By Laura Lennie, News Staff
Karli Bortolotto is getting ready to embark on a musical journey of a lifetime.
The 17-year-old Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School Grade 12 student and singer is gathering material and writing songs in anticipation of recording her debut album with multi-platinum award-winning producer David Bendeth at House of Loud studio in New Jersey. Bendeth has worked with the likes of Hedley, Crystal Bowersox, Papa Roach and Paramore – to name a few.
“I have a lot of songs that are in the mix right now,” said Bortolotto, adding she’s already begun working with Bendeth. “Hopefully, this year for sure, I’ll be going back down to New York to record. It’s definitely in the cards and I couldn’t be more excited.”
Bortolotto said when it comes to gathering material for her songs she draws on personal experience and life in general.
“My songs focus on a little bit of everything, things that others can relate to,” she said. “Sometimes I’ll hear someone say something and think, ‘That kind of sounds cool to put in a song,’ so I’ll write it down or I’ll think of a melody in my head and record it. My creative process is constant and ongoing.”
Bortolotto said it’s hard to define her sound because she’s still developing as an artist.
“I know for sure that I want to be in the pop genre,” she said. “Pop is so generalized, so there are so many things that you could be if you’re in the pop industry. I look to (pop rock singer/songwriter) Kelly Clarkson as an influence, something like her sound, but I want to make it unique and I want to make it me.”
Bortolotto comes from a musical family.
Both of her parents sing.
Bortolotto said she’s been singing since she could talk.
“I have tapes of me singing with my mom when I was two years old. Even in elementary school, I sang in talent shows, so music’s always been a part of me,” she said, adding she also plays the piano. “I don’t know, there’s something that I just love about music. It can connect with you emotionally, it can connect with you in so many ways and I love that.”
Bortolotto’s passion for music also extends to high school.
She’s been a member of the B.R. Xpression Vocal Ensemble since Grade 9.
Led by Bishop Ryan music teacher David Tabone, the ensemble is a 250-voice contemporary show choir that entertains different groups within the community and beyond, having travelled to Montreal, Boston, Chicago, Myrtle Beach, Nashville, New York City and Washington D.C.
The choir also has earned numerous gold medals in the show choir category.
Bortolotto, who’s a soloist in the B.R. Xpression Vocal Ensemble, said her time with the choir has been “amazing.”
“Mr. Tabone is very inspirational; he’s helped me so much with everything,” she said. “Being a part of the Xpression has really boosted my confidence and I needed that. I needed somebody to push me towards doing this and the Xpression has certainly done that.”
Bortolotto also credits the school’s vocal class.
“Bishop Ryan’s known for its music and I love that,” she said. “It’s really cool to go to school every day knowing that I have a class where I can sing and write songs. It’s also really fun because you get to hang out and learn from others who love doing the same thing.”
Bortolotto also spent time in a high school band – an experience that led to meeting and working with Stereos guitarist Miles Holmwood.
The band covered different songs that were posted on YouTube.
Bortolotto later met Bendeth, who is now her manager.
She said working with Bendeth has been “awesome.”
“He’s really inspirational because he’s worked with so many huge names and it’s overwhelming because with the amount of people that he knows, he kind of just shrinks the whole world,” she said. “He knows so many people that you hear about; I hear names and then he’s like, ‘I know him or her.’ It’s really cool.”
Bortolotto said she has covered a few songs, which are posted on YouTube.
There are plans to do more, she added.
Bortolotto said she has one hope for her first album.
“I want to be able to make a name for myself and make a difference for someone else,” she said. “I want to be able to let people know who I am and in the process help somebody else through my music. Ultimately, I just want to be able to make music for a living, share that with people and inspire them as much as I can.”
Bortolotto will showcase her musical talents during a launch event on Friday, Feb. 15 at 8:30 p.m. at the Powerhouse restaurant, 21 Jones St. The event will include door prizes, food, raffles and a silent auction. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online through Bortolotto’s Facebook page or on the night of the event at the door. For more information, contact Jordan Harding at firstname.lastname@example.org.