performing to sell out crowds that seeded her desire to mould a new musical lifestyle.
Though singing has been a part of her life since early childhood, Sora only started focusing on her vocal abilities after the birth of her first daughter in 2000. Initially taking informal voice lessons, she quickly moved on to work with Katherine Ardo, an established vocal coach in Calgary. By 2002, after performing opera, classical and Broadway pieces in numerous recitals Sora was ready to stage her own show. It was this show that started her vocal move into Celtic Folk music.
Her natural flair for Celtic vocal styling leaps out in her 2003 debut CD “Winds Of Change”. On this self produced project all 13 tracks were recorded live off the floor. “What you hear is what we did” Sora says. “Everyone was in the same small room at the same time”. The arrangements for each song were chosen specifically because they were so different from anything she had ever heard – which gave her the chance to put her heart and sound into each track.
For Sora, part of developing her own sound centers around her decision to take a stage name. To explore who she is and wanted to be musically she felt that ‘naming’ herself would release her from the confines of her personality. “You take your husband’s name, your parents name you from birth” she says. “Choosing a name for myself is more spiritual and gives me more musical fluidity”. The name Sora stems from the Native American word meaning ‘singing bird soaring’.
In spite of the fact that she had been writing music since 2004, the fire to share her songs with others wasn’t lit until 2006. While reading the book “How to Make and Sell Your Own Recording" (Diane Sward Rapaport) Sora decided it was time to take her sound one step further, and to do so would involve working with a producer. References from her music industry friends led her to Toronto producer Doug Romanow (Fire Escape Recording – Erin Crosby, Jason Farnham, Sattalites). After listening to a couple of Sora’s songs he liked what he heard enough to fly to Calgary to meet with her. They are currently recording scratch tracks and developing arrangements for original songs that will be on Sora’s next album.
Being a mother of 4 young children while developing her music career is quite possible in Sora’s eyes. She feels that changes in recording technology and the music industry are allowing a “new model” of musician to emerge. Where the opportunity to write and record while raising her children is very viable. She has travelled enough as a performing musician to know that living a full life with her family is very important right now, and it will only enhance and inspire her recording projects.
With the borders in musical genres shifting every day, Sora’s dream to win a Juno in an ‘as yet unnamed category’ might not be that far off. Either way Sora is weaving motherhood and music into the mainstream.