She was one of Oscar Peterson’s favourite singers, a five-time Juno Award nominee, and producer and songwriter for such artists as Celine Dion, Ray Charles and Pavarotti.
Carol Welsman’s most rewarding moments include those achievements and accolades. But she especially appreciates when fans tell her how her music helped them through their cancer treatments or other personal struggles.
“That’s very touching. You realize you’re born with a gift, and it really is a gift from God,” says the Toronto native. “It’s nice to be able to share it with people and find that they appreciate it on a much more profound level.”
Welsman credits her jazz career to the deep musical roots that run through her family. She is the granddaughter of Frank Welsman, who founded the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the daughter of a piano teacher and a saxophonist.
She remembers her three years at Havergal College, where she joined the choir and performed during morning prayers, as fostering part of her growth as a student and musician.
“There was a lot of great encouragement and camaraderie,” Welsman says. “It was really very special being in such an intimate environment.”
As for the rewarding moments with her fans, Welsman was moved when her old gym teacher, who taught at the school for 43 years, gave her a hug after not seeing her for so long. Her former gym teacher today attends her concerts.
“What I learned is that everybody in your life is important to you, and if you appreciate them and show them this appreciation, you’ll get much further in life,” Welsman says.
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