CALEDONIA, Ont. –Ally Howatt describes herself as a small-town girl who loves singing, dancing, and country music.
It’s a way of life for this Caledonia, Ont. singer/songwriter, who also has an affinity for truck shows, where she says fans from the industry have been particularly supportive of her performances.
“The trucking industry has been so receptive to my songs, my music,” says the 24-year-old musician. “It’s just fantastic.”
Howatt had a breakthrough appearance at Toronto’s country music festival -the Country 95.3 Canada Day Jam -last summer. She also appeared at the Fergus Truck Show shortly after that, and the young woman appreciated the enthusiastic response by the trucking industry’s country music devotees. She has also performed the national anthem at a recent Toronto Transportation Club event.
“The fans that come out to watch are fantastic,” she says. “They get right into it. They’re a lot of fun.”
While Howatt sang as a young child, it wasn’t until high school and eventually community theatre, that she discovered her own passion for singing and performing. She took lessons from a voice coach, who also encouraged the singer to take up the guitar. Her musical mentor, Ray Lyell, convinced Howatt to travel to Nashville to instill an even deeper relationship with country music.
The pair also collaborated on writing the music for her CD, Ride of Your Life, which Howatt promotes every opportunity she gets, including at truck shows.
“I usually get to set up a booth,” she says. “So I get to meet a lot of these people, and they’re just so friendly. They’re completely supportive of what I’m doing, so it’s really nice.”
Despite preliminary success, Howatt has a back-up plan. She earned an undergrad degree at Brock University, but decided to take a few years off from higher education to work on the CD that she released last summer. Now, Howatt is back at teacher’s college, student-teaching towards certification next September. However, she doesn’t consider her teaching career a day job, and music ambitions continue.
“That doesn’t stop,” she says of her music career. “That’s a full-time gig, and the teaching is a part-time gig.”