Interview w/ Heather Hutchinson

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Tim talks with Heather Hutchinson. She is a blind mental health & disability advocate who is also an author and singer! Tim & Heather talk about her blindness, annoying questions she gets asked, what we can do to be more aware peoples metal health and disabilities, her singing career, her book, and much more!

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Hutchison’s songs have always been rooted in the universal feelings of the human experience, from her latest single, Tough Luck, a fun and sassy dance pop empowerment anthem about finding your voice, to the quirky but serious synth-pop Lock the Door, about the time Hutchison spent in a secure psychiatric facility during COVID-19, to the understated strings and piano of If I Could, in which she speaks to her former self, as well as to the ones who have been lost to mental illness. Hutchison sings with the conviction of someone who has lived these experiences, and her crystal clear voice commands attention from the very first note. With captivating melodies and strikingly powerful, honest lyrics that stay with you long after the songs are over, Hutchison weaves achingly beautiful stories, offering her unique brand of realistic optimism to others who are struggling.

Blind since birth, music was an integral part of Hutchison's world from a young age. Growing up in Edmonton, Alberta, she spent much time in her early years making up melodies and figuring out songs by ear on the piano. She was exposed to a diverse array of artists from her parents' music collection such as Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, and Burton Cummings. She cites later musical influences including Sara Bareilles, Eva Cassidy, Donovan Woods, and City and Colour. Since her completion of a diploma in Jazz and Contemporary Voice in Vancouver, British Columbia, she has grown to incorporate some elements of jazz into her music. Latin influences are also evident in newer material, a product of time spent living in South America.

Her songs are not only a musical project for Hutchison, they are her life’s work. The themes of her music are the perfect soundtrack to her recently released Amazon best-selling memoir, Holding On by Letting Go. Hutchison is passionate about educating people on mental health and disability through her music and writing. She is a frequent guest on national television and radio programs and renowned podcasts across the globe, singing and speaking to bring her message of hope to those who are struggling. In her advocacy work, she has appeared alongside numerous high-profile psychologists, clinical counselors and other mental health professionals.

Since the release of her first EP of original material at only sixteen years of age, Hutchison has released four albums and numerous singles to critical acclaim and has performed in concert halls, theatres, clubs and outdoor stages from North to South America, with many performances broadcast on television and radio. Her singles have received frequent airplay across Canada and the US, and she has been a regional finalist in CBC’s Searchlight. Her single, Reason to Stay, won a 2016 Vancouver Island Music Award for pop recording of the year, and her album, Where the Ocean Meets the Sand, was nominated for album of the year at the VIMAs.

A versatile artist, Hutchison sings in both English and Spanish and can be seen performing her original material solo or with a band, as well as appearing with her jazz group, The Heather Hutchison Trio. With fans from around the world and the innate ability to connect with audiences young and old, the universality of Hutchison's message is clear

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DISCLAIMER: This podcast is for entertainment purposes only & informs all listeners of the podcast, that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the each episode belong solely to the host of 20TIMinutes, Tim McCarthy, and not necessarily to the podcast hosts employer, organization, committee or other group or individual. Tim is NOT a mental health professional. Tim only speaks about his own personal struggles and what works for him. If you're in need of help mentally or physically, please contact your primary care provider, a mental health professional or in case of an emergency, dial 911.

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