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MY TOWN | Rosanna Riverso
Home for the Holiday

Rosanna Riverso's many talents not only won her the 2011 Hamilton Music Award for Female Vocalist of the Year, but she's performed for, and shared the stage with, some of the industry's biggest names. New Christmas album in hand, the singer sat down with Marc Skulnick to discuss Hamilton, the holidays and everything in between.

Whereabouts in Hamilton did you grow up?
I grew up in the east end of Hamilton. I went to St. Luke's Elementary School on Mount Albion Road and then to Bishop Ryan Secondary School on Quigley. The old Tim Hortons on Greenhill and King Street — which I believe is now a pet hospital — was the usual hangout for my friends and me during our high school years.

What did it mean to you to win a 2011 Hamilton Music Award (for Female Vocalist of the Year)?
I was greatly honoured and humbled to win this award, especially given the calibre and talent of my fellow nominees. I am a big fan of many of the women who were nominated along with me in this category…who doesn't love the soulful voice of blues legend Rita Chiarelli or the timeless beauty and sound of Melissa McClelland?! The fact that I was even in the same category as these women was thrilling for me. I want to move, touch and inspire people with my music and so I hope this award is a refl ection of that being a reality.

Any local artist/singer you'd like to work with one day?
I'd love to work with Jeremy Fisher one day. I think he is an amazing songwriter. I'm sure it would be a wonderful creative experience to collaborate with him on writing an original song. I think combining our contrasting musical styles could produce a completely unique sound.

Best meal you've eaten in the city?
My mother would kill me if I said the best meal I ate wasn't one of her home-cooked meals (like her amazing Italian braciole or lasagna…the real reason I think my husband married me!). However, if I had to think of a great meal eaten outside of my mom's kitchen, I would have to say that the Gnocchi con Funghi at La Piazza or the Bistecca di Vitello at La Cantina Ristorante would defi nitely be amongst my favourites. They hit the spot every time!

What's the city's best-kept secret?
Sadly, many non-Hamiltonians only think of our city as being industrial and often refer to it as "Steeltown," but what many of them don't realize is how much beautiful nature Hamilton has to offer. There are tons of trails, parks and waterfalls for nature-lovers to enjoy. In fact, I remember reading somewhere that we are the waterfall capital of the world with over 100 waterfalls in our great city.

What's one local event you look forward to every year?
The Hamilton Music Awards…mostly just to see what lead singer of the Forgotten Rebels, Mickey Desadist, will be wearing. I love him! What's your favourite memory of the Holidays in Hamilton? Going to Midnight Mass with my family and then driving home the "long way" in order to pass by and enjoy the beauty of certain houses that spent an unimaginable amount of time and effort to go all "Griswold" with their outdoor Christmas lights. It's really just these kinds of simple times with my family that are the most memorable and special to me.