Rita Chiarelli is one of the most exciting singers in Canada. Her unique blend of rock and blues has been compared favorably to Bonnie Raitt, Melissa Etheridge, and Susan Tedeschi. In 2000, she was named the "top blues singer" at Canada's Maple Leaf Awards.
The world's discovery of Chiarelli comes after years of her paying dues. Singing with Hamilton, Ontario-based group Tempest at the age of 15, she toured throughout North America with a nine-piece R&B band, Battleaxe, after graduating from high school. Chiarelli continued to sharpen her chops as a member of Toronto-based rockabilly pioneer Ronnie Hawkins' group. After a year, however, she moved to Italy, where she worked as a studio vocalist for six years. Returning to Canada in the late '80s, Chiarelli had her first success when her tune "Have You Seen My Shoes?," which was featured in the film Roadkill. Releasing her debut album, Road Rocket, in 1992, she took things a step further with her second effort, Just Gettin' Started, three years later. Produced by Jane Siberry-producer John Switzer, the album showcased Chiarelli's hook-laden songwriting, with all but one song -- a cover of Elvis Presley's "Love Me" -- original. Long John Baldry covered Chiarelli's song, "Midnight in Berlin," on his 1996 album Right to Sing the Blues. Breakfast at Midnight, released in 2001, includes such guests as ex-Band keyboardist Richard Bell and guitarist Colin Linden.
Over the past decade Rita Chiarelli has won every major Canadian blues award, including multiple Maple Blues awards, CBCs Great Canadian Blues Award, Toronto Independent Music Awards, Hamilton Music Awards, Manitoba Blues Society and the Hamilton Blues Society's Lifetime Achievement Awards. Most recently Rita was awarded the prestigious Maple Blues 'Blues With A Feeling Award' for Lifetime Achievement.
Showing no signs of slowing down, Chiarelli continues to tour incessantly in North America and Europe and intends to spend more time performing in the U.S. over the next few years.
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